3rd October 2011
Dr Keith Sharpe, Author of ‘The Gay Gospels’ said:
‘With the recent spate of LGBT teen suicides many are arguing that the patriarchal conservative churches have gay blood on their hands once again. In the past the patriarchal churches did the killing directly. To make clear its disapproval of homosexuals the Spanish Inquisition used to burn gay men alive ‘without benefit of strangulation’. The ‘holy’ Inquisition in France added a further nasty twist to this practice by tearing out the tongues of ‘sodomites’ with red hot pincers before casting them into the flames, for fear that otherwise they might confess their sins and be able to get into heaven at the last minute.
Now the killing is done at one remove. Preach hatred and condemnation strongly enough, supposedly with divine backing and Biblical support, and a lethal combination of peer-bullying and self-loathing leaves vulnerable innocents with the sense that death is their only way out.
That this is all being done in the name of Biblical literalism is really the cruelest of ironies. The Bible declares that Jesus was the Word of God. To claim that the Bible is the infallible Word of God for all time appears to be idolatry – worshipping a created idol rather than the creator. And here’s the rub: the self-same passage that homophobic Christians use to demonize gay people, in St Paul’s letter to the Romans, actually condemns idolatry as the most heinous sin and seems to say the punishment for it is being filled with lust for your own sex!
Conservative Christians need to wise up to the damage that they are doing and express repentance. As I show in The Gay Gospels, the Bible contains no condemnation of same-sex love. The two verses constantly quoted from Leviticus are about patriarchy, male domination and the subjugation of women. The passages in St Paul are about idolatry. None of this has anything to do with gay partnerships as we know them. Furthermore there are several examples of gay relationships in the Bible which are affirmed and celebrated. And of course there is the intriguingly close bond between Jesus himself and the man who is only ever described in the Gospel of John as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.
Being a Christian is about following Jesus’ commandments to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It is not about assenting to the Phelps family motto of ‘God hates fags’. Christian churches everywhere need to disavow homophobia to prevent further unnecessary tragic loss of young life.
Dr Keith Sharpe will be speaking at:
Harold Washington Library Center 400 S State Street on Monday 3rd October at 6 pm
The Marin Foundation 5255 North Ashland Avenue on Tuesday 4th October at 7 pm
Gerber/Hart Library and Archives 1127 West Granville Avenue on Wednesday 5th October at 7.30pm
For further details contact:
Erin Flynn at Flynnmedia
Tel: 215 – 772 – 3048