Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Laura Browder

Second Advisor

David Coogan

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Hodges

Fourth Advisor

Lynda Weaver-Williams


Drawing from observation, autoethnography, ethnographic research and audio-taped interviews, this thesis explores the complicated and emotionally charged relationship between homosexuality and Christianity. The current culture war being waged in the media between the Religious Right and members of the LGBT community often results in the isolation and rejection of those who would define themselves as gay Christians. This thesis explores the role of the Bible as it informs and catalyzes this war and other foundational beliefs used as weapons in this rhetorical conflict. Additionally, this thesis analyzes the current battle between the church and the social movement for change in light of the historical battles fought over similar movements. The rhetoric of Christianity, specifically Fundamentalist rhetoric, has been emphatically defended and then dramatically changed in every such battle. Is this a possible resolution for today’s current battle? The thesis explores the historical basis and current application of rhetorical effects on this conflict through the author’s insight as a veteran of both worlds, interviews with major players in the battle such as Randy Thomas and Kristin Tremba of Exodus International and interviews with people who step on the battlefield everyday as pastors, congregants or observers in the fight. With each interview or rhetorical analysis, the viability of dialogue between these two groups is questioned and investigated.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010