Austin Maynor said he believes the Bible hasn't been the most welcoming book for the LGBTQ+ community. Now, he is aiming to change that.
Maynor is the openly gay director of the Pilgrimage, a recently established progressive student ministry at Binkley Baptist Church. His new Bible study series “Reading With a Queer Eye” flips traditionally exclusionary passages, viewing them through a "queer eye," as it were.
“The Bible, while being truth to me and to most Christians, is a problematic book,” Maynor said. “Our series does not back away from that.”
“Reading With a Queer Eye” meets Tuesday nights at Binkley Baptist Church.
Historically, certain groups have used the Bible to justify plenty of prejudices and bigotry — slavery and homophobia among them. Every week, Maynor and a group of dedicated students meet at the church to discuss one of six Bible verses that they believe have been used to justify hateful behavior, re-evaluating them through a more progressive, LGBTQ+-friendly lens.
“When we reviewed Leviticus, part of the Hebrew Bible, we did not shy away from the fact that, in this way, the Bible is not affirming,” Maynor said. “So when we reach passages like that, that’s where we have to come together in discussion to say, 'OK, how do we respond to that? Is it important that we parallel the scripture?’ And I would argue that it’s not important.”