Home Institution

University of Notre Dame

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

Abstract

This paper explores how homosexual Christians experience their religious life, as well as the various methods used to negotiate any difficulties or conflicts between these two identities. Data for this study consists of in-depth interviews with homosexual Dutch adults who participate in worship services at a Catholic congregation in North Holland which ministers specifically to the homosexual community. Findings reveal that respondents describe their religious life as taking place on three different levels: the denominational, the individual, and the community level. These descriptions were characterized by an overall rejection of official denominational doctrine concerning homosexuality, an isolation of religious practice and experience in the personal level, and a strong desire for a welcoming church community. The complexity of the multidimensional nature of religious experience suggests that the existing typologies oversimplify the negotiation of religion and sexuality among homosexual Christians, and that a new analytical tool for examining this process is needed.

Disciplines

Gender and Sexuality | Religion | Sociology of Culture

 

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