RELIGION

RESOURCE LIST

There has been little research in Britain in regard to lesbians/gays. The majority of the following articles are from the U.S.A. and are available through your local library (you will have to complete an order card and it will probably take about a month as they will have to send to the British Library for a copy; this should cost you about .50p).

SODOMY IN ECCLESIASTICAL LAW AND THEORY, MICHAEL GOODICH, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1976, VOL 1(4), P427-434.

In the 13th century, sodomy, which was classified among the various sins against nature, was regarded as a primarily clerical vice. In both systematic theology and canon law, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was considered the just punishment for a sin that violated the natural procreative function of sexuality, was contrary to right reason and the natural order, and denied God's injunction to increase and multiply.

LEGAL AND SOCIAL AMBIVALENCE REGARDING HOMOSEXUALITY, ROBERT G. MEYER, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, VOL 2(3), 1977, P281- 287.

Social controversy and legal ambivalence have been prevalent regarding homosexuality. Guardians of tradition, such as the churches, the mental health professional organsiations, and the legal experts, have all moved toward decriminalization in their own fashion. Yet this thrust has been halted by a recent Supreme Court decision. The homosexual may have to retreat to the closet unless renewal occurs. Some information is available on what societal and behavioral changes will occur as the laws change. However, a more scientifically adequate information base, as well as political courage, is required before those seeking decriminalization are likely to succeed.

LOVING WOMEN LOVING MEN: GAY LIBERATION AND THE CHURCH, ED. SALLY GEARHART & WILLIAM R. JOHNSON, REVIEW BY JULIA PENELOPE STANLEY, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1977, VOL 3(1), P91-93.

CHRISTIANITY, SOCIAL TOLERANCE, AND HOMOSEXUALITY, JOHN BOSWELL, REVIEW BY WILLIAM N. BONDS, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1981, VOL 7(1), P94-102.

RELIGIOUS AND MORAL ISSUES IN WORKING WITH HOMOSEXUAL CLIENTS, JAMES B. NELSON, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1982, VOL 7(2/3), P163-175.

While strict moral and religious neutrality in psychotherapy is problematic at best, the therapist working with homosexual clients particularly needs clarity about her or his own moral and religious assumptions, together with a knowledge of the Judeo-Christian tradition on the subject. This article examines the biblical evidence and current theological arguments about homosexuality. Christianity as an incarnationalist faith is a sex-affirming religion with positive resources for lesbians and gay men. An analysis of homophobia concludes, maintaining the position that the church as a whole will benefit greatly from the liberation of gay men and lesbians from oppression.

RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION AND PREJUDICE: A COMPARISON OF RACIAL AND SEXUAL ATTITUDES, GREGORY M. HEREK, PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN, VOL 13(1) 1987, P34-44.

Past research on the relationship between religious orientation and prejudice against out-groups has focused on racism. A greater tendency toward racist attitudes has been found among persons with an external religious orientation, whereas an intrinsic orientation has sometimes been associated with tolerance. This study examined the influence of religious orientation on attitudes toward an out-group not widely accepted by contemporary religions: lesbians and gay men. Using questionnaire data from white, heterosexual students on four university campuses, an extrinsic orientation was found to be positively correlated with racism, while an intrinsic orientation was not. Intrinsics, however, tended to be more prejudiced against gay people than were extrinsics. It is suggested that an intrinsic orientation does not foster unequivocal acceptance of others but instead encourages tolerance toward specific groups that are accepted by contemporary Judeo-Christian teachings. The hypothesis is discussed that attitudes toward outgroups serve different psychological functions for persons with extrinsic and intrinsic orientations.

SODOM REVISITED, JOHN SHELBY SPONG, NEW INTERNATIONALIST, NOV 1989, P8-9.

Christianity is traditionally the religion most hostile to homosexuality. Bishop John Shelby Spong looks at the foundation for this hostility - and makes a radical proposal.

INSTITUTIONAL RELIGION AND GAY/LESBIAN OPPRESSION, J. MICHAEL CLARK, JOANNE CARLSON BROWN, LORNA M. HOCHSTEIN,
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY REVIEW, 1989, VOL 14(3/4), P265-284.

While gay men and lesbians have been consistently involved in the institutional forms of Judaeo-Christianity throughout history, those institutions have themselves failed to accept or support openly gay individuals or couples, either professionally, liturgically/pastorally, or doctrinally. Judaeo-Christianity has instead encouraged homophobia in society, thereby fostering antigay oppression which dehumanizes gay individuals, undermines gay couplings, and exacerbates familial tensions between gay and nongay relatives. The United Methodist Church's struggle over the ordination of gays/lesbians and Catholicism's most recent antigay promulgation provide two case studies for examining the dilemmas which institutional religion poses for gay/lesbian people.

JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1989, VOL 18(3/4) INCLUDES:

PREFACE, RICHARD HASBANY, P1-6.

HOMOSEXUALITY: PROTESTANT, CATHOLIC, AND JEWISH ISSUES; A FISHBONE TALE, ROBERT NUGENT, JEANINE GRAMICK, P7-46.

Homosexuality is compared to a fishbone caught in the church's throat that the church can neither eject nor swallow entirely. Authors in all denominations are questioning traditional church stances influenced by the model of clinical pastoral education. Most major denominations have made policy statements on homosexuality. Four such stances discussed here highlight some of the common issues denominations face in their reexamination of the subject. Homosexuals struggling for full acceptance in the church must confront the classical understanding of the human being and human sexual differentiation as these concepts have traditionally influenced the churches.

JUDAISM AND HOMOSEXUALITY: THE TRADITIONALIST/PROGRESSIVE DEBATE, RABBI YOEL H. KAHN, P47-82.

This article critically reviews modern Jewish teaching on Judaism and homosexuality. The historical prohibition of homosexual acts is grounded in a world-view that views heterosexuality as natural and heterosexual marriage as the only route to religious and personal fulfillment. Progressive Jews have begun in recent years to question the underlying premises of traditional Jewish teaching on sexuality. Employing the categories of covenant theology and applying the interpretative methodology of liberal Judaism, the author argues for the valuation of the person as homosexual as a legitimate expression of human and Jewish covenantal obligation.

NO LONGER INVISIBLE: GAY AND LESBIAN JEWS BUILD A MOVEMENT, AARON COOPER,
P83-94.

The organized movement of lesbian and gay Jews took root in the mid-1970s when groups of Jewish homosexuals in the United States, England, and Israel began gathering for religious, educational, and social purposes. After centuries of denial, the Jewish community was faced with the reality of this increasingly visible and vocal minority. By 1989, nearly 30 groups of Jewish gay men and women throughout the world were part of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations, an international body devoted to community education about homophobia and support for both member and newly emerging gay Jewish groups.

A CRITIQUE OF CREATIONIST HOMOPHOBIA, GEORGE R. EDWARDS, P95-118.

In 1978, the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America prohibited the ordination of "practising homosexuals" to the church's ministry. In this prohibition, by providing a pivotal role for homophobic interpretation of Genesis 1-3, Presbyterians linked up with the exclusionist policies of both the Roman Catholic and fundamentalist communions. The following article submits this use of the biblical narratives of creation to critical examination and provides an alternative liberationist perspective.

DISCOURSES OF DESIRE: SEXUALITY AND CHRISTIAN WOMEN'S VISIONARY NARRATIVES, E. ANN MATTER, P119-131.

This article compares and contrasts two autobiographical accounts by seventeenth-century Italian religious women: Benedetta Carlini of Pescia, and Maria Domitilla Galluzzi of Pavia. Both were visionaries, highly regarded by their communities, but subject to suspicion and close scrutiny by ecclesiastical authorities. The trial records of Benedetta Carlini relate a series of sexual contacts with her young assistance, while no overt sexual expression is evident in the life of Maria Domitilla Galluzzi. This article questions the relationship between the categories of scholars and the sexual self-understanding of figures in their own historical context. It suggests that "lesbian nun" is too simplistic a dichotomy, and that in comparison to the life of Maria Domitilla, Benedetta Carlini's sexuality revolved around an elaborate organic connection between the spiritual and the sensual.

ALIENS IN THE PROMISED LAND?: KEYNOTE ADDRESS FOR THE 1986 NATIONAL GATHERING OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST'S COALITION FOR LESBIAN/GAY CONCERNS, GARY DAVID COMSTOCK, P133-144.

The following article is a condensed version of the keynote address given at the 1986 National Gathering of the Lesbian/Gay Coalition of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Problems encountered by lesbians and gay men in organized religion, especially within the liberal tradition, are identified by a method of inquiry developed by Christian educator John Westerhoff for assessing egalitarianism within institutions. The story of Queen Vashti from the Book of Esther in Hebrew scripture, and the emerging tradition of coming-out experiences by lesbians and gay men, provide the norm and model for declaring independence from denominations that neglect the concerns of lesbians and gay men and for constructing religious alternatives.

A BONDING OF CHOICE: VALUES AND IDENTITY AMONG LESBIAN AND GAY RELIGIOUS LEADERS, CLARE B. FISCHER,
P145-174.

In this preliminary study of values and attitudes of a select number of lesbian and gay religious leaders, respondents reflected on the meaning of family, church, and community. Although the survey is modest in scope, several themes emerge that locate this study in the context of gender analysis. Female respondents had greater similarity in their emphasis upon relationality than did lesbian and gay respondents within the same denominational tradition. For male respondents, the "coming out" narrative was a central event and deepened the meaning of telling another about self.

PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY AND PASTORAL THEOLOGY: AN INTEGRATED MODEL, MICHAEL J. GARANZINI, P175-194.

The article proposes that a pastoral concern for gay and lesbian individuals must be sensitive to the psychological and social dynamics involved in their attachments, separations, and losses. Drawing on object relations theory and insights from self-psychology, a model is proposed whereby counselor and counselee can examine the cycle of attachment, separation, loss and reattachment that characterizes all important relationships. The suggestion is made that this cycle is applicable to the development and reformulation of life-giving myths and ways of being in the world. Finally, an analysis of the role of early narcissistic wounds and the healing process in therapy is presented.

PASTORAL COUNSELING AND HOMOSEXUALITY, JOHN A. STRUZZO, P195-222.

The Judaeo-Christian religious tradition has generally been mistrustful of sexuality, wherein homosexuality is not even a legitimate discussion. The psychological tradition has been heterosexist and homophobic. It is argued that only a creation-centered spirituality and a transpersonal psychotherapy can be truly supportive of gay men and lesbian women. A transpersonal model is presented that is integrated with creation spirituality. This model is applied to specific situations of gay men and lesbians with clinical examples. In this inquiry, the special gifts of homosexuals are noted.

THE SHAMAN: THE GAY AND LESBIAN ANCESTOR OF HUMANKIND, KRIS JETER, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, 1989, VOL 14(3/4), P317-334.

MOVING THROUGH LOSS: THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF GAY MEN AND LESBIAN WOMEN, KATHLEEN Y. RITTER, CRAIG W. O'NEILL, JOURNAL OF COUNSELING & DEVELOPMENT, 1989, VOL 68, P9-15.

This article describes losses of gay men and lesbian women relative to their relationship with traditional religion and the mental health profession. By helping their clients reframe these losses into opportunities for transformation, counselors can facilitate spiritual integration both within and beyond the context of Judeo-Christian spiritualities.

THE BIBLICAL PROHIBITION OF HOMOSEXUAL INTERCOURSE, MARTIN SAMUEL COHEN, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1990, VOL 19(4), P3-20.

AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1991, VOL 21(3), P141-143.

TWICE BLESSED: ON BEING LESBIAN, GAY, AND JEWISH, ED CHRISTIE BALKA AND ANDY ROSE, REVIEW BONNIE ZIMMERMAN, JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, 1991, VOL 2(2), P326-329.

A SURVEY OF GAY/LESBIAN CATHOLICS CONCERNING ATTITUDES TOWARD SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, THOMAS O'BRIEN, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, VOL 21(4), 1991, P29-44.

The negative assessment of lesbian/gay relationships in Catholic circles is most often based on scanty information gathered from folklore, the commercial media, and a narrow, literal reading of Biblical texts. Assumptions are made about the personal adjustment of individual gay/lesbian persons and the quality of their relationships without recourse to actual lived experience. This survey of 263 gay/lesbian Catholics and 20 controls was designed to receive direct feedback from lesbian/gay persons concerning their religious attitudes, personal adjustment, and relational quality. The results contradict many preconceptions, and a remarkable similarity is demonstrated between the gay/lesbian responses and those of the control group.

HOMOSEXUALITY, CLASS AND THE CHURCH IN NINETEENTH CENTURY ENGLAND: TWO CASE STUDIES, WILLIAM T. GIBSON, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1991, VOL 21(4), P45-55.

This article seeks to reconstruct and contrast two episodes in the nineteenth century Church. Both involved churchmen, Bishop Percy Jocelyn and Dean Charles Vaughan, in homosexual incidents. The second episode, that of Dean Vaughan, has been reconstructed for the first time using the Broadlands Manuscripts of Lord Palmerston. The most interesting aspect of these events is the response of the "establishment" to homosexuality. There seems little doubt that attitudes of the "establishment" were determined largely by class. The "establishment" would not officially condone homosexual behaviour, but in both cases (to varying degrees) it seems to have acted toward these men with latitutde. One was able to evade justice, the other denied a mitre but otherwise allowed advancement in the Church. Both incidents provide evidence that persecution of homosexuals was something confined to the lower orders; and that the discreet middle class or aristocratic homosexual could rely on his class for protection. Perhaps integral to this tolerance was a Victorian taste for self-denial. The homosexual who treated his sexuality as a curse and a source of tragedy was more likely to attract the tolerance of his peers than the homosexual who acknowledged his sexuality to the full.

LEAVING THE LESBIAN LIFESTYLE, MICHELLE YOUNG, JOURNAL OF CHRISTIAN NURSING, FALL 1992, VOL 9(4), P10-13.

THE MORALITY OF HOMOSEXUALITY, S.L. BROOKE, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1993, VOL 25(4), P77-99.

Homosexuality has been considered a form of mental illness, morally wrong and socially deviant. The purpose of this paper is to present both sides of the homosexuality issue from a religious standpoint: opponents of homosexuality versus supporters of homosexuality. It is proposed that how one interprets the morality of homosexuality will depend upon one's level of moral development according to Kohlberg's theory. Ten churches in the Raleigh area of North Carolina completed a questionnaire designed to ascertain the church's position on the issue of homosexuality. Specifically, questions were asked to ascertain the church's level of moral development.

EXCLUSION, TOLERATION, ACCEPTANCE, INTEGRATION: THE EXPERIENCE OF DUTCH REFORMED CHURCHES WITH HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALS IN THE CHURCH, D. MADER, JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, 1993, VOL 25(4), P101-119.

The overwhelming majority of Protestant Christians in The Netherlands are members of denominations in the Reformed tradition (i.e. protestant churches characterized by Calvinist theology and a "presbyterian" church government by elected assemblies of elders). Comparable North American denominations are the Reformed Church in America and the United Presbyterian Church, both of which are facing some degree of internal controversy over homosexuality. In The Netherlands, the four major strands of the Reformed church have taken various positions on homosexuality, ranging from absolute rejection of homosexuality in the church and society, through one denomination which found itself in the curious position of approving the ordination of homosexual clergy while barring homosexuals from the Lord's Table, to creating "life covenants" which re-evaluate heterosexual marriage while also blessing relationships between homosexuals. All call upon the same set of principles for their varied stands. The two major denominational branches, the Netherlands Reformed Church (Hervormde Kerk) and the Reformed Churches in The Netherlands (Gereformeerde Kerken) have taken different approaches to resolving the issue, the former through internal political conflict and the latter through a more authoritarian (though progressive) stand. The article traces the political, theological, and juridical history of the evolution of these positions and suggests various potential models, and their possibilites and pitfalls, for North American Protestant churches dealing with issues surrounding homosexuality and the church.

A PLETHORA OF PRINCIPLES, RHONDA SIDDALL, COMMUNITY CARE, 1 DECEMBER 1994, P20-21.

Widespread anger greeted the Children's Society's ban on gay and lesbian foster carers. Rhonda Siddall considers the question of working with Christian voluntary groups.

ADDICTION AND RECOVER IN GAY AND LESBIAN PERSONS, ROBERT J. KUS, 1995, ALSO PUBLISHED AS JOURNAL OF GAY AND LESBIAN SOCIAL SERVICES, 1995, VOL 2(1), JAMES J. KELLY & RAYMOND M. BERGER, EDITORS. INCLUDES:

SPIRITUALITY AND THE GAY COMMUNITY, FATHER LEO BOOTH, P57-65.

Father Leo Booth examines the need to recognize the effects negative religious messages about homosexuality have on gay and lesbian clients. He describes the difference between religion and spirituality, and offers suggestions for guiding gay clients into self-acceptance, even in the face of a religious and social environment which does not always promote such acceptance.

BOOKS

HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE WESTERN CHRISTIAN TRADITION, DERRICK SHERWIN BAILEY, LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO., 1955.

WITCHCRAFT AND THE GAY COUNTERCULTURE, ARTHUR EVANS, FAG RAG BOOKS, 1978.

CHRISTIANITY, SOCIAL TOLERANCE AND HOMOSEXUALITY: GAY PEOPLE INWESTERN EUROPE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA TO THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY, JOHN BOSWELL,
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS, 1980.

A FAITH OF ONE'S OWN, EXPLORATIONS BY CATHOLIC LESBIANS, ED. BARBARA ZANOTTI, THE CROSSING PRESS, 1986.

A LETTER TO HARVEY MILK, SHORT STORIES BY LESLEA NEWMAN, FIREBRAND BOOKS, 1988.

PLEASURE, PAIN & PASSION, SOME PERSPECTIVES ON SEXUALITY AND SPIRITUALITY, JIM COTTER, CAIRNS PUBLICATIONS, 1988.

NICE JEWISH GIRLS, A LESBIAN ANTHOLOGY, ED. EVELYN TORTON BECK, BEACON RESS, 1989.

CHRISTIANITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY, A RESOURCE FOR STUDENTS, SUE VICKERMAN, LESBIAN AND GAY CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT, 1992.

HOMOSEXUALITY AND WORLD RELIGIONS, ED. ARLENE SWIDLER, TRINITY PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 1993.

WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY, RECENT FINDINGS BY TOP SCHOLARS OFFER A RADICAL NEW VIEW, DANIEL A. HELMINIAK, ALAMO SQUARE PRESS, 1994.

CHAPTERS IN BOOKS

COMING OUT TO PARENTS, A TWO-WAY SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR LESBIANS AND GAY MEN AND THEIR PARENTS, MARY V. BORHEK, THE PILGRIM PRESS, 1983, INCLUDES:

RELIGIOUS ISSUES AND A SAME-SEX ORIENTATION, P138-184.

IN THE LIFE: A BLACK GAY ANTHOLOGY, ALYSON, 1986, INCLUDES:

WHY A GAY BLACK CHURCH? J. TINNEY, P70-86.

THE JOURNEY OUT, A GUIDE FOR AND ABOUT LESBIAN, GAY, AND BISEXUAL TEENS, RACHEL POLLACK & CHERYL SCHWARTZ, PUFFIN BOOKS, 1994, INCLUDES:

KEEPING THE FAITH: RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY, P81-90.

FAMILY OUTING, A GUIDE FOR PARENTS OF GAYS, LESBIANS AND BISEXUALS, ED. JOY DICKENS, PETER OWEN, 1995, INCLUDES:

THE CHURCH - RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES, P89-=98.


USEFUL ADDRESSES

AGLO: Action for gay and lesbian ordination, Church of England Campaign, PO Box 5716, London, W10 6WN. 0171.813.5247.

Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London, E2 6HG. 0171.739.1249.

Metropolitan Community Churches, BM/MCC, London, WC1N 3XX. 0171.485.6756.

Quaker Lesbain and Gay Fellowship Ruth/GT 3 Hallsfield, Cricklade, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 6LR.

QUEST Lesbian & Gay Catholics Group: BM Box 2585, London, WC1N 3XX. 0141.333.9340, Sun 7-10 p.m.

SHAKTI: South Asian Lesbian & Gay Network, c/o 86 Caledonian Road, London, N1.

© Lesbian Information Service, 1996