I wish I could fully engage Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith with an enthusiastic reception from all of my friends.
But I know friends who have passionate differences on the meaning of embodiedness, sexuality, chastity, celibacy, and love. My feminist friends see men in authority have used chastity as a tool of power against women for centuries. I have gay friends who believe same sex marriage is a gift from God. I also know friends who have fierce convictions about celibacy adhering to a traditional sexual ethic. Then, there are friends who believe mutual consent is a higher value than celibacy.
So there is no way I can explore the riches of Tushnet’s new book without diving into the politics of contemporary love as it were. Some of my LGBT friends supporting equality in marriage will have strong reactions to Tushnet’s book. They will consider her commitment to a traditional sexual ethic to be naïve and oppressive. Some other friends are excited about her book.
But I know progressives who see the fullness of God in gay marriage and celibacy. David Jensen, in his recent book, God, Desire, and a Theology of Human Sexuality is one example. He presents a common misunderstanding of celibacy:
One misunderstanding of celibacy is that it represents the absence or frustration of sexual desire, that it points to a unique gift that is comparatively rare in persons, akin to asexuality. To the contrary, the witness of celibates is quite desirous. Instead of the absence of sexuality, celibacy is an expression of sexuality, an expression that refuses to reduce eros to sex.