"Abomination"--life as a Bible belt gay.
ABSTRACT Drawing on observation, autoethnography, and audio-taped interviews, this article explores the religious backgrounds and experiences of Bible Belt gays. In the Bible Belt, Christianity is not confined to Sunday worship. Christian crosses, messages, paraphernalia, music, news, and attitudes permeate everyday settings. Consequently, Christian fundamentalist dogma about homosexuality-that homosexuals are bad, diseased, perverse, sinful, other, and inferior-is cumulatively bolstered within a variety of other social institutions and environments in the Bible Belt. Of the 46 lesbians and gay men interviewed for this study (age 18-74 years), most describe living through spirit-crushing experiences of isolation, abuse, and self-loathing. This article argues that the geographic region of the Bible Belt intersects with religious-based homophobia. Informants explained that negative social attitudes about homosexuality caused a range of harmful consequences in their lives including the fear of going to hell, depression, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness.
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to gather information about religious values, beliefs, and normative practices in the Jehovah's Witness community to observe how these affect individual and family lives or well-being. Fifteen semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 participants (six women and four men, aged between 19 and 62), who were active or former members of the community. Interview transcripts were analyzed together with the community's official website contents and publications used for religious socialization, with Nvivo10, using the procedures of the constructivist grounded theory. Pathways for becoming a Jehovah's Witness and numerous social norms are discussed in the paper with reference to their potentially salutogenic, pathogenic, or pathoplastic aspect. Special attention is paid to cultural shifts associated with conversion, expected acculturation styles, and the consequences of potential social exclusion when accepted norms are broken. It is claimed that understanding the culture of this specific religious group is crucial for healthcare providers, counselors and teachers who come into contact with community members in order to recognize risk factors and potential areas of conflict.Journal of Family Studies 08/2014; 20(2):148-165. DOI:10.1080/13229400.2014.11082003 · 0.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: America’s popular culture war narrative has often portrayed the evangelical community and the gay community as fundamentally oppositional groups whose range of disagreements center around arguments over the morality and nature of homosexuality. Against the backdrop of these arguments, we undertake a qualitative study of a congregation of gay evangelicals, specifically investigating how pastoral leadership attempts to manage sexual relationships amid a congregation that is firmly and self-consciously rooted in both its gay and evangelical identities. We look at the particular goals and ideals that pastoral leadership espouses for sexual relationships, and we explore how these goals and ideals represent, draw from, and potentially help integrate the congregation’s competing cultural identities. We find that pastoral leadership strives for what we are calling a “blended approach” to managing sexual relationships—an approach that simultaneously emphasizes traditional evangelical sexual norms (such as commitment, stability, monogamy, and longevity), while allowing these norms to be significantly tempered by a strong recognition of the private and public contexts that have shaped the gay community’s understanding of sexual and relational life. We speculate that this blended approach to managing sexual relationships may be pointing the way toward future developments within some predominantly-heterosexual evangelical congregations.Review of Religious Research 09/2012; 54(3):349-370. DOI:10.1007/s13644-012-0051-8 · 0.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Over the past 20 years, numerous research studies have been published indicating that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals, LGB couples, and family members of LGB individuals are experiencing religious identity/sexual orientation identity conflict. In addition, many of these same studies have included in the findings resolution strategies utilized by participants to negotiate this type of conflict. This article presents a review of the religious identity/sexual orientation identity conflict research and links it to cognitive dissonance theory. Subsequently, implications for counselors and future research are offered in light of this literature review.Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 07/2011; 5:259-281. DOI:10.1080/15538605.2011.632745