of Faith & Homosexuality
by Heather Elizabeth Peterson
Editor, Greenbelt Interfaith
Faiths and denominations vary widely in their attitudes toward homosexuality;
some religious communities hold largely to SideA
while others are severely divided in their beliefs. The articles below
show the many religious perspectives on this issue, and demonstrate ways
in which people of various faiths and denominations are attempting to bridge
Two types of articles are listed. Articles listed under Beliefs
give a general overview of the perspectives within a particular community
of faith, or else they argue in favor of SideA or SideB. Articles listed
under Bridges may be written
from SideA, SideB, both sides, or neither side; their common factor is
that they call for or contain discussions between both sides in this important
It should be emphasized that the Bridges
are not listed separately as a way to indicate that they are superior to
the Beliefs articles. Both types of
articles can advance our knowledge in this area, and both can retard it.
do offer a unique way of examining the question of the morality of homosexuality,
though, and they may offer unique insight into ways in which people on
both sides of this issue can learn from each other.
Policies Toward Homosexuals and Homosexuality
From the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance. This Side
A site provides the most extensive information on the Web about the attitudes
of faiths and denominations toward homosexuality. Links in the "Communities
of Faith" list that are labelled OCRT come from that collection of pages.
Each of the pages listed provides excerpts from relevant writings, as well
as links to online documents from the religious group in question.
of Religious Views on Homosexuality
From Homosexuality: Common Questions and Statements Addressed.
A convenient though simplistic summary of religious attitudes toward homosexuality.
and the Church: Gay Acceptance, Ordination, Split Nation's Faithful.
By Tom Turner, from The Arizona Daily Star. An overview, with
a Side A slant, of policies on homosexuality by faiths and denominations.
Religion -- 1997 in Review
By Heather Elizabeth Peterson, from Greenbelt Interfaith News.
OCRT: The Anglican
Church of Canada and Homosexuality
OCRT: The Church
of England and Homosexuality
Church and Homosexuality
The Quiet Revolution:
How a Heresy Trial Has Rocked the Episcopal Church
By Heather Elizabeth Peterson, from Greenbelt Interfaith News.
Describes the recent Anglican debate over homosexuality.
"We believe that homosexuality and heterosexuality are morally neutral,
that both can be lived out with beauty, honor, holiness, and integrity
and that both are capable of being lived out destructively." A statement
signed by a number of Episcopal bishops following the creation of Continuing
the Dialogue in 1994 (see below).
The Kuala Lumpur
"We find no conflict between clear biblical teaching and sensitive
pastoral care. . . . We encourage the Church to care for all those who
are trapped in their sexual brokenness and to become the channel of Christ's
compassion and love towards them." A statement issued by a number of Anglican
bishops from the southern hemisphere in 1997.
Canterbury on Homosexuality
the Dialogue: A Pastoral Teaching of the House of Bishops to the Church
as the Church Considers Issues of Human Sexuality
By the Most Rev. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury. "Let us show
that we can disagree on particular issues and yet work together in the
Body of Christ for the sake of all we hold in common, reminding ourselves
that Christ's mission to preach the Good News comes before all else." In
a speech to the Church of England's General Synod in July 1997, the spiritual
head of the Anglican Communion summarizes present Anglican opinion on homosexuality.
"We are a diverse Church with a variety of perspectives and opinions.
Such diversity can be advantageous as we wrestle with complex issues."
This 1994 pastoral letter from the bishops of the Episcopal Church examines
several sides of the issue without reaching any conclusion except that
further dialogue is needed.
Andrew's Day Statement
"Faced with practical questions which arouse strong and conflicting
passions, the church has only one recourse: to find in the Gospel a starting-point
of common faith from which those who differ can agree to proceed in their
discussions." A 1995 statement prepared at the request of the Church of
England Evangelical Council.
"We are on a journey together, and these beginning articulations of
emerging common ground are the start of that journey together." A joint
statement issued in 1997 by Integrity/Toronto (Side A) and Fidelity (Side
A Homily Preached
on the Occasion of the Holy Eucharist Among Members of Integrity/Toronto
By the Rev. Canon A. Paul Feheley of Fidelity. "You and I owe God and
each other a commitment to be open to hearing and seeing new truth, to
risk our deepest presuppositions to know, believe, and understand that
our thinking can and should be altered to the mind of Christ."
Sexuality: A Statement by the Anglican Bishops of Canada
"We wish to continue open and respectful dialogue with those who sincerely
believe that sexuality expressed within a committed homosexual relationship
is God's call to them, and we affirm our common desire to seek together
the fullness of life revealed in Christ." This 1997 statement received
praise from Anglicans on both Side A and Side B.
OCRT: The Baha'i
Faith and Homosexuality
The Baha'i Teachings on
"To regard homosexuals with disdain and prejudice would be entirely
against the spirit of Baha'i teachings. The doors are open for all humanity
to enter the Cause of God, irrespective of their present circumstances;
this invitation applies to homosexuals as well as to any others who are
engaged in practices contrary to the Baha'i Teachings." A 1995 statement
from the Universal House of Justice, the Baha'i governmental body.
From the Baha'i Network on Aids, Sexuality, Addictions, and Abuse.
Further links to documents by the Universal House of Justice concerning
Some Reflections on the
Baha'i Teachings as They Relate to Homosexuality
Soc.Religion.Bahai: Discussions on Homosexuality
By Sam G. McClellan, from the Baha'i Network on Aids, Sexuality,
Addictions, and Abuse. "Even within the Baha'i community there may
be a polarization of two equally unsound perspectives. One consists of
the prejudicial ideas and feelings about homosexuals inherited from the
mainstream culture; the other derives from acceptance of the liberal notion
that a gay lifestyle is a healthy and legitimate alternative to the traditional
concepts of marriage and family."
Discussions that took place on the e-mail list between 1992 and 1997.
Does Buddhism Say About Homosexuality?
From Common Questions About Buddhism.
Voice of the Dalai Lama
By Scott Hunt, from OUT. "'If you both agree' he laughed heartily
'then I think I would say, if two males or two females voluntarily agree
to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others,
then it is OK.'" A 1993 interview with the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan
Lama Says "Oral and Anal Sex" Not Acceptable
Urges "Full Human Rights for All," Including Gays
By Jack Nichols, from Gay Today at Badpuppy. "In Beyond Dogma
the Dalai Lama writes that 'homosexuality, whether it is between men or
between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of
organs already defined as inappropriate for sexual contact.'" A May 1997
article describing reactions to the Dalai Lama's later pronouncement on
By Dennis Conkin, from the Bay Area Reporter. "His Holiness
opposes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation. He urges
respect, tolerance, compassion, and the full recognition of human rights
for all." An account of a June 1997 meeting between the Dalai Lama and
representatives of gay organizations.
of Meeting Between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Gay and Lesbian Leaders
From Maitre Dorje Gay and Lesbian Buddhist Society. "His Holiness
opened his remarks by thanking the group for the trust it expressed in
sharing its concerns with him."
Episcopal see Anglican
Kama Sutra: Of the Auparishtaka or Mouth Congress
By Vatsyayana and translated by Richard Burton, from Bibliomania.
As the title implies, this is a frank account of homosexual practices,
from the ancient Indian sex manual.
Support for Lesbian and Gay Rights
From the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.
Statement on Homosexuality and Bisexuality
"They are a cross-section of humanity, differing in no perceptible
ways from their fellow human beings, other than in their sexual orientation."
A 1994 statement by the board of the International Humanist and Ethical
Bill of Sexual Rights and Responsibilities
"Repressive taboos should be replaced by a more balanced and objective
view of sexuality based upon a sensitive awareness of human behavior and
needs. . . . This will very likely also be true of homosexual and bisexual
relationships." A 1976 statement from the American Humanist Association.
OCRT: Islam and
Edited by Paul Halsall, from People with a History. "But whoso
rebels against God and His Apostle, and transgresses His bounds, He will
make him enter into fire, and dwell therein for aye; and for him is shameful
woe." Passages on homosexuality from the Islamic holy book.
Law in Iran Against Homosexuals
From Homan Home Page. "Approved by The Islamic Consultancy Parliament
08.05.1370 (30.07.1991) and finally ratified by The High Expediency Council
on 07.09.1370 (28.11.1991)."
"As far as I can tell from my own experiences the great number of hate-e-mails
shouldn't be a surprise. It would have been unusual if there hadn't been
hate-e-mails. Your site obviously brakes the 'holy' silence about homosexual
behaviour of Muslim men." Letters sent to Queer Masjid, expressing
a variety of viewpoints. (Warning: These pages include hate mail filled
Muslim see Islamic
By Paul Halsall, from People with a History.
Twice Blessed: The
Jewish GLBT Archives Online
An index to information on Judaism and homosexuality.
Quotes on Same-sex
From Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples. "Jewish
tradition accords committed relationships which are invested by Jewish
ritual with the value of kedushah, holiness. We affirm the qualities of
mutual respect, trust, care, and love in committed relationships regardless
of sexual orientation." Two excerpts from a 1993 commission report to the
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
Position on Homosexuality
From soc.culture.jewish FAQ. Excerpts from various official
Promoting Equal Opportunity
and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and Gays in the Reform Movement
"Among our most sacred Jewish values is the fundamental principle that
we are created in the image of the divine. All Jews, whatever their sexual
orientation, are welcome in the Reform Movement." A 1995 resolution passed
by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC).
for Gay and Lesbian Jewish Couples
"No less than heterosexual couples, gay men or lesbians living in monogamous
domestic relationships have demonstrated, like their counterparts, love
for one another, compassion for the sick, and grief for the dead." A 1996
resolution passed by the UAHC.
"The Radical Faerie Fellowship is a diverse and unorganized group of
Gay men who center their spiritual lives around various and sundry pagan
Views on Radical Faerie Thought
By Mitch Walker, from White Crane. "Since Gay Spirit arises
and lives in the psyche, one must face one's psyche in an actual and full
way to truly reach a fuller partnership with Gay Spirit. In practice this
means a thorough encounter with one's Gay Shadow, with what is most disturbing
and most resisted against inside one's own feelings. It is, I believe,
the failure of such encounters and the subsequent projection onto other
people that is responsible for the acrimony we've seen at times even in
the most idealistic of gay groups and individuals." A history of the Radical
Faerie movement, and a description of the divisions within it.
By Mambo Racine Sans Bout, from The Vodou Page. "Because open
homosexuals are rigorously excluded from Protestant congregations, and
frowned upon in Catholic services, the only avenue for spiritual expression
for homosexuals in Haiti is Vodou." An article by a priestess of the Vodou.
Wicca and the Great Rite
Fire: An Electronic Discussion on Gays and Lesbians in Wicca
By Adrienne, from The Blade & Chalice. "For the celebration
of the Sacred Marriage, it is inappropriate for the deities to be of the
same gender, in whatever facet, but the gender of the persons doing it
isn't at issue. A man can manifest the Goddess and a woman can manifest
the God." A general description of the sexual rite within Wicca.
Edited by Lynna Landstreet, from The Blade & Chalice. "How
do gays fulfill the male/female polarity usually required in ritual? I
know there are cases where it wouldn't be a priority, as in Dianic or feminist
rituals. But most of the covens I know of are based on balance. This includes
the balance of male and female energies." A discussion of some of the problems
involved in being a gay Pagan, and how these problems might be overcome.
Wiccan see Pagan
OCRT: The Zoroastrian
Faith and Homosexuality
Vendidad: Purity Laws
Translated by James Darmesteter, from Avesta. "Ahura Mazda answered:
'For that deed there is nothing that can pay, nothing that can atone, nothing
that can cleanse from it; it is a trespass for which there is no atonement,
for ever and ever.'" A passage on homosexuality from a holy book of the