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Right-wing “Christians” hate gays. They denounce homosexuality as an “abomination.” Many political analysts credit President Bush’s reelection to the “Christians” who stampeded to the polls to vote against gay marriage.
Why the hate? Some mental health experts suggest that people who hate gays may be repressing their own homosexual tendencies. Indeed, we just saw the gay-bashing Republican mayor of Spokane go down, so to speak, in flames, after his same-sex sex was exposed.
Maybe these “values voters” are repressing something else. Could they harbor a fear that dare not speak its name, a fear that their “American Idol,” Jesus, might have been gay?
Consider the evidence. Jesus never married. He was apparently dateless at the Cana wedding. He associated almost exclusively with men, bopping from town to town, incurring the wrath of religious elders.
The Bible doesn’t detail any sexual encounters among these guys, but it does show Jesus telling them how much he “loved” them. He made his companions remove their sandals and washed their feet, drizzling warm water over their toes and rubbing them dry. They were cavorting in a park when police raided them and arrested Jesus; one of his friends had betrayed him with a “kiss.”
Hanging out in parks with other men, kissing them, fondling their feet such behavior would not be tolerated in today’s “mega churches.” And just imagine the reaction to the robe and long hair, or the Palm Sunday parade!
Some Right-wing “Christians” might argue that the evidence is inconclusive, that the Bible wouldn’t necessarily discuss someone’s sexual orientation, especially if it were “normal.” But what is normal? In our culture, people are assumed to be heterosexual unless they or someone else claims otherwise. Jesus’ world was different, and perhaps more complicated. Jesus was a Jew, and Jews condemned homosexual acts. But Jesus lived under Roman occupation, and the pervasive Greco-Roman culture gave a green light to gay love. Et tu, Brute?
There’s no proof that Jesus was heterosexual, either. He never claimed to be. He never denounced homosexuals. There is no Biblical evidence that Jesus ever had sex with anybody, though in his times, celibacy was considered abnormal. Sex is a natural human drive, so it’s a good bet that the Son of Man got some. Since he hung out with twelve foot-washing, love-talking, kissing male companions, it’s a good bet that it was among them he satisfied his urges (though we can’t rule out, of course, that he was bisexual).
Try as they might, Right-wing “Christians” can’t prove that Jesus wasn’t queer. You can’t prove a negative a principle that should be familiar to many religious people who believe in God in part because God’s existence can’t be disproved. Religious people everywhere have relied on this basic fact of logic for millennia.
Even if God exists, who can prove any particulars about him, her, or it? Don’t reach too fast for that Bible: the Good Book is just a document that claims to be true. The National Enquirer and The New York Times also claim to be true — and many Right-wing “Christians” don’t believe those. The Bible is even less reliable than those sources; its stories were written hundreds of years after the fact, by people who weren’t eyewitnesses, and who relied on hearsay.
And those stories are often ridiculous, n’est-ce pas? A guy gets eaten by a whale, and survives in its gut for three days, until he’s vomited to safety. A man is crucified and dies, yet rises. A young woman gets pregnant without having sex.
More to the point: No one can prove that God, if he, she, or it even exists, hates homosexuals. The opposite may well be true. According to the stereotype, gays have more sex partners, and more and better sex, than heterosexuals. They have more creative jobs, better decorated homes, and more disposable income — especially where they can’t adopt kids. By the standards of many Right-wing “Christians,” gays are “blessed.”
The only thing it seems can be trusted is Jesus’ main commandment. To follow it requires no belief in the supernatural, just faith that the words were repeated and translated with reasonable accuracy. Indeed, one can follow it without even believing Jesus existed.
“Love one another.” That includes loving homosexuals which might include Jesus Christ himself. A Gay Jesus: What a wonderful way for God to test his followers’ faith!
Most Right-wing “Christians,” I bet, would rather be puked up by a whale.
BRIAN J. FOLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.