GOD VS. GAY? by Jay Michaelson


The Religious Case for Equality
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A progressive look at homosexuality in religion told from a Jewish perspective.

LGBT activist Michaelson is openly gay and also Jewish, two traits he does not define as mutually exclusive. Religion taught him to live with integrity but then decried him for doing so; since his sexual orientation was a violation of Jewish law, the author felt obligated to lie to his loved ones and resign himself to meaningless affairs. Mixing memoir and academic analysis in this well-researched and concisely written treatise, Michaelson embarks on a mission to reconcile sexuality with Judeo-Christian religious traditions. He begins, appropriately enough, with Adam and Eve, explaining how loving relationships between straight and gay couples alike are fundamental to a religious lifestyle. From a scientific perspective, sexual diversity is both natural and beneficial to our species, a point Michaelson argues with examples from the animal kingdom as well as our own. Ultimately, the author feels that welcoming lesbians and gays into religious communities will create family values rather than destroy them, which he best encapsulates with a lively attack on "reform" camps that claim to cure homosexuality. But he also dissects the more troubling passages in Leviticus and Romans, deftly unraveling common mistranslations of the text and placing the scripture in historical context. No religious debate on homosexuality can ignore the infamous story of Sodom and Gomorrah. For this, Michaelson draws from both Jewish and Christian history to explain how the passage came to be associated with homosexuality before he offers his alternative view.  

Inclusive and modern theology that will give both Jewish and Christian readers a reason to celebrate sexual diversity.


Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8070-0159-2
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Beacon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2011


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