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Contents Preface 1 SECTION 1: Homosexuality and Religion: Synthetic Essays 7 Homosexuality, Religion, and the Law 8 Homosexuality, Religion, and the Social Sciences 42 Homosexuality, Religion, and the Biological Sciences 57 Homosexuality and Spirituality 71 SECTION 2: The Encyclopedia 98 Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons 99 African American Church Traditions 101 African Traditional Religion 105 AIDS and HIV 110 American Baptist Churches USA Anglican Church of Canada 123 Asian and Asian American Churches 125 Assemblies of God 131 Bah 'í Faith 134 Berdache 136 The Bible 137 Bisexuality 152 Bisexuality and Ritual 158 Buddhism 162 Catholic 172 Chican@ Church Traditions 172 Christian Science 173 The Church of England 190 Clergy and Ordination 196 CLOUT Coming Out 205 Commitment Ceremonies 213 Dignity USA 219 Disciples of Christ Eastern Orthodox Christianity 227 The Episcopal Church 230 Evangelical Christianity 242 The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 253 Ex-Gay Ministries 258 Exodus International 262 First Nation Peoples 265 GLBTQ 265 Genesis 269 Gomorrah 269 Hinduism 269 HIV 277 Integrity USA 277 Islam 277 Jainism 289 Jehovah's Witnesses 294 Jesus 296 Judaism 301 Leviticus 315 Latin@ Church Traditions 315 Latter Day Saints (LDS) 317 Lutheran 317 Marriage The Mennonite Church 324 Methodist 338 Metropolitan Community Churches 338 Mormonism 346 National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries 354 Native American Peoples 357 Natural Law 362 New Testament 375 Old Testament 375 Ordination 375 Orthodox Christianity 376 Paul, the Apostle 376 Presbyterian Church (USA) 378 Protestantism Quaker Tradition 393 Queer Biblical Interpretation 403 Queer Theology 411 Restoration Church of Jesus Christ 416 The Roman Catholic Tradition 418 The Church of Scientology 439 Seventh-day Adventists 442 Sikhism 448 Sodom 457 Southern Baptist Convention 457 Taoism 462 Two Spirit Peoples 464 Unitarian Universalism 464 The United Church of Canada 471 The United Church of Christ 474 The United Methodist Church 484 Welcoming and Affirming Faith Communities The World Council of Churches 503 SECTION 3: Bibliography 508 Further Readings: 509 Web Sites: 548 Contributors 553 Preface Jeffrey S. Siker If the three traditional taboos for polite conversation include sex, politics, and religion, then the topic of homosexuality and religion is guaranteed to provoke strong reactions, polarizing rhetoric, and a series of conflicting claims that draw variously upon peoples' experience, sacred texts, established traditions, and human reason. The public and private debates over homosexuality have grown so heated in recent years that some religious groups have declared a moratorium on even discussing the topic, in order to let things cool down a bit. Others have thrown up their hands in utter frustration at the seeming impossibility of moving the discussion anywhere beyond a rigid impasse. This has led some Christian denominations to have serious discussions about simply dividing over the question of whether or not to include individuals committed to same-sex relationships (e.g., the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church, and the Episcopal Church USA). While some have argued that the fight over inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual , and transgender people is just like prior fights over the status of African Americans and women in religion and society, others argue that the comparison is fundamentally different, and that the issue is different. Further, some religious traditions have long expressed a certain openness towards same-sex relations (e.g., Native American Spirituality, Hinduism), while other religious traditions have apparently always viewed same-sex relations as utterly sinful and against the will of God, especially in the Christian world (e.g., Southern Baptists, official statements of the Roman Catholic Church). On the political scene the situation is much the same, particularly in the United States. On the one hand the populace elects a very conservative President who makes no apologies about his intention to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in order to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriages. But on the other hand this same populace thrives on popular culture that often treats gay and lesbian people as the latest "cool" thing to come along. Such television shows as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The Ellen Degeneres Show, or Queer as Folk glamorize gay and lesbian individuals as acceptably different and more entertaining than traditional heterosexual relational models. Thus, western culture in particular is deeply divided over how to understand and to assess the status of people whose sexual orientation or gender identity is other than the heterosexual traditional norm. The role of religion in this divide is impossible to exaggerate. By and large most religious organizations oppose same-sex relations because they violate traditional understandings of scripture and centuries of teaching. Still, within virtually every religious tradition there is a vocal group (sometimes the majority) calling the rest of the tradition to wake up and see that these "otherly oriented/gendered" persons are also people of faith who have experienced significant suffering and persecution at the very hands of the people who claim to be reaching out in the name of a loving God. This internal divide within religious traditions is perhaps what has most shaken the social fabric of different faith communities at the beginning of the 21st century. For all of these reasons it is imperative that people become more educated about the issues surrounding the presence of homosexual persons, queers, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders (and more) within and without the many religious communities that comprise our world. Only by having greater understanding will people be able to engage one another in constructive dialogue and respectful interaction. Perhaps the time for polite conversation is over, but the time for engaged understanding could not be more urgent. My hope is that this volume will contribute to a deepening of that understanding. This volume is organized in three blocks of material. The first part contains several larger synthetic essays on homosexuality and religion. The topics addressed here include homosexuality, religion, ... and the law, the social sciences, the biological sciences, and spirituality. These general treatments should help to orient the reader to some of the larger issues that transcend particular religious traditions. The second part contains an A-Z series of entries in encyclopedia format. This section is far from exhaustive, but the goal has been to have articles on representative aspects of religion and homosexuality from a variety of traditions. The large majority of the articles address one or another aspect of responses to homosexuality within the Christian tradition. This is because the situation in the United States provides the most immediate context for this volume. Each entry in this section concludes with a few bibliographic references for further reading. The third part of the volume contains a complete listing of all Further Readings that appear in the book. Included here are various web sites that can be quite helpful to the reader - typically for quick reference. Let me conclude with a few words of thanks. My deep thanks and appreciation to Matthew Gaudet, my able editorial assistant without whose help this work would not have been completed. My thanks also to the very patient editor at Greenwood Press, Kevin Downing. I would also like to acknowledge the many individuals in the GLBTQ community who have been so gracious with their comments that have improved this volume significantly. It is more than humbling, I confess, to be a white, male, heterosexual, Protestant who has sought to enable constructive dialogue and conversation between other straight people like myself and the many different people within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community. How queer indeed. And what a privilege. Finally, my deepest gratitude to my wife and partner in all of life, Judy Yates Siker --
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Homosexuality -- Religious aspects -- Encyclopedias.