The other theme that has been occupying a surprising amount of my time this month has been the Winter Olympics. Like many people, I was opposed to Russia holding this event, because of the state sponsored homophobia and violence that is evident there. The sports presenter Clare Balding was under pressure not to go to Russia. She issued a statement saying that she thought her presence as an out lesbian would be a stronger message than staying away. She also encouraged viewers to look out for protests from athletes and spectators alike. As I watched endless hours of snowboarding, skiing and anything else, I started to notice things. Gloves with different coloured fingers, a man at the top of the ski slope wearing rainbow earmuffs and so on. Maybe these were just random coincidences. Maybe the rainbow fingered gloves were just seen as pretty by the person wearing them. Or maybe, just like the passages in scripture that we have been studying, they were little glimmers of queerness in a world of heterosexual control.
Not so long ago, few voices would have been raised against the homophobia that is so evident in Russia. This month Google, Channel 4 and other companies have incorporated the rainbow flag into their own logo or in coverage of these Olympics in support of LGBT rights. Not long ago, most Christians would have said the Bible condemned homosexuality. Now, more and more Christians recognise that scripture does not condemn same sex relationships. The Bible hasn’t changed, our understanding has.