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social sciences

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Gomes, Peter (1942-2011)  
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Gomes neither sought nor expected to become known as "the gay preacher" as a result of coming out; nor did he define himself that way. His interests as a minister and theologian were varied, as reflected in his teaching and his writing. In 2002 he wrote The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need, in which he offers readers food for thought as they go on "the search for noble purpose" that will not only make their own lives more fulfilling but also contribute to a better and more just society.

Gomes also published Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living (2003), a collection of his sermons on a wide range of topics, including the significance of various days and seasons of the liturgical calendar.

Sponsor Message.

If Gomes did not intend to be "the gay preacher," neither did he shy away from the opportunity that the role presented to him. He used his eloquent voice to speak to and about glbtq people, always with the message of the need for equality.

In a 2004 op-ed piece in the Boston Globe on the subject of same-sex marriage, Gomes wrote that if Massachusetts denied gay and lesbian couples the right to wed, "nothing will be done to save marriage, and yet in the name of doing so, incalculable, retrogressive, and even punitive damage will be done to those of our fellow citizens who under the civil law crave the legitimization of their loving relationships."

He further noted that "the way to the future is always paved by extending, not restricting, liberties, especially to those who heretofore have been excluded. The health of a republic may well be determined by its capacity to adapt itself to the extension of its own privileges and responsibilities to those whom it would be easy by custom or conviction to ignore."

An Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, England, where the Gomes Lectureship was established in his honor, Gomes received more than 30 honorary degrees. He served as trustee of Bates College and the National Cathedral School, and served as acting director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African-American Research at Harvard.

Gomes died on February 28, 2011 in Boston, the result of complications of a stroke.

Linda Rapp

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literature >> Overview:  The Bible

Perhaps no other book has been more influential--for better or worse--in determining the construction of gay and lesbian identity in the modern world, as well as social attitudes toward homosexuality, than the Bible.

social sciences >> Overview:  Evangelical Christians

Evangelical Christians, who tend to be fundamentalists and socially conservative, have not been welcoming to glbtq people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sodom

Sodom is a city mentioned in the bible as having been destroyed by god in a rain of brimstone and fire for the "sin" of its inhabitants, traditionally thought to have been male homosexual intercourse.

social sciences >> Overview:  Southern Baptists

The Southern Baptists have become the most intolerant of the major American religious denominations, especially (but not exclusively) for their opposition to equal rights for gay men and lesbians.

social sciences >> Bean, Carl

Carl Bean, founder of Unity Fellowship Church, gave up a promising entertainment career to pursue his vocation as a clergyman to minister to glbtq Christians of color.

social sciences >> Carver, George Washington

Best known for his research on peanuts, agronomist and educator George Washington Carver become a cultural icon as the "Wizard of Tuskegee," but at the cost of hiding his homosexuality.

social sciences >> Hawkes, Brent

Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, the Reverend Doctor Brent Hawkes has worked with fervor and dedication to secure equal rights for glbtq Canadians.

social sciences >> Judge, Father Mychal

Father Mychal Judge, who died in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, devoted his life to the care and service of others, including those marginalized by society.

social sciences >> Patristic Writers

Patristic Writers, also known as the Church Fathers, appropriated currents of hostility to homoeroticism in pagan thought and used them to strengthen the prohibitions of Leviticus and Paul, while also expressing their own hostile interpretations.

social sciences >> Paul, St.

Verses from two epistles of the Apostle Paul shaped the attitudes of Christianity toward male and female homosexuality.

social sciences >> Perry, Troy

Troy Perry is the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Protestant denomination devoted to ministering to the spiritual needs of glbtq people.

social sciences >> Robinson, V. Gene

The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be consecrated a bishop of the Episcopal Church, has earned strong support from members of his diocese, but has become a lightning rod for conservatives within the Anglican Communion.


Boynton, Robert S. "God and Harvard: A Profile of Rev. Peter Gomes." The New Yorker (November 11, 1996):

Gomes, Peter J. "For Massachusetts, a Chance and a Choice." Boston Globe (February 8, 2004): H11.

______. The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart. New York: Avon Books, 1996.

Jordan, Mary. "A Chaplain Comes Out Swinging." Washington Post (August 15, 1992): F1.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Gomes, Peter  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated March 1, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  


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