Queer Hymns

October 29, 2019

Hymn Society Releases “Queer Hymns” for LGBTQIA2S+

A collection comprised of nearly 50 “queer hymns” has been recently published by an ecumenical non-profit association that seeks to promote congregational singing.

Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community was released in July by the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

Anglican Journal, the publication of the Anglican Church of Canada, publicized the songs, which were promptly shared online by the U.S.-based Episcopal Church. Both of the neighboring churches regularly promote LGBT causes throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion, but some of the hymns trample on a number of core Christian teachings, in addition to revisionist gender identity and human sexuality.

Among the offered musical compositions are: “A Hymn for Self-Acceptance”, “God Calls You Good”, “God of Queer Transgressive Spaces” and “The Kingdom of God is the Queerest of Nations”.

Many of the songs promise indiscriminate inclusion regardless of personal choices, praise alphabet-soup sexuality as part of God’s intended design, and conflate romantic love with brotherly or familial love.

The entire collection is viewable in PDF form here.

Anglican Journal frames the release of the hymns immediately following the July General Synod in which Canadian Anglicans narrowly defeated an amendment to the marriage canon that would have recognized same-sex marriage. Many Canadian Anglican churches already participate in same-sex rites (the Diocese of Toronto has a bishop in a same-sex union) but the church’s canon law defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Praise for the new music is offered by an Anglican church music director from Ontario “who identifies as gender-non-conforming, queer and asexual.”

“Don’t let the doctrines of our churches use the Word to misconstrue,” A Hymn for Self-Acceptance reads, “for it’s written in the scriptures, surely God delights in you!”

Some of the hymns call into question whom the object of praise is; many feature self-lionizing language. The hymn Alchemy of Healing does not mention God, instead praising courage and strength as the singer offers blessing.

We’ll Build a World similarly proclaims a utopia brought about by human means: “together hand in hand, we’ll create that promised land.”

Still other hymns focus upon gender fluid identity.

“Our genders may seem fixed, but even these may change as we find beauty in-between that may at first seem strange,” reads the hymn As Colors in the Sky. Another hymn, God Loves Us in Mysterious Ways groups gender alongside class and race as “deep, confining tombs.” The gender-bending is transposed upon God himself: “God of many genders, our world reflects you,” reads God of Many Faces.

Some of the hymns embrace mind-body dualism, “Shedding Clouds of flesh and gender,” begins one stanza of God of Queer Transgressive Spaces.

Some of the most cringe-worthy hymns do not specifically mention sexuality, but offer bland indiscriminate affirmation. The syrupy God Calls You Good directly conflicts with scriptural admonitions that “no one does good, not even one.”

One hymn, Pour Your Freedom Over Me, makes no mention of God but reads like something from a Robert Jeffress flag-draped worship of America: “Hand in hand let’s make a chain, and together proclaim, Land of the brave, home of the free, Pour your freedom over me,” it reads.

Not all of the hymns are cotton candy fluff: Christ Our Health, originally composed in 1984 for those afflicted with AIDS, identifies Christ as the root of victory. Use of words like contagion, infection and immunity seem forced (especially when describing Christ) but there are genuinely good lines: “Christ for now and Christ for ages, Christ who lives in plague and pain, Chris upon a cross courageous, Christ who died shall forever reign,” reads one stanza.


23 Responses to Hymn Society Releases “Queer Hymns” for LGBTQIA2S+

  1. Steve says:

    They Hymn Society does not appear to be as significant as its name and logo suggest. Checking out their webpage, this appears to be the only collection of hymns ever published by this organization. As regards other alleged publications, I do see a small collection of what they call research papers they’d done going back to the 1930s. Seems like there’s lots of reasons for clergy to avoid this collection but based on past experience not getting my hopes up.

    • Steve says:

      Having poked around their webpage a bit, I see where they have another collection called Hymns in Times of Crisis. Google suggests it may have been released in 2017 (maybe the “crisis” was the election of Trump?). Just like the LGBT collection, you have to give them your email to get a link to the crisis collection. They also show pictures of a couple hymnal supplements entitled Voices United, African American Heritage Hymnal and Flor y Canto, none of which appear to be Hymnal Society publications. As regards their “papers”, they have links to 35 random papers that Google happened to scan from libraries; the Society hasn’t bothered to provide the titles with the links (they just numbered them). Not everything is sketchy: they have published a periodical called The Hymn since 1949, and have indexes of the articles for the same.

  2. David says:

    Congregational singing has been in decline for many years now. Contemporary services often consist of standing in silence with your arms in the air while a vocalist belts out a very non traditional piece. One can find exceptions such as at the Great Auditorium services in Ocean Grove, NJ. Denominations often offer approved hymns and I suspect many are guided by these recommendations.

    • Jeff says:

      Congregational singing was in sharp decline long before contemporary worship was a thing. In fact, many contemporary services were started BECAUSE attendance and excitement for “traditional worship” had vanished. I say to each his own in terms of worship style. As long as it is theologically sound and biblically centered. But this was an odd article/comment section for you to choose to bring out your soap box about YOUR preferred style.

  3. Thank-you, but no.  I will stick with hymnals that extol the God of the Bible, such as the Trinity Hymnal (https://hymnary.org/hymnal/TH1990), which my church uses, rather than use a hymnal that lavishes praise upon worthless idols.

  4. Rev. Dr. Lee Cary (ret U M clergy) says:

    Coming Soon: Excerpts from New LGBTQAI2S+*# Bible Study series for transgender youth

    Ages 2-6: Jesus said “Let the little children come to me whose parents have them confused about their gender identity.”

    Ages 7-11: Peter said, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow up in your salvation from having to decide whether or not to use the Boys’ or the Girls’ bathroom at school. Just go wherever you want. “

    Ages 12-16: (And this powerful Proverb) “Listen my son to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching, and if one says you’re a girl and the other says you’re a boy, let the Court of the Sadducees sort it out.

    • Carl Fuglein says:

      You just made my day. I should tell you that I was a (cisgendered) male youth minister who loved all my LGBTQIA2S+ kids. I called them all, “kids”.

      Actually, I lied. I don’t think I had any QIA2S+ kids. I DID, however, have at least 1 of each LGBT. We didn’t have any QIA2S+ kids back in the day.

  5. Penny says:

    I am totally unable to comprehend this kind of “lost.”

  6. Carl Fuglein says:

    I’m sorry, people, but this is just becoming all too silly to me. I know everyone will now send me death threats and call me a homophobe, transphobe, racist, classist jerk, but I’m actually just an old fat guy that loves everybody, and I don’t care.

    • Joan Sibbald says:

      Carl, listen, evil is not silly. We are witnessing evil as Satan moves across America, Canada and Europe holding the LGBTPPFS&MPQ.. banner.

      I read recently where the American Libraries Assoc. is allowing drag queens to read to children at story hour, one by one schools are allowing drag queens to come and speak to children, and, now, Satan’s church’s are rewriting God’s Word to embrace him.

      Each Christian must stand firmly against evil. Sadly, too many believers shut their eyes. Please don’t do that.

    • Charles Klink says:

      Thank you. Whatever happened to welcoming ALL persons to worship without having to question/quiz the persons?! I didn’t like nametags and now I don’t like declarations of sexual orientation to be welcomed … just preach Christ crucified and resurrected and let the Holy Spirit do its job!!

  7. Hank Scheffer says:

    The lgbtq, community labels us TRUE Methodists as haters. Nothing could be further from the truth. We love the people; it’s the sin we hate. I have talked to many people who have come out of the lgbtq lifestyle, and each has said it’s a choice, not a birth defect. God’s free will allows their choice, but He also gave them His Word to guide them. I haven’t read anything to support their viewpoint. They are welcome in our church, but like every other sinner, (including me), they will hear what the word says about sin.

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      Hank, the First Rule of Responding to the Personal Smears of Progressives, regardless of the venue, is this:

      Do not accept the premise of their claim by countering with a rational argument.

  8. David II says:

    Am I write in suspecting on the basis of the metrical quotations here that these have recommended existing tunes (and perhaps others of the same metre, as with many a hymnbook)?

  9. Tracy says:

    The purpose of worship music is to praise, worship and honor God. It appears the intent of the so called music is to honor people and their lifestyle. We are not our actions, nor or we our sin and should not seek to honor ourselves, but God. Read your Bible to see what happens when people fail to honor God and praise themselves and their thinking, above God. We are not to honor or worship anyone other than God.

  10. Re. Randall says:

    I get The bashing of contemporary worship, but I prefer the scripture songs from the 1970’s over wording like “a mighty bulwark” and “I raise my ebenezer.”
    I like To sing Psalm 97:9… “for Thou oh Lord art high, above all the earth. Thou art exalted far above all Gods.”
    The standard hymns are mostly theology lessons from white European men from the earlier centuries. Who knows what a bulwark or an ebenezer is?
    But we can sing scriptures and thereby memorize them at the same time. Oh wait, but that’s choruses, not hymns.

    • Steve says:

      And I get the racism and sexism in your bashing of European males.
      I tend to think most people know what a bulwark is. Google defines it as “a protective wall”. You know, like the walls of a fort, a levee, or as the hymn suggests, God himself. Before you object that God is not literally a wall, Peter wasn’t literally a rock, either.
      I never heard that thing “raise my Ebenezer” before; Google search reveals the following biblical quote:
      “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. (1 Samuel 7:12–13)”
      So we learned something. Learning is not something to be avoided.

  11. Theodore says:

    Such calling evil good and encouraging others to due the same. How shameful especially within a church.

  12. Lee D. Cary says:

    New Hymn Suggestion: To appeal to the “T” folks in LGBTQ, hymnists need only alter a few of the words of Grover Washington’s once popular song “Just the two of us, we can make it we try” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOuI4OqJfQc), beginning with changing “two” to “three.”

  13. Charles Bodnar says:

    The scriptures say that ( Romans)”after they had taken pleasure in their doings the Lord gave them a REPROBATE mind. The word reprobate means a state of confusion or the inability to think clearly or logically. Unless this LGBTQIA2JUSTSOSTUPID is not rolled back it will sweep across this country and destroy everything that is wholesome and decent. Am I frightened you bet I am. I’m frightened for my grand kids and great grand kids who will grow up in a world where they will be taught such foolishness. ” In their wisdom they became fools”. God help us all.

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