Joseph Farah is none too pleased with the American Academy of Religion, whose Gay Men’s Issues in Religion Group has been brought to his attention by Presbyterian New Testament scholar Robert A. J. Gagnon. Farah describes Gagnon as a “whistleblower”, and reveals the shocking existence of this group a mere fourteen years after it published its first collection of papers. Farah, cutting and pasting at length from Gagnon’s website, describes some of the papers on offer at the latest AAR conference (paragraphs run together to save space):

Workshops will include a session with the theme “Power and Submission, Pain and Pleasure: The Religious Dynamics of Sadomasochism.” Another session presents arguments for transvestism and transsexualism in Christian theology…An abstract on the “Power and Submission” session says “sadomasochistic or bondage/dominance practice (sometimes also referred to as ‘leather sexuality’)…offers a particularly potent location for reflecting on gay men’s issues in religion.”…Ken Stone of Chicago Theological Seminary says a passage from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 20, verses 7-18, “can be construed more usefully as a kind of ritual S/M encounter between the male deity Yahweh and his male devotee.”… The Sunday session of the Gay Men’s Issues in Religion Group devotes time to transvestitism.

The outrage goes on and on, and even spills into a second article, where Farah christens the scholars Prophets of Baal. Apparently Christianity is completely straight, so the AAR should have no business considering any kind of religious discourse that says otherwise. Gagnon himself inokes the brilliantly original image of a “slippery slope”, and suggests the group really wants to indulge in paedophilia.