Thursday, February 10, 2011

Monotheism and queers

On the matter of monotheism and homosexuality: it is slightly more complex than monotheism is simply against homosexuality (although that is the dominant tradition in the Abrahamic monotheisms and in Zoroastrianism), in that if you take out the bits of St Paul that come from Philo of Alexandria, then gay Christians do not have much of a problem. Jesus never condemned homosexuality, even by implication. Indeed, given, according to the Gospels, Jesus fairly clearly cured a Centurion's young lover, any implication is rather the other way. (Translations are usually coy on the point, but if you go back to the original wording and context, it is fairly clear. Just as in Omar Khayyam's "a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou", the 'thou' was likely a pretty Christian wine serving lad.) Similarly, Jesus’s “nothing that goes in your mouth makes you unclean” teaching was an attack on emphasizing form and mechanics over intent and effect on others.

But if you accept all of St Paul as canonical and authoritative, then, yes, there is a problem for queer Christians. Though the "we reject all of the Holiness Code except that bit" should be a bit of a give-away.

The problem is that the sexual logic of monotheism sees sex as separating us from the divine, except in procreation. And using God to strip people of moral (and other) protections is an obvious path for priests to get power and authority. Orthodox Judaism and Islam are full of it.

It is particularly easy for Christian priests and clerics if you fail to notice how Jesus's favourite target of denunciation in the Gospels are priests and religious teachers. (About which Jesus could manage vivid rant. Though Jeremiah had his moments.) Jesus seems to have been fairly clearly against using God to strip people of moral protections. That would seem to be the burden of how Jesus summarised his preaching. Hence the effort subsequently put into means of subverting love thy neighbour, which Philo was particularly useful for, since he did not adhere to it in the first place.

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