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God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality (Queer Ideas/Queer Action) Paperback – May 8, 2012
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“God vs. Gay is an excellent resource for those struggling to reconcile their sexual feelings — or those of a loved one — with being a person of devout religious faith. Michaelson never panders, attempts to set aside all biases and simply lets the text speak for itself. What happens when he clears the smoke of punditry and bigotry is a beautiful thing, and the discussion over equality and human diversity is elevated because of Michaelson’s willingness to have faith in the words of the Torah — and in human dignity.”—NewVoices.org
“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… Inclusive and modern theology that will give both Jewish and Christian readers a reason to celebrate sexual diversity.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This title is very much worth reading and particularly useful for those interested in religion, civil rights, and social progress.”—Library Journal
“God vs. Gay is a game-changer and highly recommended in the debate…Michaelson has packed so much into his slim volume. A pleasurable and intelligent read, this is a book for our times and a book for the ages.”—EDGE
“As a salvo in the case for equality, however, it shows how to reframe the debate and stop seeing a chasm between God and gay.”—Publisher's Weekly
"Michaelson looks at the Hebrew and Christian Bible with keen intellect, wit, and often surprising insights. He roots his arguments not in dry exegesis but in hard-won self-acceptance and passionate concern for others. I highly recommended God vs. Gay? for anyone seeking to understand how being homosexual and religious are not antithetical."—Joe Perez, author of Soulfully Gay
"'The irony of God versus Gay is that actually Gay and God go together. Opening to one leads to the other.' So writes Jay Michaelson in the postscript to this beautiful, soulful book. Michaelson charts a journey from rejection to full acceptance, from religious alienation to spiritual wholeness that will brings the reader closer to the Divine. It did for me and it will for anyone who has felt abandoned by their faith and rejected for who they are. This is a healing book that yearns to be read."—Sharon Groves, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
“God vs. Gay? is a timely and important book in this religious and political moment. Michaelson’s book prepares us, regardless of religious or sexual identity, to delve deeper into our souls, our traditions, and into the truth that religion is in fact a source of liberation.”—Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the largest gay and lesbian synagogue in the world
“Through careful discussions of Jewish and Christian teachings on homosexuality Michaelson masterfully reveals that both religions allow for the full embrace of LGBT persons. This religious-ethical work is illuminating and a must read for anyone who wants to understand the current debate over religion and homosexuality.”—Rabbi David Ellenson, President Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
“Michaelson shows that ‘God versus gay’ is a myth and that the overwhelming majority of our shared religious values favor equality for LGBT people.” —Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun
"God vs. Gay? is essential reading for people of all faiths who want to be allies of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. This book articulates what many of us have felt in our hearts for a long time: that our religious conscience compels us to support equality, not oppose it."—Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, co-author of Jewish with Feeling and From Age-ing to Sage-ing, Blessings for Health, Peace of Mind, and Prosperity
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Jay's newest book is The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path. Others include Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment (North Atlantic); God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and Amazon.com bestseller; and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (Shambhala).
Jay regularly appears on NPR, MSNBC, Huffington Post Live, and other national media, and was a professional LGBT activist for ten years. He holds a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a JD from Yale Law School, and nondenominational rabbinic ordination. Currently an affiliated assistant professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, he has held teaching positions at Yale University, City College, and Boston University Law School.
Top Customer Reviews
On the other hand, if your mind is open to a nuanced, careful, and more expansive reading of the Bible, this is a carefully written and enlightening book. Jay Michaelson is an astute scholar who approaches the Bible with not only the meticulousness of a Torah scholar and a law student, but also with the personal perspective of someone who is deeply religious and who left behind his own self-loathing and found a way to be whole in spirit. If you are seeking a way to embrace Scripture in a more inclusive and loving way, this book is for you.
The book is divided into three parts. In the first Michaelson points out that the core message of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures are about love, integrity, dignity, justice, and partnership. In the second part Michaelson examines the scriptures used to condemn sexual minorities, and in the third part he argues that inclusion of sexual minorities is good, not bad, for religious values.
Early on, Michaelson points out that "there are those who feel called to celibacy. . . . But to be compelled to such abstinence--or worse (and more likely) a life of furtive encounters, deceptions, tawdry alliances, lies, and endless self-recriminations--is fundamentally incompatible with the concept of a loving God" (p. 18). Further, "if God loves us, he would never want the closet. . . . There is no reconciling a loving God with the closet" (p. 17). For that reason alone, "coming out is the beginning of an authentic spiritual life, not the end of it" (p. 21-22).
No verse exists in a vacuum. As Luther pointed out, we must examine a scripture in the context of The Scripture. Part I of Michaelson's book sets the context for studying the terror texts.Read more ›
Unlike his counterparts on the Religious Right, however, Michaelson concludes that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures do not condemn same-sex love and intimacy, but actually command an acceptance of them. This is a difficult thesis for most evangelicals to swallow, yet any who read this book will be led to reconsider their premises thanks to the author`s persuasive analysis, his felicitous writing style, and his deep respect for faith.
Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr, the LGBT civil rights movement has not responded with the language of Scripture, even though they face Scriptural arguments. The lesson from Dr. King is to engage with religious values, because political questions are ultimately religious ones as well. In making the religious case for equal rights, this book examines the fundamental values of Christians and Jews and it interprets the handful of verses about same-sex relations in light of those values.
Those fundamental Biblical values that support equality are these:
* "It is not good for a person to be alone." Loneliness is the first problem of creation, and love comes to solve it.
* "Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8) "If God loves us," Michaelson writes, "then God could never want the closet. God could not wish for human beings to lie, to repress their emotional selves, and to distort that aspect of the soul which leads to the highest of human satisfactions into a dark force of evil.Read more ›
If you are having any problems with your faith and your sexuality, I HIGHLY recommend you to read this book.-I ask for forgiveness to the author, because this words aren't definitively enough to express this book's accomplishment-
Best whishes! Hope it comes in handy as it did to me.
God bless you!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must for all those who have same-sex attraction and have been told by religious zealots there is something wrong with them.Published 6 months ago by Ryan
Basing his "theology" on love Michaelson summarizes much modern thought on gay history and spirituality but does it in a very unique blend of fact and overall Biblical meaning. Read morePublished 11 months ago by R. Stephens
Great, thought provoking book. Michaelson tackled this difficult subject with intelligence, humor, and grace. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Monica Rikli
A friend who is supportive of LGBTQ inclusiveness in the Church recommended Dr. Michaelson's book to me. Read morePublished 15 months ago by James Pyles
As a practicing Catholic, I believe one of the greatest errors and injustices by certain Christians has been the singling out of particular groups or actions as particularly sinful... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Chris
It was a clean copy. In good condition. I was pleased with my connection to purchase this book and look forward to reading it.Published 24 months ago by Ruth Laudermilch
We'll worth reading. Interesting that the same people who fail to understand our constitution, because they read it without any historical context or understanding also misread... Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed every page of this book! Excellently written! Intelligent and insightful.Reading it was a perfect joy! Thank you Jay!!!Published on September 27, 2013 by Emil Kostadinov