In the summers, I work at this awesome Christian sports camp that I have much love for. However, something that really bothered me the first summer I worked there was a particular speaker we had come speak to our staff. On Facebook the other day, a staff member that I worked with posted this link to an article about this speaker, a formerly lesbian woman who claims that God “simply changed her desires” for homosexual relations with women. I think that there are many important intersections between religion and sexual identity expressions, but this woman’s interpretation of the moral discourse regarding homosexuality was not only something that I think is misunderstood among the Christian community, and can be better understood as applied to McQueeney’s piece “Multiple Identities: Race, Class, and Gender in Lesbian and Gay Affirming Protestant Congregations.”
McQueeney suggests that Christianity intends to include all people as reflections of God’s image, whether homosexual or heterosexual. What is contradictory, then, is that all people are supposedly accepted and worthy of being compared to the image of God, but engagement in homosexual behaviors are discouraged and reprimanded in the Christian faith. McQueeney notes that homosexual people who are desiring to be upstanding members of the Christian community will often use their resources to portray themselves as good and moral people to remain in God’s good graces, but often have differential access to resources based on systems of classism, racism, and sexism that play out in their lives.
I think in Jackie Hill’s piece that is linked above, there is much focus on behaviors in the past that “made her lesbian” or “contributed to her lesbian exploration.” I also think that, as with other areas that we have explored throughout the semester, people who desire to be morally “right” and “good” are concerned with suppressing their sexual desires to avoid stigmatization from not only groups of people, but God himself. In this vein, I think that it is important to look at the ways that scholars have suggested that the church’s views regarding homosexuality are slowly changing, and how we see biological discourses winning out over moral discourses time and time again. What other groups do we see being pressured to do what is morally right? In what ways do attitudes of institutions, much like the church, discourage people from embracing non-normative sexual identities, and what implications does this have on categorizing groups of people based on behaviors?