God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality

Published October, 2011 from Beacon Press.

To purchase God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality on Amazon, click here.

The myth that the Bible forbids homosexuality — the myth of “God versus Gay” — is behind some of the most divisive and painful conflicts of our day.   In this courageous, erudite, and game-changing book, scholar and activist Jay Michaelson shows that not only does the Bible not prohibit same-sex intimacy, the vast majority of its teachings support the full equality and dignity of gay and lesbian people, from the first flaw it finds in creation (“It is not good for a person to be alone”) to the way religious communities grow through reflection and conscience.  In short, Michaelson says, religious people should support equality for gays and lesbians not despite their religion — but because of it.

With close readings of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the latest data on the science of sexual orientation, and a sympathetic, accessible, and ecumenical approach to religious faith, Michaelson makes the case that sexual diversity is part of the beauty of nature, and that the recognition of same-sex families will strengthen, not threaten, the values religious people hold dear.  This is an important book for anyone who has wrestled with questions of religion and homosexuality: parents and pastors, believers and skeptics, advocates of “gay rights” and opponents of them.  Whatever your views on religion and sexual diversity, God vs. Gay is a plea for a more compassionate, informed conversation – and a first step toward creating one.




Village Voice (Michael Musto)  “I always thought the Bible could be interpreted as a tool of good, not randomly translated to favor hate and oppression.”

New Voices (John “The Godblogger” Wofford)

Lambda Literary (Thom Nickels)  Michaelson “writes with a graceful conviction, without the tinge of prejudice or a harsh axe to grind.”

Publisher’s Weekly “A salvo in the case for equality”

Library Journal (James DeRoche) “This title is very much worth reading and particularly useful for those interested in religion, civil rights, and social progress.”

Booklist (Ray Olson) “A literate, broadly informed argument”

What People Are Saying

“For too long, religious voices have been on only one side of the gay rights argument — to all of our detriment.  Jay Michaelson is one of the leading LGBT religious voices in America right now, and I cannot think of a more timely book than this one.  This is a book for anyone, gay or straight, who seeks to reconcile their faith with the lives of gay people — not by apologizing, compromising, or closeting one’s sexuality or one’s faith, but by celebrating God’s gifts of diversity and love.  If you are such a person, it literally could change your life.  Even if you aren’t, it might just change the world.”    – Rabbi Michael Lerner, chief editor, Tikkun, and author, The Left Hand of God

“Jay Michaelson charts a journey from rejection to full acceptance,  from religious alienation to spiritually wholeness that will brings the reader closer to the Divine. It did for me and it will for anyone who has felt abandoned by their faith and rejected for who they are. This is a healing book that yearns to be read.”  – Sharon Groves, PhD, Director, Human Rights Campaign Faith & Religion Program

“Michaelson looks at the Hebrew and Christian Bible with keen intellect, wit, and often surprising insights. He roots his arguments not in dry exegesis but in hard-won self-acceptance and passionate concern for others. I highly recommended ‘God vs. Gay?’ for anyone seeking to understand how being homosexual and religious are not antithetical.”
Joe Perez, author of Soulfully Gay

Excerpts and Related Material


The Tea Party are Sodomites, February 14, 2011 in Religion Dispatches A close reading of the Biblical story of Sodom and its interpretation, a different version of which is part of chapter 8 of God vs. Gay?

Should Gays and Lesbians Argue Scripture? A Dialogue January 18, 2011 in Religion DIspatches.  A dialogue with Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, author of Bulletproof Faith.

Values Added: Sex and the BibleAugust 02, 2010 in Bloggingheads.tv.  Conversation with Professor David Carr on sexual ethics in the Bible.

Does the Bible Really Call Homosexuality an “Abomination”?July 01, 2010 in Religion Dispatches Discussion of the Hebrew word toevah, often mistranslated “abomination.”  Now part of chapter 7 of God vs. Gay?

Ten Reasons Gay Rights is a Religious IssueJuly 15, 2010 in Tikkun.  Why religious people should support “gay rights” because of religion, not despite it.