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Living The Good Lie

jmorgant's picture

In our discussion of Mimi Swartz’s “Living the Good Lie,” we talked about what resulted in, for these men, the inability for the coexistence of homosexuality and devotion to religion. Judith Glassgold, the chair of a taskforce on LGBT issues from the American Psychological Association, stated in an interview for the article, “Among therapists — both among gay activists and the religious — we can have a discussion. We all agree that arousal and orientation are not under someone’s volition. What we can work on is self-acceptance, integration identity and reducing stigma.” I continued to think about whether homosexuality and religion are necessarily mutually exclusive, or rather if there are ways in which the two can coexist within an individuals’ identity. I kept thinking back to interviews that I’ve conducted with scholars in Argentina regarding their passage of same-sex marriage legislation. One of them, Daniel Jones, explained to me that evangelicals weren’t ubiquitously opposed to the bill. I found a paper he recently wrote where he lays out some of the tactics used by various evangelical groups to approach homosexuality. One strategy in particular stood out to me; the Evangelical Church of the Río de la Plata published a document in 2000 stating that the sexual orientation of a person is fixed and predetermined; homosexuality is a concept from the nineteenth century that, as a word, never appears in the original words of the Bible. According to Jones, these observations question biblical interpretations that, under a pretense of increased fidelity to the text, justify the condemnation of homosexuality, indicating the anachronism that incurs when applying contemporary categories to past phenomena. I wonder how widespread these new evangelical interpretations are among the various sects; whether they are restricted to Argentina, and what the implications are for the supposed incompatibility of homosexuality and Catholicism. You can find Jones’ article (in Spanish – I couldn’t find an English translation) here.