In 2005, the first openly “gay” Anglican Bishop, Gene Robinson, clearly intimated at a sexual relationship between Jesus and the Apostle John: “…in this day of traditional family values, this man that we follow was single, as far as we know, travelled with a bunch of men, had a disciple who was known as ‘the one whom Jesus loved.’”
Former head of Ministry at the University of San Francisco (USF), Fr. Donald Godfrey, S.J. wrote in his 2008 book “Gays and Grays: the Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer catholic Church:” “Is it less appropriate for gays to imagine Jesus as gay than for African Christians to picture him as black, Asian Christians as Asian?”
At a recent lecture by the Rev. Vincent Pizzuto at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro, the ex-Catholic turned Celtic priest, and Associate Professor at USF, emphasized in his talk that Christ was biologically male, so, when asked about a sexual encounter with God through meditation, he said: “If we are going to take the incarnation seriously…then we got all the tools to be asking not just what it means to have a sexual experience, but to be a sexual person.”
None of these theories about a “gay” Jesus are anything new, in fact a famous play titled “Corpus Christi,” detailing the imagined homosexuality of Christ and the Apostles, was first staged in 1998 in New York. But, predating that – is the “Hunky Jesus” contest, held every Easter Day in San Francisco; beginning in 1979: the annual search for the sexiest Jesus look-a-like is sponsored by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and features near-naked men who (un)dress up like Christ on the Cross. In 2011, Fr. Godfrey commented on the contest as a “sacrilege,” but quickly backtracked by adding: “However, in this Easter season, when Christians like myself celebrate the risen Jesus, I find myself asking if Jesus himself is not much more concerned by sacrileges such as war, hunger, poverty, homophobia, prejudice against women and immigrants.” Yet, it is precisely the rhetoric spouted for years by Godfrey concerning the “gay” Jesus which goes part and parcel with the inevitable end-point of that theory – which is the complete homo-eroticization of Christ Himself; in a very real sense, “Hunky Jesus” is the actual “gay” man in the street manifestation of all the intellectualism from the likes of Godfrey. The reason that Jesus has become sexualized in the “”gay” male community is two-fold: the first – dealing with the homosexual preoccupation with total acceptance, and secondly with the gay male obsession for sex as resolution.
In his landmark book, “The Church and the Homosexual,” published in 1976, Fr. John McNeill, S.J., made one of the first cases for a “gay” inclusive Christ as “an extraordinarily full human person and an extraordinary free human being” in terms of his acceptance of the marginalized; including what McNeill envisions as the symbolically “gay” Ethiopian eunuch. Most importantly, what McNeill set down was a sort of free-love argument which claimed: “it can be seriously questioned whether what is understood today as the true homosexual and his or her activity is ever the object of explicit moral condemnation in Scripture.” This erroneous theory marks the basis for most contemporary LGBT hermeneutics. McNeill, who later “came-out” as “gay,” speaks less about the Gospels than he does about the pervasive need for acceptance in the “gay” mind; a neurosis which has its origins within the rejection and lack of male approval during childhood; child abuse survivor and later author of “And the Band Played On” Randy Shilts described his overwhelming need for emotional recognition as: “I want fame, I want love…being able to walk into a gay bar and have people recognize me so they would want me.” The all-encompassing need for male affirmation in “gay” men resulted in the undeniable promiscuity which in turn bred the conditions by which AIDS could flourish; the tragedy of the whole epidemic was that its rise was entirely unmalicious, but spoke of the need in “gay” men for male comradery that always got twisted into sex. This indescribable need for love continuously moves beyond the intensely personal into the realm of broader society; with homosexual culture perceiving large institutions and bureaucracies as forced overseers standing-in for their unloving fathers; hence the push for acceptance of gays in the military, for a ruling by the Supreme Court on “gay” marriage, and finally – for religion, for God Himself, to fully embrace homosexuality.
Secondly, everything in “gay” becomes sexualized because as a community, sex is valued – not only as a mode of expression, but as a means to resolution; as the ultimate route to peace. For, most homosexuals, in particular “gay” men, sex becomes the sacrament – the only way by which one can touch the divine; in “gay” male culture this divination is highly fetishized with the idolization of the male form: most lastingly eulogized by the artist Tom of Finland and surviving in the proliferation of pornography in daily “gay” life. Only, the few sparks of actual beauty that these images contains becomes quickly distorted and turns ugly when it all abruptly goes pornographic; this propensity is no more explicitly materialized than in the “Hunky Jesus” contest. This dive into pornography that seems to always take over nearly every “gay” endeavor can be directly contrasted with the sublime heights of beauty attained by many artists, especially those during the Renaissance and Baroque period, who often depicted a physically striking Christ – probably reaching a zenith with Michelangelo’s sculpture known as “Cristo della Minerva.” But, as he did on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo elevated the human body to its original god-like potentiality; much of this has to do with the personal beliefs and the surrounding culture of the artist: certainly Michelangelo, Bernini and even da Vinci were, albeit, incredibly complicated men, but they never lost their faith. In current “gay” culture – there is an absolute pornographic sensibility that is directly attached to a secular atheism- therefore, beauty is always perverted and ends up in decadence; “gay” porn magnate Tim Valenti, owner of gay porn mega-site NakedSword, admitted that: “Porn is a big part of gay culture – it’s not shocking to anyone anymore…It’s just another part of who we are. It’s no longer in the back room and the truck stop. It’s out in the open.” As an interesting side-note, Valenti is a former Catholic altar boy and Jesuit-educated graduate of the University of San Francisco.
By creating Christ into a sex-object, which before-hand necessitates, as Pizzuto put it during his talk at Most Holy Redeemer, a complete “historical deconstruction” of the “homophobic” Jesus, “gay” men are doing exactly that same thing that compelled the mass proliferation of so-called “daddy-porn” –from pulp novels to X-rated films; the only way they can readily perceive acceptance and full communion with the unconscious memory of their father, and with God, is to have sex with him. Like the “Hunky Jesus” contest itself, which is meant to appear shocking – in reality, it’s just sad and pathetic. Yet, herein lies all hope – for the real Jesus Christ said: “They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners.”