The article that my group read for class last week on Thursday was “Gospel Hour,” which we presented to the class. It was about a gay bar in Atlanta where performers in drag would put on gospel songs with choir from a local church. This blend of evangelical Christianity with the LGBT community was an interesting instance of highly individualized religion, and an example of spirituality. Something that I found interesting was that not only did the participants of the service claim that Christianity was often hostile and derogatory towards members of the LGBT community, but that LGBT people who were Christian felt that they could not openly discuss their faith within their own community. This was surprising to me because as an outsider to both of these communities, I expected that the LGBT community would be more inclusive, especially members within the deeply religious South. However, it does make sense, because of the rhetoric used by many conservative Evangelicals with their interpretations of the Bible. It seems as though both groups’ overall disdain and animosity towards one another are the driving force behind this amalgamation of two countercultures. It allows both groups to express their religiosity without fear of judgment or negative reaction from their peers.
Some observers at first reacted negatively towards the Gospel Hour, claiming it was sacrilegious or anti Christian. However, when they are claiming it to be that, it seems that they are actually denouncing all forms of personalizing religion, thus, implying that adapting religion and applying it to individualized or personalized situations, is wrong. Obviously that is the job of priests and rabbis already, to help bring religion into the lives of the members of their congregations, so it seems hypocritical to claim that just because they happen to not relate to the performance.