Many Christians struggle to reconcile the teachings they have received their entire lives that clash with their sexual orientation and preferences. Some try to deny their sexuality, while some engage in it covertly and live with crushing guilt and resentment. A brave few embrace it and express it openly, often facing retribution and rejection from the church, the congregation, the community, and even their families.
Whatever one’s views on religion or sexuality, it’s worth trying to understand the challenges faced by those trying to reconcile homosexual, bisexual, non-monogamous, or other non-traditional sexuality with mainstream norms.
In this episode, the hosts bring up the uncomfortable reality of being treated differently as a gay, transgender, or polyamorous member of a Christian congregation or a primarily Christian community. They discuss how sexual and gender diversity fits — or doesn’t fit — within a Christian worldview.
Many queer or polyamorous Christians feel shut out of the faith. Even though there are Biblical passages that clearly justify their right to exist and be who they are, trying to defend their sexuality becomes an exercise in frustration.
“There’s so much more to being queer than just always defending ourselves against what we’re not, and we get stuck in the oppressor’s game when we only focus on these things,” said Brian G. Murphy, an activist, educator, and certified relationship coach. Raised as an evangelical Christian in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., he has been engaged in faith-based activism and social justice work for the past decade. He is a co-founder of Legalize Trans and most recently partnered with Father Shannon T.L. Kearns to create QueerTheology.com. He has spoken about faith, sexuality, gender, and justice at dozens of colleges and conferences across America, and he recently taught a course on the intersection of Christianity and polyamory. Most notably, Brian recently released a video called “Jesus Was Polyamorous and Pansexual,” which received a lot of attention and caused a stir in the religious community.
Brian explains that there is a human desire for black-and-white clarity. Certain churches play to that and insist that only strict adherence to a specific code (their code) ensures happiness and acceptance. And on the other side of the debate, people look for just the right translation or just the right analysis to justify their sexual preferences.
Queer Theology (queertheology.com) provides a supportive community and in-depth resources for queer Christians and straight supporters. Its philosophy is that being queer is not sick or sinful and that it does not dishonor the faith.
This fascinating look into how our current perceptions of gay, bisexual, and polyamorous relationships helps open the discussion of how the Bible really talks about non-traditional relationship models.