Educating on“Queering Religion”

Logan Raschke, Staff Reporter

Queering Religion, a discussion-based event focused on educating people about religion and the gender and sexual diversity community, was open to students Tuesday night.

Queering Religion began with a showing of an episode of “Queer Eye” entitled “God Bless Gay,” in which a Christian mother strengthened her relationship with her gay son over the remodeling of her church’s community center.

Mary Wright, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, and GSD Center assistant Kurt Ness led the discussion that followed the episode viewing.

Wright said the reason some people think being religious and also being a member of the GSD community is an oxymoron is because of how the church has treated GSD people throughout history.

“(The church) will look at scripture, finding ways to prove what they’re thinking (about the GSD community), and yet they ignore the God is love, love everyone, don’t judge other people—those things are forgotten,” she said. “If you’re going (to a church) and they totally reject you and judge you and tell you you’re going to hell, then who wants to go to a place like that?”

Ness said some GSD individuals have been emotionally scarred by people who use their religion as a means to justify hatred for their community.

“Religion has been used to hurt members of the GSD community, currently and in the past, and so (some GSD members) shy away from (religion),” he said.

With regard to using the Holy Bible to shame the GSD community, Wright said it is important to understand the historical factors that were at play that influenced how the Bible was written.

Even translating the Bible was a big problem with the King James version that led to the false ideology that the GSD community is bad, Ness said.

“The translation is really a botched process to begin with when King James (ordered) the translation to English,” he said. “He really got to decide what was put in (the Bible), and it was very biased to support his opinion.”

Keeping the mishandled translation of King James’ Bible in mind, Wright said the main lesson the Holy Bible teaches is how to maintain a healthy, happy and devoted relationship with God.

The cardinal rule of Christianity is to love everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Wright said, so being a Christian member of the GSD community cannot be an oxymoron.

“I truly believe that God created everyone; God created them just the way they are, and that God loves everyone just the way they are,” she said. “Where do you learn that best? Through religion, if religion is focusing on that.”

Ness said people who are struggling to understand that a good balance between GSD values and religiosity does exist are welcome and encouraged to go to the GSD center on Eastern’s campus for help.

Wright said finding a church that is inclusive and welcoming to the GSD community can help people who are religious GSD individuals, and reaching out to others who are open to conversation can make a positive impact.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].