Modern religious life often operates without the formal direction of religious organizations. The cultural commodification of religion means that religious symbolization, including ritual, is available widely and no longer only exclusively from or through religious institutions or organizations. Today, several gay, lesbian, transgender and queer people have experienced spirituality and spiritual guidance within several religious practices and expressions outside of western religious institutions and organizations. I think one of the main reasons why LGBT people are branching off into their own religions/expressions is to escape institutional religious persecution and to reclaim their identity as spiritual individuals on their own terms.
Within religious institutions, some people will read the bible, or go to church, or listen to somebody else’s advice and they won’t necessarily “connect” with it. They will be a little confused and uneasy because there are so many rules and things they have to abide by, that they may not always agree with. In Mary Neitz’s essay, Queering the Dragonfest, she described the “pagan religion” of Wicca. Paganism is an umbrella term for all of the religions that are not like those of the main world religions, or not Abrahamic, like: Sikhism, Druidism, and Wicca. The religion Wicca has no heaven, hell, evil or one set god. Everything is a balance and all people including LGBT are welcomed to practice their own ideas of spirituality. Within Wicca they see the sun and the moon as the idea of their god and goddess (male/female) energy. It is up to the individual to associate the sun and moon as the god or goddess. Though, Neitz states that through Wicca there is more of “heteronormative” vibe.
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...eel that, yes people can experience spirituality outside of religious institutions, but still can encounter some sort of persecution or uncomfort within their own expressions of spirituality.
My study of Queer Religiosity has informed my emphasis of the power of religion. I learned a lot in the period of this course. I learned more about different religions and cultures outside of my own. I had no information or learnings of queer religiosities at all. I took this course to further my understanding of the LGBT community. I never talked or researched about the issues within the LGBT community or the issues found in what churches proclaim about LGBT people and homosexuality. I think the only thing that I will do with what I have learned in this course is to educate, educate those like me who were innocently ignorant to learning about the LGBT people and community.
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