cover image God vs. Gay? 
The Religious Case for Equality

God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality

Jay Michaelson. Beacon, $25.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0159-2

Michaelson, biblical scholar and founder of the Jewish GLBT organization Nehirim, makes the case that God-versus-gay is a lie. Not only is there no conflict between being gay and being religious, but also the core values of Judaism and Christianity demand that GLBT individuals be respected and welcomed. In the first and last thirds of the work, Michaelson explores those core values and anticipates the benefits of making religion less hostile to homosexuality. While well-reasoned, added depth and length would make his claims more persuasive. The central third of his book shows why the biblical verses commonly used to attack homosexuality should not be understood that way. Although this material has been more convincingly presented elsewhere, having it alongside the other two parts of the work underscores why gay-friendly scripture readings should be more compelling. The audience for the book remains unclear; sometimes Michaelson addresses GLBT individuals, sometimes allies, and sometimes opponents of legal equality. This scattering keeps the book from providing much concrete advice. As a salvo in the case for equality, however, it shows how to reframe the debate and stop seeing a chasm between God and gay. (Oct.)