First Steps for the Queer Christian

For a Christian who is just beginning to come to terms with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity, or for someone who is comfortably out as queer but who is only just starting to take religious faith seriously, reconciling these two identities may often seem difficult or even impossible. “Gay Christian” is an oxymoron, we are often told, both by some religious conservatives, who are appalled by our supposedly sinful lives, and by other gay men and lesbians, who object to our participation in what is assumed must be deeply homophobic ideas – the Christian faith. However, the alleged contradiction is apparent, not real. There is no conflict at all between homosexual identity and religious faith, but only with some human churches and individuals who misrepresent the Bible and Christian belief. Negotiating the apparent conflict is possible, but like coming out at all is a long term process and not an event, so too is coming out in church. As we do so, we all need to develop the knowledge and spiritual armour to shield us from the opposition we may meet along the way.

The key components of that are:

  • confidence that our sexuality is entirely natural and healthy;
  • knowledge that the Scriptural evidence against homoerotic relationships is somewhere between tenuous and non-existent,
  • and appreciation that the more important message of the Bible is of inclusion and justice, not exclusion;
  • most important weapon of all, must be the active development of a strong life in faith itself, by active participation in a faith community, or the development of personal spirituality and regular prayer.
  • participate actively in a faith community
  • and keep reading – here, elsewhere on-line, and in print.

This site aims to offer suggestions and resources on all of these. (In addition, there are specific considerations that apply to queer Catholics. These I have addressed separately, here).

The bedrock of the argument against any form of unconventional sexuality is that only heterosexuality is “natural”. The pages on Sexuality and Gender present extensive evidence to disprove that assumption. Same sex attraction and sexual expression are entirely natural, and has been described for all periods of history, for societies in all parts of the world, and even in a wide range of animal species. For some individuals, some cultures, and some animal species, same – sex activity may even be more common (and so more “natural”) than opposite sex activity.

It is completely untrue that the Bible “clearly” condemns homoerotic relationships or activities in general. The most that can be said is that there are a handful of verses that are often interpreted as being hostile – but these interpretations have been seriously challenged by modern scholars, many of whom now believe that they have been distorted by mistranslations or misinterpretation, or are simply not applicable to modern same sex relationships. These few supposedly hostile verses are in any case more than compensated for by the extensive passages that emphasize love and inclusion in general, and some which are specifically supportive of same sex affection (“The Gospels’  Queer Values“, and “The Queer Bible: Beyond Family Values “) – and by the numerous verses that prohibit other activities, and are widely ignored by most Christians. For more on some constructive approached to the Bible, browse the  Queer Scripture pages.

But the most powerful armour against homophobia or prejudice in the name of religion comes from the heart of the faith itself: develop in spirituality, and through prayer form a direct relationship with God. Whatever some peoples in the churches might do, God will never reject yo. As you grow in personal faith and spirituality, you may come to the conclusion that many thoughtful writers on the subject have done: that same sex orientation can be a spiritual gift not a curse, and that integrating sexuality and spirituality can benefit both. My pages on Queer Spirituality list collect links to numerous posts on this theme.

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7 comments for “First Steps for the Queer Christian

  1. Jamea
    September 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    The act of sodomy, whether carried by homosexuals or by spouses, is intrinsically evil and a perversion!
    Do not pretend to be Catholic in anything other than name if you disagree with this statement!
    The Cathechism and Magesterium of the Church is unequivocal about this…
    Mess around with the Bible all you like but the fact remains Sodomy is a sin crying out to Heaven for vengeance and the Priests who are conducting “Soho Masses” are actively disobeying the Church and bringing judgement upon themselves…
    It is total stupid nonsense to have a mass for a “Gay community”.
    There are masses in parishes and that is how the church works. Imagine having a mass for people with blue eyes. That is how stupid an idea a “gay mass” is. Rome has been nothing but unequivocal about this…The Church teaching on homosexuality lies in the Deposit of Faith infalliably proclaimed by numerous Popes and Councils….
    Your website is full of lies and perversions and is only taking people away from the true Faith!
    I pray you will go back to your cathechism and away from all your twisted teaching on this website.

    • Angela
      February 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Well, said!

  2. Paul
    April 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I regard myself as Catholic. As a young man I engaged in regular acts of sodomy with my first two girlfriends, both by mutual inclination and to avoid unwanted pregnancies, remaining a virgin where ‘normal’ intercourse was concerned. Realising that I am homosexual, for the last 5 years I have practiced gay oral sex. I have not hurt anyone emotionally, morally or physically, and feel I have done no wrong. I do, however, remain ‘in the closet’ because of such attitudes on the part of people like the two previous responders!

    • Paul
      May 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Just for the record… after my previous post I contacted my first girlfriend again for the first time in several years. She too is a practicing Christian, an Anglican, and knows that I have now acknowledged – in extremely limited circles – my homosexuality. She reconfirmed the mutual loving involved in our sodomy, and laughed at the whole idea of it being in any way sinful. In fact she confided that sodomy has always played a large part in her sexual life with succeeding partners, including her present one of nearly 20 years.

      • Paul
        August 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        Events have led me to comment further. I have been in contact with my second girlfriend too.. thanks to God and the Internet! To be brief, she too remembered our acts of sodomy with pleasure, and continues to indulge regularly. She was also highly supportive when I confessed my homosexuality to her, wishing me joy. Partly as a result, I have now begun to indulge in it with male partners, without a single pang of guilt! I give and receive very happily without any diminishing of my feelings towards the Church and the Faith. Jamea and Angela need to relax and enjoy life more. God Loves You! I really want to know what others think.

  3. May 19, 2014 at 3:49 am

    As a Protestant I welcome such an inclusive site from the Catholic perspective, great stuff.

    • May 19, 2014 at 11:21 am

      As a Catholic, I tend to get bogged down in specifically Catholic issues, but I do aim (not always successfully) to pay attention also to developments and perspectives from other denominations.

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