One of the things I’m most pleased about with the new edition of Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality is the new appendix which maps the progress toward LGBT equality in 10 other denominations in the United States. It’s really a fascinating story:
Fifty years ago there were no out LGBT clergy or LGBT advocacy groups in any denomination. Now many denominations have out clergy and all denominations have active LGBT advocacy groups. This is really remarkable progress within a relatively short space of time.
The Metropolitan Community Churches, the United Church of Christ, and the Unitarian Universalist Association have official policies of full LGBT equality (including marriage and ordination equality).
Several other denominations are making good progress including the:
- Episcopal Church which has out clergy, a gay Bishop, and some priests perform same-sex weddings;
- Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) which passed a number of equality measures at their most recent General Assembly;
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which is very close to a breakthrough;
- Methodist Church which has majority support for LGBT equality here in the U.S. but is still lacking the support of their international brothers and sisters; and
- The American Baptist Churches USA where a tradition of congregational polity means that some congregations welcome out clergy as pastors while others do not.
Finally there are the denominations which are dug in or going backwards — such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention — but even within those denominations there are active advocacy groups working for change.
While the day-to-day struggle for LGBT equality can sometimes seem daunting, when one steps back and looks at the larger picture it appears clear that the arc of history is bending towards justice.
In connection with the release of the new edition I’ve also added a new feature to my website called “allies in other denominations” (look for it in the right hand sidebar). There I provide links to 23 different advocacy groups working for LGBT in other denominations and religious traditions. I hope this will be a helpful resource.
The updated and expanded second edition Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality (including the new appendix!) is available through Amazon.com or Cokesbury.com.