Slouching towards Gaytheism

Christianity and Queer Survival in America

By W. C. Harris

Subjects: Queer Studies, Religion, Cultural Studies, American Studies
Series: SUNY series in Queer Politics and Cultures
Paperback : 9781438451121, 277 pages, April 2014
Hardcover : 9781438451114, 277 pages, April 2014

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Table of contents

Introduction: Where Gays Lie
1. “The End of the Rainbow, My Pot of Gold”: The Queer Erotics of Purity Balls and Christian Abstinence Culture
2. Breeding Fraternities: Ex-Gay Ministries, Barebacking, and Alternative Models of Relation
3. Jesus Needs Gays, Yes He Does: Gay Religion, Queer Spirituality, and the Recalcitrance of Ideology
4. Slouching toward Gaytheism: Gay Suicide, “It Gets Better,” and Religion’s Stranglehold on Queer Survival
Conclusion: Before the Cock Crows
Works Cited

Argues that homophobia will not be eradicated in the United States until religion is ended.


Slouching towards Gaytheism brings together two intellectual traditions—the New Atheism and queer theory—and moves beyond them to offer a new voice for gay Americans and atheists alike. Examining the continued vehemence of homophobia in cultural and political debate regarding queer equality, this unabashed polemic insists that the needs met by religion might be met—more safely and less toxically—by forms of community that do not harass and malign gay and lesbian Americans or impede collective social progress. W. C. Harris argues that compromises with traditional religion, no matter how enlightened or well intentioned, will ultimately leave heteronormativity alive and well. He explores a range of recent movements, such as Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project, reparative "ex-gay" therapy, Christian purity culture, and attempts by liberal Christians to reconcile religion with homosexuality, and shows how these proposed solutions are either inadequate or positively dangerous. According to the author, the time has come for "gaytheism": leaving religion behind in order to preserve queer dignity, rights, and lives.

W. C. Harris is Professor of English at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Queer Externalities: Hazardous Encounters in American Culture, also published by SUNY Press, and E Pluribus Unum: Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Constitutional Paradox.


"Harris offers a necessary, compelling, and comprehensive study about the incompatibility of queerness and religion … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE

"Lively, original, and serious, this book is great fun to read. One looks forward to how Professor Harris will skewer the next foe. " — Paul Robinson, author of Queer Wars: The New Gay Right and Its Critics