COLUMN: The gay messiah cometh: Reading the Bible from the other end of the spectrum

By Emma Claire Sohn

Our Quad is a democratic venue for the expression of the First Amendment.

Here, despite some inevitable flaws, we’re about the democracy of education.

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That said, when an outsider monopolizes our Quad flaunting a shirt that reads “All Homos go to Hell,” I take offense. I take offense not because of my flaming liberal political and social beliefs, but because of my core values established in my church from an early age.

Our Quad friend’s strict reading of the Bible is admirable in some regards. It takes a lot of gumption to plow through the thick text and apply it to today’s society. I’d like to employ a similar technique in countering his point.

Jesus Christ was gay.

I suppose depending on your religious beliefs I might be using the wrong verb tense, but disregard that for a minute while I justify this loaded statement.

The Bible makes no reference to Christ’s sexuality, but on multiple occasions specifies individual disciples as people Jesus “loved.” In John 19:26 one of the disciples is cited as “the disciple there whom he loved.” According to today’s values, I could interpret “love” in any number of ways, including a romantic or sexual relationship.

In fact, it is almost impossible to say whether or not the Bible ever explicitly references homosexuality at all. It’s difficult translating exactly what the Bible says as a result of its age and countless translations over the years. For example, Leviticus 18:22, a verse commonly used as the Bible’s fundamental argument against homosexuality, is best translated from its original Hebrew as “And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman.” How is that statement to be interpreted? It seems natural to assess it as if it were addressed to a male, but what if addressed to a woman? Is the Bible blatantly endorsing lesbianism?

Removing Christ from a Biblical standpoint and instead looking solely at the fair-skinned, snow-robed, luscious-locked Jesus our ethnocentric media has portrayed, it’s easy to draw comparisons to stereotypical gay men. Gay men in the media are known to be effeminate, compassionate and to find solace in the company of women. How do these qualities or blatant stereotypical judgments of this nature differ from media portrayals of Jesus Christ?

The obvious flaw with my mock “assessment” of Christ’s sexuality is that it has taken 2000 years out of context. Taking the Bible verbatim will get you absolutely nowhere in the Christian faith, just as media-based misconceptions do not accurately represent our society. You can make whatever outlandish claim you want from either end of the spectrum, but what’s the point if it’s just going to bring harm to an innocent group of people?

One of the problems that Christianity faces, as do many other belief systems, is that its fundamental purpose and ideas become muddled in translation. Gandhi once said “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” and in many (though definitely not all) cases I find this to be true. In my experiences with the religious right, I’ve found overwhelmingly that Christian values are not exemplified through the actions of my peers, or the concept of the Christian Coalition that George Bush has employed for the past seven years in an attempt to win over the country’s fundamentalists.

Just like the Bible, people can be read and evaluated across a wide margin. I find the values of Jesus Christ better exemplified through loving relationships between individuals that endure close-minded extremists like our own recent Quad visitor daily. Couples that, while being of the same gender, still effectively enact the positive social change Christ sought to further in the world. And I find it in my gay friends, who are some of the most genuinely kind-hearted people I’ve ever known.

So, if all “homos” are truly going to hell based solely on their sexual orientation, I’d be more than happy to keep them company.