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Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men

edited by Brian Bouldrey

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1995
ISBN: 1-57322-003-5
Publisher: Riverhead

 Twenty-two brief and highly personal essays tell of an ongoing search for sexual and religious wholeness by American gay men. Because most religious authorities condemn homosexuality, or at least assume their adherents are heterosexual, the gay world has tended to be bitterly antireligious. Here Bouldrey (author of the novel The Genius of Desire, 1993) provides a forum in which gay writers of various religious backgrounds tell (illustrated with sometimes mildly salacious anecdotes) how they have, or have not, combined religion with an active gay lifestyle. We read how Antonio Feliz, as a Mormon bishop, was tormented at having to excommunicate an avowed homosexual and how a remarkable experience of God's love for him led to his own decision to come out. Gabriel Lampert tells how his Jewishness and homosexuality have both been areas for self- discovery and freedom. Over a third of the accounts are by ex- Catholics. David Plante explains how the Church's dogma at least taught him to value the face and the whole person of his lover, not just a part of his body, while Philip Gambone writes compellingly of his youthful Catholic fervor, his time as an Episcopalian, his pleasant but spiritually inadequate experience as a Unitarian, and his present, very cautious position on the sidelines of Catholicism. The Episcopalian and Reform Jewish authors have the least trouble in uniting their religion with their sex lives. For all the contributors, homosexuality has become the dominant force in their lives, in some cases taking the place of religion, and the experience of embracing the gay lifestyle is described in the born- again rhetoric of conversion. We do not, however, hear from any homosexual believer who finds meaning in the traditional teachings. A timely but far from definitive contribution to the neglected area of gay religious experience. (Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club selections)