Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights (Paperback)
  • Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights (Paperback)
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Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights (Paperback)

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£37.95
Paperback 248 Pages / Published: 30/08/2015
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With a focus on mainline Protestants and gay rights activists in the twentieth century, Heather R. White challenges the usual picture of perennial adversaries with a new narrative about America's religious and sexual past. White argues that today's antigay Christian traditions originated in the 1920s when a group of liberal Protestants began to incorporate psychiatry and psychotherapy into Christian teaching. A new therapeutic orthodoxy, influenced by modern medicine, celebrated heterosexuality as God-given and advocated a compassionate ""cure"" for homosexuality.

White traces the unanticipated consequences as the therapeutic model, gaining popularity after World War II, spurred mainline church leaders to take a critical stance toward rampant antihomosexual discrimination. By the 1960s, a vanguard of clergy began to advocate for homosexual rights. White highlights the continued importance of this religious support to the consolidating gay and lesbian movement. However, the ultimate irony of the therapeutic orthodoxy's legacy was its adoption, beginning in the 1970s, by the Christian Right, which embraced it as an age-old tradition to which Americans should return. On a broader level, White challenges the assumed secularization narrative in LGBT progress by recovering the forgotten history of liberal Protestants' role on both sides of the debates over orthodoxy and sexual identity.

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9781469624112
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 525 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Provide[s] rigorous historical scholarship that illuminate[s] why the image of gays against religion has persisted, but also, and importantly, what that image overlooks about the role of religion within twentieth century gay politics.--Religious Studies Review


Opens up questions too long overlooked by historians of both sexuality and religion. . . . and rightly points to the rise in the 1970s of the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) movement as evidence that we can no longer assume that the histories of gay people and religion diverged when the former began to come out of the closet.--Journal of Church and State


Original and important scholarship that should be required reading for anyone interested in the intersections between sexuality and religion.--American Historical Review


[An] original, well-written volume. . . . Fearlessly joins the conversation about the intersection of religion and sexuality.--Choice


White's book offers tremendous potential for reimagining the relationship between religion and sexuality in modern-day America. Perhaps that too can help us confront the challenges that face us still.--Reviews in American History


Describes how liberal Protestantism in mid-twentieth century American tried to contribute to a therapeutic perspective on same sex-behavior and identity.--Journal of American History


Members of mainline churches owe White a debt of gratitude for showing that 'a liberal Protestant legacy has shaped all sides of the oppositional policy over gay rights.'--Lauren Winner, The Christian Century


Well researched and well crafted....A must read for understanding how a lot of change happened in a relatively short time.-- Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


An eminently accessible book and should be required reading for historians of sexuality.--Journal of the History of Sexuality


Explores the complicated interaction between American Protestantism and the homophile movement.--Sociology of Religion


White's history is a valuable supplement to what she reveals as an
incomplete picture of American Christianity's not-so-distant past. Strong in
methodology and research, accessibly and intelligently written, Reforming
Sodom
is a necessary and vital work.--Church History

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