Church driving gay into Neopaganism?

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by iBrian, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    Here's something for discussion -

    Is the general Christian rejection of homosexuality driving gay people into Neopaganism?

    Although I know gay Christians and know of gay Christian movements, I've also noted a very obtuse streak of homosexuality in the Neopagans I converse with online.

    I'm curious as to whether Christianity itself has forced many spiritual seekers away, and that Neopagan movements such as Wicca have been the main benificiaries?

    Or is the general reversal of gender expression in a lot of Neopaganism a carrot in this equation?

    Is this all even a grounded observation?
     
  2. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    1
    As a member of the Atlanta Freethought Society, I noticed there was an unusually high percentage of gays within the organization. It seems many have embraced atheism when their own churches made them feel guilty and suicidal for being gay.
     
  3. Blue Heron

    Blue Heron Gaurds the Gate

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    As an eclectic pagan/wiccan, homosexuality can be observed in many facets of nature. Keeping this in mind with the earth based view...homosexuality would not be discriminated against. It is the book religions that have made it abnormal by their selective view of nature.
     
  4. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't think it's surprising that homophobic religious groups would drive gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered away. And it's no surprise that religious groups that are actually supportive would attract them.

    Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered have the same needs for religion as anyone else after all.
     
  5. Greybeard

    Greybeard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    It has been my experience that when a person intentionally turns away from God spiritually, they express their rebellion in their manner of life.

    Given the Biblical view of homosexuality as sin, it should not be a surprise that one facet of their rebellion is homosexuality.


    -just IMHO,

    Grebeard
     
  6. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    Pretty much anything can be justified by pulling quotes from the Bible. In the past slavery was considered "the way things are," and Biblically justified. Women have been treated as second-class citizens in the past, and the Bible was used to justify it. It's not surprising to me that some people today justify their anti-gay attitudes by using the Bible.

    The fact that there are Christian groups which are welcoming and accepting of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered makes it pretty clear to me that the Bible is far from clear on the issue of homosexuality.

    Sites like http://www.ufmcc.com/ (a Metropolitan Community Church site) and http://www.gaychristian.net/ (a more general site that includes links and info on various gay-positive Christian groups) also provide some interesting discussion of the Bible and how one can reconcile being openly gay and also Christian.

    Being Christian doesn't have to mean rejecting homosexuality. Certainly there are some Christian groups who feel you must reject homosexuality to be Christian, but there are Christian groups that are not like this.

    Despite the fact that most Pagan groups are welcoming and accepting of homosexuality and bisexuality, there are some individuals and groups within the community who are anti-gay. Overall though, I think the Pagan community does tend to be pretty accepting of homosexuality.
     
  7. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0
    I must agree with bgruagach. Taken literally, the Bible condemns homosexuality. It also condemns violating the Sabbath by not extending its blessings to the land and to animals, allowing menstruating women into sacred areas, not marrying your brother’s widow, leaving the women, children, and cattle of a defeated tribe alive, not committing genocide on what amounts to a global scale, and—if you’re a woman—trying to help your husband by grabbing the testicles of someone with whom he is fighting. (She’s to have her hand cut off.)

    Many good and sincere Christians believe this to be God’s holy law for today. Many other good and sincere Christians believe that these laws reflect the taboos and prejudices of some rather primitive and bloodthirsty desert tribesmen who were still having trouble making the priest-sanctioned transition from polytheism to monotheism, and who therefore as Christians attach a less literal interpretation to the bloodthirsty stuff by emphasizing God’s love, forgiveness, compassion, and acceptance. To folks who like to emphasize God’s judgment and righteous wrath against sinners, I commend Matthew 25:31 – 45, which seems to make the statement that it is kindness and compassion, not righteousness, that counts most with God.

    Certainly, homosexuals have been and are being driven from the more fundamentalist churches—or, at least, are forced to remain under cover. I find it tragic that such a large segment of the population is by purportedly divine fiat expected to renounce their sexuality—something that self-evidently is NOT a product of conscious choice, and which, therefore, is unjustly interpretted as “sin.”

    Speaking as a straight wiccan, I find the (usually)open tolerance of the pagan community refreshing and much-needed in a world sickeningly overburdoned with intolerance, hatred, and discrimination in God’s name. We have two gays in our coven, and I would rate their spiritual insight, their dedication to self-improvement, and their loving tolerance and acceptance of others—even those who don’t believe the way they do—as at least the equal of those qualities in any Christian I’ve known.

    Whew! Excuse me! Thus endeth the rant. . . .
     
  8. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think we're falling into a repeat trap here - in many threads, trying to discuss the totality of a faith. No matter which faith we discuss, there are large variations. Catholicism is quite different from Baptist (even if you split Southern Baptist into a different group). Similarly, there are variations in Judaism, Islam, and pagan groups. (And atheists for that matter - I know of one atheist who's quite firmly against homosexuality because "it's just not right".

    Of course, I don't know how we can disccuss without such generalizations - especially when we discuss organizations who do not have a formal hierarchy with a single source of doctrine (heck, even the Anglicans don't have a single source - the Archbishop of Canterbury may be their highest official, but even he doesn't have the authority to dictate that the gay priest in ?? (New Hampshire?) can't be ordained to bishop.

    On the third hand, there is also the fact that people tend to hang around where they feel comfortable - usually in a homogenous group. It seems to be part of the human tendency to cluster in like groups. (There are exceptions, of course - I tend to have a very eclectic group of friends because, well, I've never been one to go with the herd - but even then, most of my friends are also non-conformist types, which makes them conforming to the group norm, which ... oh bother, said Pooh......)
     
  9. dasant

    dasant New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    yeah

    When I went to a club, and I encountered many gay men and women. The fact that I saw, about 5 of them with pentagrams on, made me wonder. I’m Wiccan myself, contrary to my image. But I do believe that yes, the gays are headed towards a religion that is predominantly happy, and accepting.
     
  10. IlluSionS667

    IlluSionS667 Eurasian spiritualist

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wiccans are usually pro-gay, because wicca is very feminist.
    Wotanists usually are anti-gay, because they believe it to be unnatural.

    There's more to paganism then wicca, you know?! In fact, wicca is not really neo-paganism but a new age mix of christianity, humanism, feminism and supposebly pagan rituals.
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    A rather interesting observation. :)
     
  12. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm new here, checking the place out because I was invited to link my website to the listings on the site. It looks pretty interesting so far.

    I'm wanting to reply because (a) I'm a bi Pagan, and (b) I do a lot of interfaith work in the queer community where I live.

    I do believe that the fundamentalist rejection of homosexuality and other non-hetero expressions of sexuality is driving people away from Christianity. Yes, there are a lot of queerfolk in Pagan religions (no, we're not all Wiccan). I don't think, though, that queerfolk are specifically fleeing into Paganisms, but rather many are simply rejecting all religion/spirituality. The attitude I see in the queer communities here is that religion itself is an enemy, and that anyone who practices a religion is joining with that enemy. It has been said repeatedly in our communities, by many people, that it's easier to come out as queer in your church than it is to come out as spiritual in the queer community.

    That said, as others here in this forum have observed, there are quite a number of queer-friendly Christian churches, synagogues, and other mainstream religious organizations. Granted, these tend to be found in cities. Rural queerfolk are often left without recourse if they wish to stay within the faith they were raised in. Some of these folks do turn to Pagan religions, but I suspect they might have turned to them anyway, simply because different aspects of mainstream monotheism didn't speak to them. I know it wasn't my sexuality that drove me out of Christianity, but rather my dissatisfaction with Christianity as I knew it -- its attitudes toward women, the earth, society, and equal rights for all. I was horrified by the idea that anyone who was a good person but did not believe in a certain particular way was doomed to an eternity of torment. I actually searched for many years before I found paths that satisfied me spiritually, and have spent many of those years building a way of relating to the Gods and Goddesses and to the Spirits and Ancestors that expresses my true feelings and satisfies my spiritual cravings.

    I know and work with quite a few queer clergy who are Christian, as well as those who are Jewish, Buddhist, and different varieties of Pagan. I think what marks most of us is that we have questioned the answers our early faiths gave us, and decided for ourselves what to accept and what to reject. I believe that most of us have decided that literal interpretations of any text are not working -- the key word here being "interpretations." There is no objectivity in matters of a spiritual nature. How a text is read depends not only on the translation one accesses, but on one's own nature and the social influences one draws upon to interpret the words on the page. Different versions of the Christian bible present different translations of the various books, and so to regard one version as the literal truth to be regarded as inerrant strikes me as impossible. If nothing else, translations are done by humans with biases, and those biases can affect which words appear on the page. This will inevitably change the meaning of the literal text between translations and versions, and bring up the question of exactly which version is the "literal" truth.

    As one feminist singer said:

    My skin, my bones, my heretic heart
    are my authority.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2004
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    Hi Erynn and welcome to CR - glad you found us. :)
     
  14. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for inviting me.
     
  15. kiwimac

    kiwimac God is NOT about Fear

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    9
    The discussion concerning Homosexuality in most Christian churches has been deeply sub-christian. Our job as followers of the Way is to support our fellow human beings all of whom are as failure-ridden and spiritually blind as we are. Not to trumpet how our ability to discern a slight shade of gray means we are more blessed than our fellows.

    I am proud to be part of a Gay-friendly church, i am proud to be a gay-friendly marriage and funeral celebrant.

    Kiwimac
     
  16. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Kiwimac

    I would tend to agree with you -- current US fundamentalist Christianity is about as far from what I understand of the ideals of Jesus as one might possibly get. I'm also deeply aware that though they are extremely loud, they're not the majority. It's unfortunate that a man who holds with their narrowest views is in power in the US. It makes it deeply uncomfortable for the rest of us. I'm saddened that so much of my family hold similar views to his. It tends to sunder rather than bring together, to reject rather than accept.

    Congratulations to you as a celebrant of diverse marriages, and I'm pleased to meet a colleague in the ever so necessary work of building bridges between diverse communities.
     
  17. Sisetekh

    Sisetekh Queer Kemetic

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes! Thank you for saying that! In fact there is way more to paganism than just "Wicca." I think it's actually quite sad that people automatically default to thinking about Wicca when paganism or neopaganism are mentioned, but I guess majority usually rules...

    I do think that, to a point, homosexuals involved in pagan religions are there because they were driven away by Christians. But if you think about it, it's not only homosexuals that join pagan paths because of this. If you ask a pagan why he or she is a pagan, oftentimes he will say it's because of something in Christianity that he just plain didn't agree with, whether it was condemnation of gays, status of women, animal rights, the idea that they are the only right ones, or even fascination with magic (which Christianity also condemns). A lot of the Christian beliefs are being viewed as useless and unfair in today's society, so people either tweak their Christian beliefs or turn to something else.
     
  18. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    Hi Sisetekh, and welcome to CR. :)
     
  19. Mus Zibii

    Mus Zibii QUID EST VERITAS

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    0
  20. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Messages:
    7,094
    Likes Received:
    776
    Zdrastvuitsye, hola, shalom, salaam, Dia dhuit, namastar ji, hej, konbanwa, squeak, meow, :wave: Sisetekh.
    Majority? I'm not exactly sure if Wicca makes up the majority of pagans/neopagans. I personally think that Wicca is immediately thought of because of all of the publicity (and pseudopublicity) given to Wicca. In fact, many people associate witches with Wicca, yet not all witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccans witches. One can pretty much blame the media for the confusion imho. I mean, look at Charmed and similar shows/movies. I remember an old live action show from September, 1975 - May, 1977 titled Isis that fiddled around with kemeticism (sort of.)

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     

Share This Page