The impact of religion on lesbian, gay,
transgender persons and transexuals (LGBT)
Changes and fractures
About the Christian conservatives and LGBT persons:
In the United States, there are many voices of conservative Christianity with similar teachings about LGBT issues:
- The Roman Catholic Church teaches that a person's sexual orientation is beyond their control and essentially unchangeable. As such, it is not sinful unless and until the individual becomes sexually active. They regard a homosexual and bisexual orientation as intrinsically disordered. They sponsor theCourage Community, a church apostolate dedicated to helping LGBT persons to remain celibate. Many dioceses prohibit the use of their facilities by Dignity USA™ a mutual support group of LGBT persons whose goal is to "... experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society."
Church beliefs are based upon their version of natural law. This law has been defined as a "...set of principles which govern human interactions, [and] which are built into the structure of the universe as opposed to being imposed by human beings." Their beliefs about sexual orientation are unable to change without a major revision to natural law -- a major and perhaps impossible undertaking. Thus, their position on LGBT issues is essentially static and unable to change. As with most topics related to human sexuality, the membership of the church is gradually abandoning church teachings.
- The National Association of Evangelicals is an umbrella group linking
together fundamentalist and other evangelical Protestant Christians. It was organized in
1942 at a meeting of 147 people in St. Louis, MO.
It has grown considerably over the past almost 7 decades and now counts sixty denominations,
about 45 thousand congregations, and a multitude of conservative para-church groups,
commissions, affiliates, schools, and individuals as affiliates and members.
They are the main representative of the conservative wing of Protestantism and
are frequently contacted by the media when reporters want to learn the authoritative evangelical Christian position on a particular topic.
The NAE states that its voice: "... is clearer, stronger and more broadly heard
now than ever before." However, the NAE -- as well as the evangelical wing of
Christianity -- has been suffering from an internal division in recent years.
- Many -- particularly those in their fundamentalist wing -- want to continue the practice of concentrating
their political outreach in two traditional areas:
- Others are taking a more liberal approach and would like to see evangelical
outreach greatly expanded into areas like global poverty, national poverty, health
care, global warming, human trafficking, genocide, government use of torture,
and may other topics.
Internal NAE conflicts over sexual orientation surfaced in 2006 and 2008.
The former resulted in the resignation of their president at the time: Ted
Haggard. The latter resulted in the resignation of their vice-president of
governmental affairs, Richard Cizik.
Topics covered in this section:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The sources are not necessarily still available today.
- Definition of "Natural Law" by HistoryCentral.com at: http://www.historycentral.com/
- "National Association of Evangelicals," Wikipedia, at:
- "Rich Cizik, pioneer for New Evangelicals," Sojourners newsletter,
Copyright © 2008 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-DEC-19
Latest update and review: 2008-DEC-19
Compiler: B.A. Robinson