Journal Article

Catholics and Atheists: A Cross-Cultural Qualitative Analysis of Religious Identities among Gay Men

Hubert Izienicki

in Sociology of Religion

Volume 78, issue 3 Published in print September 2017 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online April 2017 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srx011
Catholics and Atheists: A Cross-Cultural Qualitative Analysis of Religious Identities among Gay Men

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Abstract

In parallel bodies of research, scholars have explored the relationship between religion, immigration, and sexuality, either by investigating the effects of immigration on the religious practice or its effect on sexual minorities’ relationship with organized religion. This study bridges these two literatures and examines how immigration affects the religious identities of two groups of Polish gay men—one from Warsaw, Poland, and the other from Chicago, USA. Based on 53 in-depth interviews, it demonstrates how the larger religious environments in the two countries conditions respondents’ individual stances toward religion. The religious environment in predominately Catholic Poland is hostile toward homosexuals, compelling gay respondents who are critical of the Church to choose sides and adopt atheist or agnostic identities. In contrast, the gay respondents in Chicago find themselves in a religiously pluralistic and immigrant society, which allows them to retain their religious tradition and Catholic identity alongside their identity as gay men.

Keywords: immigration; sexuality; Polish; identity; pluralism

Journal Article.  12365 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Social Research and Statistics ; Sociology of Religion

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