Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Mark Jennings, The Anglican split: why has sexuality become so important to conservative Christians?
The Conversation, August 29, 2022

The newly formed “Diocese of the Southern Cross” has broken away from the Anglican Church of Australia to form a denomination committed to a highly conservative position on sexuality and marriage equality.

Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON), the association supporting the breakaway denomination, claim Anglican bishops “were unable to uphold the Bible’s ancient teaching on marriage and sexual ethics”, making their defection necessary.

So why is sexuality so important to conservative Christians now?
This leaves us with our initial question unanswered – why is sexuality so important for this group of Christians now?

One answer is to be found in the work of the 20th century French academic Michel Foucault.
In The History of Sexuality, Foucault argued sexuality was the discourse of sex, or the set of conditions that create the acceptable “truth” concerning sex. He observed two such discourses, both emerging in the mid-19th century.

The first was concerned with classifying sexual practices in order to declare some healthy and normal, and others wrong or requiring “treatment”.

The second was a “reverse discourse”, opposed to the criminalisation of homosexuality and promoting sexual freedom.

Conservative Christians tend to align with the first discourse, firmly holding that same-sex sexuality is opposed to God’s “truth” of sex.

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