‘God vs. Gay’ Author to Speak in Kansas City
February 2, 2012
by Bradley Osborn
Scholar and activist Jay Michaelson will make a stop in Kansas City on Feb. 21. The author of God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality will be at LikeMe Lighthouse at 7 p.m. for conversation and a reception.
In God vs. Gay, Michaelson challenges the myth that the Bible forbids homosexuality, calling that a misreading that is responsible for divisive and painful conflict. He argues that, using proper exegesis, the Judeo-Christian scriptures not only do not prohibit same-sex intimacy, but in fact honor the values inherent within the concept of equality for sexual minorities.
Using his analysis of the Old and New Testaments, along with scientific data on sexual orientation, Michaelson demonstrates that sexual diversity is natural and that the inclusion of same-sex families is a positive step that strengthens religious values.
Now living in upstate New York, Michaelson was born into a conservative Jewish family. He studied the Tanakh to find passages and stories that informed his view of the natural beauty of homosexuality.
The story of Adam and Eve is one of “loneliness and love, not procreation and progeny,” he writes. He reminds us that the Bible is clear on the proper treatment of minorities in our midst. The Sodomites got that wrong; they were cruel and inhospitable. The Sodom and Gomorrah tale is just one of the passages that have been traditionally misinterpreted in an anti-gay fashion. Leviticus, Romans and Corinthians also go under Michaelson’s microscope.
Michaelson exhorts us to live in a world with an increasing respect for diversity, finally ending the battle between God and Gay.
Michaelson is the founding editor of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, which publishes art, essays, fiction and poetry semi-annually. He also founded Nehirim, a national provider of community programming for LGBT Jews and their allies.
“‘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 bring 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
“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
Conversation and Reception
7 p.m. Feb. 21
3909 Main St.
Kansas City, Mo.