Communities of Faith 
& Homosexuality











Communities of Faith & Homosexuality
by Heather Elizabeth Peterson
Editor, Greenbelt Interfaith News

Faiths and denominations vary widely in their attitudes toward homosexuality; some religious communities hold largely to SideA or SideB, 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 the divide. 

Two types of articles are listed. Articles listed under Beliefs either 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 issue. 

It should be emphasized that the Bridges articles 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. Bridges articles 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. 

Multifaith and Multidenominational

Religious Groups' 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. 

Summary of Religious Views on Homosexuality
From Homosexuality: Common Questions and Statements Addressed. A convenient though simplistic summary of religious attitudes toward homosexuality. 

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. 

Homosexuality and 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

OCRT: Episcopal 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. 

Statement of Koinonia
"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 Statement
"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
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. 

Continuing the Dialogue: A Pastoral Teaching of the House of Bishops to the Church as the Church Considers Issues of Human Sexuality
"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. 

St. 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. 

Emerging Common Ground
"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 B). 

A Homily Preached on the Occasion of the Holy Eucharist Among Members of Integrity/Toronto and Fidelity
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." 

Human 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 Homosexuality
"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 homosexuality. 

Some Reflections on the Baha'i Teachings as They Relate to 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." 

Soc.Religion.Bahai: Discussions on Homosexuality
Discussions that took place on the e-mail list between 1992 and 1997. 


What Does Buddhism Say About Homosexuality?
From Common Questions About Buddhism

The 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 Buddhism. 

Dalai Lama Says "Oral and Anal Sex" Not Acceptable
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 homosexuality. 

Dalai Lama Urges "Full Human Rights for All," Including Gays
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. 

Minutes 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 


The 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. 


Humanist Support for Lesbian and Gay Rights
From the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.

IHEU 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 Union. 

A New 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 Homosexuality

The Qu'ran and Homosexuality
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. 

Islamic Penal 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 with profanity.) 

Muslim see Islamic


OCRT: Jewish Groups

Judaism and Homosexuality
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 Couples
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. 

Reform's Position on Homosexuality
From soc.culture.jewish FAQ. Excerpts from various official documents. 

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). 

Civil Marriage 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. 


Radical Faeries FAQs
"The Radical Faerie Fellowship is a diverse and unorganized group of Gay men who center their spiritual lives around various and sundry pagan doctrines." 

Contradictory 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. 

Homosexuality in Vodou
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. 

Sex, Wicca and the Great Rite
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. 

Going Through Fire: An Electronic Discussion on Gays and Lesbians in 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 Zoroastrians.

There are people from many backgrounds who for religious or other reasons believe that homosexual relationships have the same value as heterosexual relationships. 

And there are those of many faiths who  disagree, believing that only a male/female relationship in marriage is the Creator's  intent for our sexuality." 

The Divide


Bible and Homosexuality


Faith Communities

Faith List Dialogues


Faith Section Hompage

The Reading Page

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text © 1997, 1998, 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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