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Compare Gays to Crucified Jesus and Watch Bigots Prove Your Point

Compare Gays to Crucified Jesus and Watch Bigots Prove Your Point

A leading voice in the UK’s gay community has compared anti-gay persecution to the Crucifixion, an analogy religious conservatives, in reacting to the news, have now shown is entirely apt.

It was revealed by conservative media sites on Monday that gay rights campaigner Benjamin Cohen, who founded the iconic news site Pink News, would be part of an Easter broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in which he would make a comparison between the Crucifixion and religion’s historical persecution of gay people, saying that Jesus, like gay people, “was punished for something he couldn’t help.”

Cohen, whose family is Orthodox Jewish, will say in his ‘Lent Talk’ program (excerpt via Pink News):

“I was lucky, my family didn’t abandon me and I haven’t been rejected from my community, despite it being well known that I’m gay.

“Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone, and I’ve been written to by many young people whose families have abandoned them for being honest about who they love. Some parents give them an ultimatum to ignore their feelings or even undergo controversial reparative therapies to turn themselves straight. Shockingly, every year, hundreds of people, mainly teenagers kill themselves because of their family or society’s rejection of them, due to their sexuality.

“In many cases, the reason for this rejection is religion — something that really angers and upsets me. Religion should be about bringing families together, united in devotion and celebration, not tearing them apart.”

Cohen’s is one of six Lent Talks, all from well-known figures from public life, arts and religion. All will focus on different variations of the theme “abandonment.”

Despite this comparison being narrow and fairly innocuous, conservative news sites soon set about manufacturing a controversy.

“BBC Easter message compares treatment of gay people with the crucifixion of Christ,” said the Daily Mail title, while the Telegraph opted for “BBC controversy over Easter message likening treatment of gay people to crucifixion” with a subtitle that again mentioned the “controversy” this was to create. At the time of writing, only the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph have really found anything controversial about this message.

That is, of course, with the exception of the now royally riled up Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, whose shrill bleating was reported by the Daily Mail:

“Whilst we have immense compassion for those who feel rejection, to liken those who feel rejection because of behavioural choices they have made to Jesus is blasphemous.’

It’s hard not to choke up at such “compassion,” isn’t it? She went on:

‘Jesus made high demands on how we are to behave particularly when it came to sexual expression, where he was clear that the only place for sexual expression is in the context of marriage between a man and a woman.’

She said that the BBC’s timing of the talk is a ‘serious matter’ and said that the broadcaster should be looking to ‘educate and inform’ a population she claims knows ‘increasingly little about Jesus’.

Christian Concern is, by most standards, a fringe evangelical group that rallies against a number of things — IVF, abortion, “Islam,” — but seems particularly vociferous on gay rights.

What Andrea Williams, Christian Concern and indeed the wider news sites who tried to spin this seem to have proved is that Cohen’s use of the Crucifixion narrative was apt. Sadly for them, you don’t get to own the narrative even (and especially) when it comes to religious stories where liberties are frequently and liberally taken — take as evidence the fact they will profess the depiction of Jesus in the above picture is color authentic — and you certainly cannot dictate how they are used. Furthermore, to invoke the idea of blasphemy is an extremist notion that is used to shut down debate and freedom of thought: that something is simply too sacred to be challenged or reimagined. Well, put bluntly, it isn’t.

Last, had they bothered to understand Cohen’s words they might have seen him giving deference to the notion that religion and religious communities can do some good in welcoming and supporting people — a charitable notion that, in some cases, is becoming hard to support when increasingly it seems religion is being used only as a political tool to justify outmoded prejudice.

 

Related Reading:

Pro-Gay Religious Voices Absent in Mainstream Media

Gay Marriage Activists Continue to Break Down Religious Barriers

A Religious Right to be Anti-Gay? Kansas Advances It

 

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Image credit: Thinkstock.

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153 comments

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5:21PM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

the above essay is an exercise in rhetorical juvenalia. it is difficult to see how the measured comments and polite criticism of Ms. williams of christian concern equate to crucifixion. The author has clearly never had nails driven through his or her hands and feet. Even if we allow that the gospels aren't entirely accurate (I myself am an atheist and staunch anti-Republican, and think that the bible is riddled with inaccuracy), the character they clearly portray is someone who believes himself to be the long-predicted messiah of the jews, and a highly observant jew to boot. He isn't being easy on the common run of sinners (He says to the adulterous woman: go and do not sin again), he's just hard on the hypocrites in power. does the bible accurately depict the real jesus? who the hell knows? but do we have any other plausible sources? not really. The modern liberal conception of 'mommy jesus' is what psychoanalysts would call wish-fulfillment for those who escaped Oedipal anxiety by retreating into mommy's bosom and internalizing her values, or who never had to face a threatening father. Jesus, whoever he was, was a first century Jew. In first century Palestine, there was no gay rights faction within judaism. Jesus quite likely looked upon homosexuality just as every other first century religious jew did: as an abomination. historically, religious jews regarded homosexuality as an affliction of their depraved goyim neighbors. there is simply no plausible historical

1:29AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

People bother so much with fighting against other people's opinions instead of just ignoring them and doing what they do. Although admittedly, it is often other people's opinions that stops people from being free to do what they want to do.

7:10AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

Compare Gays to Crucified Jesus and Watch Bigots Prove Your Point
or
Where Pride Makes You Look Crazy And Full of Vanity

4:46AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

Imagine what would happen if they said this about Mohammed.

4:45AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

Imagine what would happen if they said something like this about Mohammed.

9:12AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Oh Goody, the gay-sex obsessed folks came to beat us all up with their bibles. I think they would a whole happier if they paid more attention to their own "HOLES" instead of everyone else's!!!

8:53AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Karen H. "At the time marriage was between man and wife"

Think you need to read again.... Cuase at the time they knew, about having more gays in the world, and it was not written to become as "accepted", besides God talked clearly about the issue, Yes God loves us all, however God also punishes!, i will not... that is their problem.

Quote from Elaine A.
Jesus..... "WHO TOOK NAILS IN HIS FEET AND HANDS, DIED ON A CROSS AND FOR A FAR WORTHY CAUSE...YOUR VERY SOULS... NOT YOUR HOLES! WISE UP

6:10PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Paul did.
True, in Matthew 19, Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” But that does not condemn homosexuality. At the time, “marriage” was between a man and a woman, although I’m sure there were a lot of LGBT “unions”, just as there are today.
Elaine, do you have to shout so loudly? Afraid we won’t hear you?

4:31PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

@ Elaine A.:
I like the expression on how you put it: -"WISE UP AND STOP WITH YOUR PITY PARTY'S"-
and the one who advises the LGBTs to take a natural lifestyle. For sure they know what that means but their 'nature' is not wired 'naturally' ..so they say.
Ah ah ah ah.. [Don't over do it, they might get offended..]

God rules..

2:40PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

BMutiny T.You claim retirement thus allotting you "Time on your hands" please provide your so called statistically correct research finds that what you are touting is truth or just wishful thinking!

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