I just returned from our campus's queer group's discussion on religion and gender/sexual minorities and allies, and now I'm all full of religion thoughts.
I went as a representative of our Unitarian Universalist club, in addition to being queer myself. We Universalists have problems with ideas like "evil," so when someone said, referring (as I understood) to whether or not churches decide to affirm and accept LGBT individuals, that this was "a question of good and evil, acceptance and non-acceptance," I got thoughtful.
As a Universalist, I believe that everyone gets to heaven, or enlightenment, or whatever - I'm still unclear on exactly what that means. I like to think that everyone has an inherent and eternal capacity to both change the world for the better and be changed in turn.
And as a UU, I think that a central goal of our congregations - a religious duty, springing from our shared principles - should be to create spaces of radical acceptance, communities where everyone can come as they are and be welcomed and appreciated for who they are.
But that's tricky, isn't it? Because as a queer in a religious community, I go into my desire to accept everyone acutely aware of the danger therein. There are people who would like to see me stoned to death, because that's what the Bible says. How do I accept them and maintain my own safety?
So when I was thinking about queers in places of worship as a question of good and evil, that's what I was thinking about. A bit ironically, being a community of radical acceptance means setting some pretty clear lines about what sort of behaviors, and even what sort of beliefs, aren't permissible. How do we practice openness, forgiveness and love while maintaining our commitment to protect those of us who are marginalized for who we are? How does one call out evil where one sees it while still being a place where everyone gets to heaven?
Obviously, I'm not the first person to grapple with this. In fact, I'm late to the game, and should probably just go grab some books from the library. But that's the sort of thing I was thinking about tonight, and if anyone has any opinions, I'd love to hear them.