Gays in the military: Ever heard of … “fundasexuals”?


Man preaching into microphone
he question of gays serving openly in the military is, in many ways, a peculiarly American issue.

Most Western societies permit homosexuals to serve in their militaries. All members of the European Union, save Greece, permit gays to serve openly in the armed forces. The U.S. finds itself grouped with Russia and China as three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that prohibit gays from serving openly. The other two—Britain and France—permit it. (Here’s more on international variances from Wikipedia.)


Where does the opposition—even animosity—come from? Could it be the “fundasexuals”?

“Fundasexuality” is a term Brian McLaren coined to describe “a reactive, combative brand of religious fundamentalism that preoccupies itself with sexuality. The term does not apply to the quiet, pious, respectful fundamentalism of straightforward, sincere people, but rather to the organizing, angry, dominating fundamentalism that declares war on those who differ.”

McLaren is a pastor, speaker, and author—these quotes come from his just-released book, “A New Kind of Christianity.” ReadTheSpirit has an interview with McLaren, if you’d care to read more about the overall book—but here’s a sample of how McLaren writes about this specific term: “Fundasexuality is rooted not in faith, but in an orientation of fear. Its proponents fear new ideas, people who are different, criticism or rejection from their own community, and God’s violent wrath on them if they don’t fully conform to and enforce the teaching and interpretations of their popular teachers and other authority figures.”

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people are the fundasexuals’ target—their sexual scapegoat—for displaced aggression, frustration, and hostility. This, no doubt, is the kind of anti-homosexual Christianity that repels young people, as we’ve noted this week with generational differences and the findings of “UnChristian.” (Scroll down to read our earlier posts this week.)

Beyond scapegoating, McLaren argues that fundasexuality is a symptom of a Christianity that is trying to come to terms with a changing world, one that includes scientific revelations about human sexuality that challenge conventional views. “Our preoccupation with sexuality,” he writes, “is a symptom of our growing discomfort with the conventional answers to religious questions.”

Do you think McLaren has a point? Does the concept of “fundasexuality” ring true, or is it just a new buzzword?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email