Following Sally’s wonderful introduction which emphasised the emotional spaces and possibilities of queer spiritualities, this chapter turns our attention to the literature on religion/spirituality, as it intersects with, in the main, lesbian and gay identities, practices and lives. Religious communities have been criticised, and at times vilified, for their resistance to progressive change in recognising sexual difference, rights, and equality, which is increasingly evident in secular institutions and spaces. There is indeed much truth in the dominant view that organised religions lag behind the secular sphere in embracing sexual diversity as a social reality. Nonetheless there is no denying that since 1960s – in the West at least – LGBTQI (but particularly lesbian and gay) people within religious communities have experienced increasing social visibility and political clout. Four factors contribute to this: broader socio-cultural shifts that promote sexual liberalism; progressive legislative reform; increasing sophistication and effectiveness of secular and religious/spiritual lesbian and gay politics; and
proliferation of scholarly research, particularly in theology, scriptural studies, and the social sciences, albeit with a heavy focus on Christianity.