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Faith’s Queer Pleasures: The Post-Civil Rights Politics of Race, Sexuality, and Christian Identity Open Access

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"Faith’s Queer Pleasures" studies the politics of Christian Identity in the post-civil-rights era to examine the silences and erasures that perpetuate the belief that people of faith are not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and that LGBT people are not people of faith. It also shows that silences and erasures have also made it possible for Christian segregationists and Christian civil rights activists to plausibly appeal to the same religious tradition. My dissertation, "Faith’s Queer Pleasures: The Post-Civil Rights Politics of Race, Sexuality and Christian Identity," therefore argues that Christian identity references no single moral position. Rather, Christianity derives its meaning from the dominant or normative condition that its believers seek to effect. The point of "Faith’s Queer Pleasures" is not to deny the truth of sincere religious conviction. Nor to suggest that religion-based biases are historically identical. Rather, it is to attend to the fact that religion functions identically to multiple and oppositional political ends. Although the project analyzes the activism of lesbian and gay Christians, I do not argue that Christian belief, identity, and practice were socially and politically liberatory in themselves. Rather, as tools they provided ways to press the boundaries of what it meant to be Christian and homosexual. Each chapter examines the indeterminateness of Christianity – that is, the fact that Christianity means different things to different people, that its meaning is conditioned by what it is asserted in relation to, and that we can better understand what religion means by simultaneously examining its intersection with race and sexuality and the social change people are working to achieve.

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