In a recent essay in Salon Magazine, the Reverend Elizabeth M. Edman argues for the power of “queer virtue” to combat “heteronormativity” and revitalize a Christianity that is too wedded to traditional ideas of human sexuality and marriage.
An Episcopal priest and a political strategist, Edman attempts to redeem the concept of “Pride” as central to the LGBT movement and integral to an authentically Christian life.
In her essay—excerpted from the book titled Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity—Edman laments that in Christian scripture and hymnody, pride is “condemned as a glaring and destructive human sin,” when in her mind it is a good and virtuous attitude.
“The complexity of these dynamics makes many of us queers keenly aware that our Pride is born of something deep within that connects us to one another, and also to something bigger than all of us,” Edman writes, which might indeed be God.
As biblical examples of pride, Edman enumerates several figures, including Moses and the Virgin Mary, as well as Abraham and the prophet Samuel.
She fails to mention, however, that the same Bible refers to Moses as “the humblest man on the face of the earth.”
She also somehow misses the text where Mary says that God “has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts,” and bringing down the powerful, has “lifted up the lowly.”
It does seem oddly consistent, however, that an attempt to turn homosexual relations into a good and Godly act would be paired with an effort to rehabilitate pride and turn the sin of Satan into a virtue.
As Christian apologist C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride,” adding that “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.”
“Pride leads to every other vice,” Lewis wrote, and is “the complete anti-God state of mind.”
“Cultivating Pride is tricky for Christians,” Edman admits, while adding that “Christians have a trickier path here than queers do.”
Redeeming and embracing pride is “a narrow road, and it is challenging to walk,” Edman writes. “But it is no harder than the immense challenges faced by the prophets.”
And this is precisely where homosexuals can help Christians, Edman insists, but only if Christians are willing to learn.
“If we are to use queerness to help us understand our own identities and Pride, Christians must become aware of and resist the impulse, conscious or subconscious, to deny the existence of LGBTQ people,” she writes.
“Our attempts to proclaim a more authentic Gospel will not go far enough unless and until we become conscious of heteronormative impulses within our tradition and work to dismantle them,” she says.
This is the onerous task that Rev. Edman proposes, one that involves stripping the Bible of its “heteronormativity” and remaking Christianity in the image of a society that glorifies gender fluidity and pansexualism.
“Queerfolk will tell you: for us, rooting out all the internalized homophobia/biphobia/ transphobia/queerphobia is a lifelong endeavor,” Edman writes.
A good many Christians will hope she never succeeds. For Christians to embrace sodomy as sacred and pride as virtue is to turn the teachings of Jesus on their head.
This might sound good to the Reverend Edman, but to most of the rank-and-file faithful it sounds suspiciously like evil.
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