George Broadhead writes: The new issue of Gay & Lesbian Humanist (May 2009) is out now and available FREE at www.gayandlesbianhumanist.org. In this issue, we are taking a look at religion and homosexuality and the conflict between religious belief and sexuality. While gay people are not welcomed by modern-day incarnations of most mainstream religions, that hasn’t prevented some gay people with religious beliefs from trying to reconcile their belief with their sexuality. Indeed, some religionists plead that their chosen faiths were not always homophobic, as they are today.
First international conference of gay Muslims
The Al-Fatiha Foundation for gay Muslims was formed in the late 1990s by Faisal Alam, who admitted that he had not fully reconciled his sexuality with his faith. Warren Allen Smith looks back at the founding in New York of the first international conference of gay Muslims.
Islam: a religion of social justice, peace and tolerance?
In “Queer Jihad”, the latest in our series of “Out of Print” articles from the earlier print version of G&LH, we feature Brett Humphreys article from Winter 2001 that asks why it is that Al-Fatiha, like most Muslims, portrays Islam as a religion of “social justice, peace and tolerance” and yet has never formed a branch in any Muslim country? Humphreys points out that even in the relative safety of London, the location of the previous year’s conference, the venue was kept secret until after the event for fear of attack by fellow Muslims.
Of course the struggle between personal religious belief and homosexuality is not confined to Islam. Andy Armitage tells us about his own brush with religion, when, as a gay man in his twenties, he became confirmed into the Christian Church.
But matters gay were never far away, and, while the cathedral church he was confirmed in attracted a no doubt statistically significant number of gay men, there were nonetheless tensions between rite and “wrong”.
George Broadhead asks us to imagine the horror of a young gay person being told at school that their sexuality is sinful, that they should spend the rest of their life denying what comes naturally. This is exactly what the British government seems to believe “faith” schools should have the right to do in name of religious freedom.
Continuing our theme this month, Neil Richardson considers Cardinal John Henry Newman, widely thought to have been gay, who was buried with his lover, Father Ambrose St John. Newman was something of a mentor to the gay poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, who, like Newman, was probably subduing sexual feelings.
… and all the regulars!
We also offer you our topical regular features including our roundup of news, and a look at another interesting blog we’ve discovered in “Blogwatch”. This time we’ve dropped in on “Friendly Atheist”, which has a prolific output and a very useful sidebar.
As usual, we report on what’s been happening at our own blog in “On the Blog”. Back in April, Pink Triangle carried its own April Fool joke but this was a slightly different take on what has become an annual tradition in the media – blogs included.
We passed a landmark, recently, too, when PT became a year old, with 600-odd posts under its belt. That’s now risen to more than 700.
Do you remember Popetown, the cartoon series commissioned by BBC3 but never shown thanks to religious bullying? In our “Airings” slot, Stephen Blake revisits what he calls “one of the most hilarious, outrageous, controversial and addictive cartoon series ever made”.
The cartoon’s page features another of the highly popular Jesus and Mo series plus more of the work of well-known cartoonist Peter Welleman whose work features on this month’s cover.
And, continuing the slightly lighter note, Steven Dean goes green – well, sort of!
So we hope you enjoy the magazine, and let us know your thoughts. Whatever you think, we want to hear from you.
As usual, the May issue of G&LH is available at: www.gayandlesbianhumanist.org
If you missed any of our previous online editions, they are still there to be read in our archive.
“Great to see you’re back. This beats any other resurrection (Lazarus? Eat your heart out!) … Here’s to happy godless future where people matter more than popes and their like. Every power to your elbows!” – Claire Rayner.