Why has the Right's anti-gay agenda been so successful in galvanizing a broad spectrum of Christians to political action? Why have the issues of gay ordination and gay marriage come to dominate liberal Christian discussions of sexuality? What questions about sexual orientation, sexual ethics, and Christian community are not being asked as a result?
Sex and the Church is a groundbreaking book that brings lesbian and gay theory and experience to bear on questions of sexuality and its relationship to Christian life. Ethicist Kathy Rudy begins by showing how the Christian right's campaign for "family values" has profoundly shaped American debates about gender and sexuality, and how mainline Protestant denominations have responded by focusing narrowly on questions of inclusion and exclusion, rights and privileges for lesbians and gay men. She then moves the debate onto a new level, drawing on queer theory and the lives of gay and lesbian Christians to answer new questions: Are gender and sexual orientation categories by which we should define ourselves and judge each other? Is the nuclear family the best site for Christian commitment? What is the purpose of sex, and what does it have to do with God? And what kind of intimate relationships best contribute to the formation of Christian community? Rudy concludes by proposing a new Christian sexual ethic that adapts the ancient notions of unitivity and procreativity to the church of today.
This provocative work offers a powerful vision of a renewed Christian community, open to all.