Religion and homosexuality have often been at odds. Hollis Meyer, a junior at Piedmont, explored this relationship examining religious teachings in his senior capstone paper, Homosexuality in the Bible and Qu’ran.
“As a gay person and a person of faith, and having grown up in the Deep South, I’ve had many of the texts I study in the paper thrown at me to denigrate my identity. Using my education to reckon with these topics is the best way I know how, and it allows me to funnel my passion into my work.”
Meyer presented his paper at the 2020 Piedmont Symposium, held entirely online on April 15 due to COVID-19. This was a change Meyer had to adjust to.
“It was a novel situation. I had originally prepared to use the Symposium as my presentation time for my philosophy & religion capstone, but I had to change my plans a bit. I provided a .docx for Zoom participants and find a good place to sit that didn’t have clutter but had good connection to the internet.”
In examining homosexuality in the Bible, Meyer found that homosexuality was possibly not what The Bible was referencing, that it was referencing “Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, [and] robbers.”
The Qu’ran, which is an extension of the Old Testament for those of Muslim faith, has similar writings about homosexuality.
Meyer in his research paper said “There is no reason to believe that homosexuality in the time of Paul or for centuries thereafter [was present].”
Dr. Tim Lytle, Meyer’s academic advisor for his presentation, said that under the conditions, Meyer presented good research. “Ordinarily, I would spend a good bit of time in the latter half of the semester working one-on-one with students,” he said, adding that he was unable to that in the same capacity due to the shelter-in-place order.
Although COVID-19 didn’t allow students to meet in person, that did not discourage students from attending. Meyer’s session was packed with more 40 attendees, and he had to take into account for distractions from other students in the Zoom call, and distractions in his home. “Before the pandemic, I was going to print out a few handouts, and present for about 10 minutes and field questions,” he said. “I had to account for ambient noise from participants who hadn’t muted their microphones and the four children I live with. Not to mention our two dogs.”