Denison Journal of Religion


This essay explores the hostile relationship that exists between mainstream Christianity and the queer community. Klassman claims that the possible solutions to that problem currently available are not effective. The queer community has sometimes favored separatism to avoid conflict; it has created its own environment in which members can worship how they please. This does create a kind of unified community, but it also defines members exclusively by their sexuality and makes it the most significant part of their personhood. Additionally, it does not work to address prejudices existing within the mainstream religious communities. Another option currently available for queer men and women who have religious leanings is not to act on their sexual impulses. This, however, forces these people to distance themselves from a significant aspect of the human experience. There are also some religious figures who believe that the suffering inherent in this struggle for queer men and women is purifying. The suffering that can purify in traditional Christianity is a suffering that also implies a healing, and a making new. In the case of sexuality, however, people often experience a suffering that promises no renewal and results in isolation and self-hatred. Finally, many conservative Christian groups have established "ex-gay ministries" to try and help "cure" men and women of their "disease." These institutions often involve what could be considered cruel practices. The result is rarely that individuals no longer have same sexual inclinations, but rather that they no longer find those inclinations worth the suffering and isolation. Klassman concludes with the argument that the question is not whether or not the queer community has to reclaim religion, but whether or not religion and homosexuality can find a new way of relating to each other.


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