God, Sin and Sodomy: Reconciling Religious Identities and Sexual Identities
The Scottish Minorities Group (SMG), from its inception, had identified working with Scotland’s major religious institutions as instrumental in the push for homosexual law reform in Scotland. This could be viewed as giving such organisations undue prominence in matters of sexual morality; after all, Scotland’s largest church — the Protestant Church of Scotland — had not sent a delegation to report to the Wolfenden Committee. The church’s public proclamations during the 1950s and 1960s that homosexuality was both disordered and immoral would have offered non-heterosexual men of faith little hope that a sea change in opinion from Scotland’s religious orders might be forthcoming. The recommendations of the Wolfenden Report would only apply to England and Wales and this has led some to believe that the objections of Scotland’s main church played a significant part in preventing decriminalisation north of the border. However, this would be an over-simplistic analysis of events, as has been discussed. While James Adair’s role in preventing legal equity between Scotland and its neighbours has been overstated, the Church of Scotland’s apparent intransigence belied a fair degree of organisational ambivalence over the legal status of Scottish homosexuals. Adair’s objections were, initially, shared by the Church of Scotland and his minority report certainly accorded with the position of the institution during the 1950s and 1960s, but the fact that this church had undertaken a notable change of direction by the 1970s suggests that opinions were much less rigid than its public proclamations suggested.
KeywordsReligious Belief Sexual Identity Cognitive Dissonance Religious Faith Catholic Priest
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 3.John Highet (1959) ‘The Protestant Churches in Scotland: A Review of Membership, Evangelistic Activities and Other Aspects’, Archives de Sociologie des Religions, 8, pp. 97–98.Google Scholar
- 6.M. Wolkomir (2006) “Be Not Deceived”: The Sacred and Sexual Struggles of Gay and Ex-gay Christian Men (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press), p. 14.Google Scholar
- 10.Callum Brown (1997) Religion and Society in Scotland since 1707 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), p. 64.Google Scholar
- 13.R. Stephen Warner (2002) ‘The Metropolitan Community Churches and the Gay Agenda: The Power of Pentecostalism and Essentialism’, in C. L. Williams & A. Stein (eds) Sexuality and Gender (Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 285, 287–8.Google Scholar
- 14.Melissa M. Wilcox (2002) ‘When Sheila’s a Lesbian: Religious Individualism among LGBT Christians’, Sociology of Religion, 63, pp. 504–5.Google Scholar
- 51.I. Meyer & L. Dean (1996) ‘Internalized Homophobia, Intimacy and Sexual Behaviour among Gay and Bisexual Men’, in Gregory M. Herek (ed.) Stigma and Sexual Orientation: Understanding Prejudice against Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage), p. 161.Google Scholar
- 52.Callum Brown (2009) The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800–2000 (London; New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
- 54.Jeffrey Weeks (2007) The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life (London: Routledge), p. 2.Google Scholar