Conservative Christians' opposition to homosexuality is not an

 ancient teaching

The newly formed "Diocese of the Southern Cross" has broken away from the Anglican Church of Australia to form a denomination committed to a highly conservative position on sexuality and marriage equality.

Global Anglican Futures Conference, the association supporting the breakaway denomination, claim Anglican bishops "were unable to uphold the Bible's ancient teaching on marriage and sexual ethics," making their defection necessary.

Historically, Christian orthodoxy had nothing to do with sexuality. The first time there was a need for Christians to define orthodoxy was in the late third century. Around this time, a renegade priest named Arius began teaching that Jesus Christ was an important human being, but not the divine son of God.

Not only is the claim that sexuality is central to Christian orthodoxy dubious, but it's not certain same-sex sexuality has always been condemned by the church. Bible scholars such as William Loader and Heather R. White call into question the interpretation of Biblical passages that conservative Christians claim exclude same-sex sexuality.

Historians like John Boswell, Judith C. Brown and Mark D. Jordan have shown that while same-sex sexuality was at times prohibited, at other times it was tolerated and even celebrated over the course of Christian history.

So the argument that sexuality has always been central to Christian orthodoxy is shaky. Yet, it seems that for some conservative Christians, this view of sexuality has become more important than doctrines that really are central to orthodoxy, traditionally understood.

Foucault called this "discourse," which for him had a broader meaning than our everyday usage. He argued discourse was more than words or discussion on a topic. Discourse includes that, but also the practises, language, techniques and overall conditions that produce the acceptable "truth" in relation to something.

In The History of Sexuality, Foucault argued sexuality was the discourse of sex, or the set of conditions that create the acceptable "truth" concerning sex. Mid-19th-century discourses were observed.

First, sexual practises were classified as healthy, normal, or "treatment-worthy." "Reverse discourse" opposed criminalising homosexuality and promoted sexual freedom.

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