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Gay in the Eyes of God
May 23, 2013
Weaving personal stories with interpretations of scripture, we explore how America’s major faith traditions are grappling with acceptance of the LGBT community.

Click the 'listen' button above to hear the series as an hour-long special. For station managers: our special is also available through PRX and Content Depot.
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The 'Gay Issue' in Judaism, Islam and Christianity
Open any Torah, Bible or Koran, and the passages about homosexuality seem clear: being gay is an abomination, a sin, something that incurs the wrath of God. It’s right there in the book of Leviticus, the letters of St. Paul, and the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But for some of the traditions that use those holy books, these strict interpretations, and the moral teachings that flow from them, are changing. Today we begin our new series, “Gay in the Eyes of God: How Twelve Traditions View Gay and Lesbian People.” In part one, we discuss the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Our entire series is made possible with the support of the Arcus Foundation.
Pamela Nadell, Professor of Jewish History at American University
Kevin Eckstrom, Editor-in-Chief of Religion News Service
Faisal Alam, Founder of Al-Fatiha
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Homosexuality in the Bible, Torah and Koran
For thousands of years, scholars have interpreted a handful of passages in the Bible, Torah and Koran as clear condemnations of homosexuality. From the “abomination” lines in Leviticus to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, what God commands seems clear. Now, many liberal scholars are putting these passages into a broader context, and finding that what the scripture “says” is misleading.

Rabbi Meir Fund, leader of Congregation Sheves Achim in New York
Jay Michaelson, author of “God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality”
Dale Martin, author of “Sex and a Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation”
Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Director of LGBTQ Outreach at Muslims for Progressive Values
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Rev. Troy Perry, Founder of the 'Gay Church'
It all started on a Sunday afternoon in October, 1968. Twelve people gathered for worship in a living room in Huntington Park, California. It was the first service of its kind – one meant to minister specifically to "homosexual persons". The word “gay” wasn’t even in common use then. This would eventually come to be known as the Metropolitan Community Church. We sit down with the man who presided over that worship service 44 years ago.
Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church
 Credit: cduruk
The Pioneers of Change
The Metropolitan Community Church wasn’t the only gay-friendly church in the early 70s. Around the same time, a small crop of churches and synagogues were openly welcoming gay and lesbians to their pews and clergy, including the Unitarian Universalists, the United Church of Christ, and the Reform and Reconstructionist branches of Judaism.

Rev. Rob Hardies, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC
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Gay and Orthodox
In Orthodox Judaism, to be both actively gay and "frum," or observant, is a theological taboo. Producer Jon Kalish spoke to four Orthodox men and women who are trying to merge their two identities.

Produced by Jon Kalish