Accepted paper:

Confirming and contesting tradition: the discourses of LGBT Christian groupings in the UK

Author:

Stephen Hunt (University of the West of England)

Paper short abstract:

This paper seeks to provide an account of the endeavour by LGBT Christian cadres to challenge majority traditional Christian attitudes towards sexual diversity on the one hand and simultaneously appealing to ‘hidden’ traditional tolerance on the other.

Paper long abstract:

There can be little doubt that the broad subject of sexual diversity and, more specifically, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered/Sexual) rights constitutes a major issue of debate and contention in the Christian churches worldwide. These issues have helped generate grass-root LGBT Christian minority groupings in a good number of the major denominations, as well as independent LGBT churches and organizations. Many remain ostracised at worse or marginalised at best. This paper seeks to provide a sociological account of the endeavour by LGBT Christian cadres to construct a distinct collective identity in the setting of a liberal democracy and against a cultural backdrop which could arguably be described as 'post-Christian', namely, the United Kingdom. The approach is sociological in the sense that it attempts to comprehend how such groupings express collective identity and construct corporalities through social action and ideological formations. This venture entails, among other things, reconstructing conventional theologies and forging accompanying discourses which challenge majority traditional Christian attitudes towards sexual diversity on the one hand and simultaneously appealing to 'hidden' traditional tolerance on the other, while at the same time appealing to more 'progressive' motifs. The methodology utilized in this study is founded on the analysis of official 'position statements', relevant documentation, and web-site postings produced by Christian LGBT groupings aimed at both their membership and for public consumption.

panel Reli002
The heritagization of religious and spiritual practices: the effects of grassroots and top-down policies (SIEF Ethnology of Religion Working Group)