WINDY CITY TIMES
||Christmas and Gay Folk
by Jim Edminster
This article shared 1290 times since Wed Dec 19, 2001
Ah yes, 'tis the season to be jolly, even when the Salvation Army is being hateful to lesbigays, the Baptists are perfectly willing to consign us to hell-fire forever, and the Catholic ( Universal ) Church is being universally homophobic. No wonder there are so many Wiccan, atheist, Buddhist, agnostic, and totally secular lesbians and gays. ( There are, of course, liberal mainstream congregations where some few otherly sexed preferences are welcomed ) . But gay folk have even more Christmas conflicts than others...for us it's not just "when will I find time to decorate and buy presents?", it's also "why am I celebrating an institution that hates me?"
"Fear not," in the words of the angel... there is an Xmas present for all, including the absolutely non- and anti-Christian lesbigay. It's an idea or two, but first we need to talk about the idea of ideas. Ideas do not just pop into existence. Someone had to think of them. They are not inevitable. If nobody thinks of them, they have no consequences.
Most people, if pressed as to where the ideas for our civilization came from, say "the Greeks." They're partly right, but the other major source for this culture's founding ideas is the Judeo/Christian religions. The early Christians ( and Jesus, who of course, was never a Christian ) were responsible for at least two original ideas: 1 ) everybody was worthy of salvation, and 2 ) because only God was perfect, human institutions were not perfect.
Let's do a little algebraic translation on these two concepts: Everybody is worthy of salvation = everybody is worthy = everybody is worth something. Human institutions are not perfect = human institutions need to be fixed = human institutions can be reformed. The funny thing about ideas is that once introduced they often take on lives of their own, sometimes even contrary to their inventor's intentions.
Both of the above ideas crossed over the theology mountains onto the plains of secularity. The first idea transmogrified into the idea of individual worth. The second into the idea of reform of institutions within the lifetime of the reformer. Neither idea occurred to any degree among the Greeks. Then these two ideas percolated slowly through 2000 years of history. At some point it became apparent to various groups that these ideas, now secular, applied to them: the colonized African-Americans, women, and yes, gay folk. So lesbigays now have the ironic bitter-sweet pleasure of watching the descendants of the original Christians fighting the descendants of their own ideas as gays righteously picket the Christian homophobes.
The radical ideas of the Prince of Peace have come home to roost in the chicken coops of General Booth ( of the Salvation Army ) , of John ( the original Baptist ) and of "il papa," the Pope. At some point all these Christian groups will be forced ( and we'll help the enforcers ) to deal with their own anti-Christian bigotry and hypocrisy.
So be of good cheer, and even the atheistic among you might raise a glass of punch or champagne to the 2000-year-old ( give or take a few ) Jewish Carpenter, because if he hadn't done and said what He did ( however inadvertent the consequences, I grant you ) , you probably wouldn't be at that gay family gathering or looking forward to the very likely prospect of legal gay marriages.
This article shared 1290 times since Wed Dec 19, 2001
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