The following is a very interesting article by Dr. Jacqueline Jenkins Keenan about the trajectory the study of human sexuality in the Episcopal Church has taken. Many of her observations align with my own. I went to a liberal arts university with a pretty active GLBT presence, both among students and faculty and can attest to the fact that the “queer studies” (their term, I’m not bashing) folks in the academy talk about homosexuality and gender identification much differently than people in the Church. Honestly I was shocked at the arguments being advanced in the Episcopal Church in favor of blessing same-sex relationships etc… because it was largely based on a genetic determinism I had seen debunked and attacked by liberal, sometimes homosexual professors. I recall making the point that it didn’t seem like the Episcopal Church was really up to date on the current thinking about gender and sexuality in a discussion forum in Seminary–at which point I was berated by a past-middle-aged female seminarian who assured me that after her evidently deep and profound experience of the dialogue in the Episcopal Church, that was simply not the case…in addition to the fact that she was very condescending, she displayed a total ignorance of any thinking about human sexuality except that which has for so long been presented in the press– something I like to call genetic/biological predestination.
Ahh well… so it goes. Enjoy the essay
In the ongoing debate about sexuality The Episcopal Church (TEC) has consistently looked to the medical and scientific community in order to understand human sexuality. This tradition was continued when TEC presented a theological statement in 2005 to the worldwide Anglican Communion in order to explain its consecration of a homosexual bishop in 2003. This theological document, To Set Our Hope on Christ, stated that “Altogether, contemporary studies indicate that same-sex affection has a genetic- biological basis which is shaped in interaction with psycho-social and cultural-historical factors. Sexual orientation remains relatively fixed and generally not subject to change. Continuing studies have confirmed the 1973 decision of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from their diagnostic manual of mental illness.”
Unfortunately, the bibliography that was cited in this document consisted of scientific articles that were written between 1970 and 1995. In fact none of the TEC documents on homosexuality include any studies after 1995. But research on homosexuality has continued, and later studies have produced new data in the areas of genetics, prevalence rates, and mutability of homosexual attraction. These studies also show that data regarding homosexuality in men does not apply to women.