The relationship between the American church and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people has all too often been rocky, and conflict is inflamed by opposition by churches and Christian political institutions to equal rights for LGBTQ Americans. Opposition to equal rights for LGBTQ Americans is based on the belief among many Christian traditions, denominations, and sects that homosexuality and transgender identity are morally wrong, based on how they interpret a handful of Bible verses.
In Part I of a two-part series, Jaye focuses on the non-affirming position of many Christian institution as it relates to sexual orientation. She examines the “clobber” verses, making the argument that the non-affirming position is not conclusively supported by the Bible. What damage is being done to LGBTQ people, both inside and outside the church because of the non-affirming doctrine of many American churches? And – can you be Christian and affirming?
CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes discussion of homophobia, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, sexual assault and suicide. Listener discretion is advised.
In response to Vice-President Mike Pence stating Christian education should be off-limits to criticism, hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools, started by scholar and exvangelical Chris Stroop (@c_stroop), went viral, particularly on Twitter.
Jaye discusses the need for extremist ideology and abusive behavior in evangelical Christian schools to be exposed, and the importance of providing space for those who have lived through the Christian school experience to share their experiences. She also shares a couple of personal stories from briefly attending a Christian elementary school.
Why are right-wing politicians, conservative media, and evangelical Christian leaders hostile to people coming forward with the truth about evangelical Christian education?
In November of 2018, 26 year old American explorer and missionary John Allen Chau was killed by the Sentinelese people, an isolated tribal group living on North Sentinel Islands off the coast of India. Chau went the island illegally in order to share with them about Christianity. The incident is controversial, sparking outrage, consternation, and even admiration.
Were Chau’s actions worth the cost of his life? And could his actions cost the Sentinelese people their lives as well? Jaye discusses the parties involved in the incident, Christian missionary work, and why history matters when unpacking the discomfort some have with the idea of missions.
Political science researchers Benjamin Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin join Jaye on this episode to share with listeners their knowledge and research on women clergy, and talk about their new book, She Preached the Word. The researchers discuss some of the book’s themes, including the barriers to ordination of women, the acceptance of women clergy in congregations, and the effects they have on their congregations. They also discuss their research methodology, including the new, original data collected and analyzed to arrive at their findings. How do women clergy affect the self-esteem and outlook of women and girls in their congregations, and how might women in religious leadership affect the prospects of women leadership in other areas of public life?
Several scandals involving sexual harassment and sexual abuse have been uncovered recently in a number of churches across the Christian landscape. Why is abuse within the church such a huge story, why does it occur, and what can churches do better to reduce abuse occurrences and respond to these incidents? Jaye discusses a few of these recent scandals – delving into authoritarianism, sexual repression, and purity culture, and how these mechanisms can enable perpetrators and silence victims.
CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes discussion of sexual activity, sexual assault and child abuse. Please be advised.