Legend has it that somewhere between 10 BCE and the year 0 CE, a child was born to a girl named Mary, the young wife of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth. Joseph, however, was not the sire of the boy whom the world would come to know as Jesus Christ. Paternity belonged to God, the creator of the universe.
Offspring of the mingling of gods and humans has a long history in pagan religion. Zeus, king of the Titan gods, was a well-known philanderer and his eye often wandered beyond the divine. He had several human lovers who bore him children or descendants who went on to win fame in the ancient world; Dionysus, the girly-boy god of wine, Heracles, aka Hercules, the world’s strongest man and Perseus, slayer of Medusa. Zeus’s brother, the sea-god Poseidon, seduced Aethra who bore Theseus. Theseus years later would travel to Crete to slay the deadly Minotaur, the scourge of the Athenians.
It was into this tradition of demi-gods, the children of god fathers and human mothers, that Jesus was born. He would go to become even more famous than his pagan predecessors. While Jesus Christ may well be the most celebrated person/god in western civilization, very little is known of his life. It’s only the last few year of his short span on earth that are documented and at that, there are many unexplained gaps. Most of what we know of Jesus was not written until decades after his death, when diarists put on paper or papyrus what had until then been oral account.
We know that Jesus was a Jewish preacher in and around Palestine and modern day Israel. We know that his unorthodox teachings and his overturning of the money tables in or around the Holy Temple angered the Jewish hierarchy, especially high priest Caiaphas whose authority under the Romans depended on keeping his fellow Jews in line. Caiaphas, like most collaborators before and since, was more concerned with his own standing than the well-being of his flock. Sensing a challenge from the popular Jesus, Caiaphas handed him over to the Romans, accusing him of the religious sin of heresy. The Romans, whose design with the Jews was to keep them from rebellion, went along with the complaint and accused him of the state crime of treason. Jesus was sentenced to the Roman’s favorite form of capital punishment, crucifixion. Though he was born, lived and died as a Jew, Christ ended up the posthumous leader of one of the western world’s three largest monotheistic religions, called, appropriately enough, Christianity.
Since his death, much has been said and done in the name of Jesus Christ, a lot of which he would not have approved. While what is known of Jesus’ life has been studied and described in detail, not much has been said about his sexuality. I believe that there is a simple explanation for this. Jesus was gay.
Let me first of all say that by gay, I don’t mean happy or joyous. I am talking about gay as it has come to be applied to those of homosexual inclination. That no one chooses to talk about the sexuality of Jesus speaks much of his followers who introduced the notion of sin and shame to the basic human desire for sex. If Christ had been outed, the basis for the persecution of same-sex practitioners that obsesses so many Christians some two millennia after his death would have been invalidated.
Yet the signs are there. Jesus was born into a world dominated by the Romans. The Romans inherited the stories, gods and traditions of the Greeks who both preceded them as conquerors and then lived among them as teachers, philosophers and story-tellers. The Greeks not only tolerated same-sex acceptance, they fostered and enjoyed it. To this day, ‘Greek-style’ is synonymous with a homosexual act. The word lesbian comes from Lesbos, the island home of the Greek poet, Sappho, known for open pursuit of her female devotees.
It’s a strange irony that Christianity didn’t exist when Christ was alive. He was more likely to have been comfortable in exploring his true sexual nature without fear of being hounded by Christians. Islam with its intolerance of homosexual behavior was not to come along for six centuries. Jesus lived in a great same-sex era. The climate would change only after his death.
Jesus, like Shakespeare, is better known to us for what he said than who he was. There is a void of information about Jesus the boy and young man. Some speculate that he lived in Nazareth in Galilee, others that he went to Egypt. For a man so acclaimed, it strikes me as queer that we don’t know more about young Jesus. Record keeping and literacy were limited two thousand years ago so it’s possible that nothing remarkable occurred in the early years and that his life went, as with most of his contemporaries, unnoted.
When Jesus appears as a public figure, we become aware of a few things. First of all, he is single. A single Jewish male in his late twenties would have been very unusual during that time period. If Jesus were straight, it seems unlikely that he would have been a bachelor. Life expectancy was short and Jewish males were expected to marry young and propagate. That Jesus was hitting the singles bars looking to pick up women, a regular turn of the Common Era playboy, doesn’t seem to fit with the Jesus of scripture. The most obvious explanation is that Jesus was not attracted to members of the opposite sex. Being a famously honest fellow, he wasn’t about to wear a beard just to please his parents or get ahead in society.
Hard on his return to public life Jesus recruits a close following of male travelling companions, known to us as the twelve apostles. Like Jesus, most of the apostles were from Galilee, which very closely resembles the word ‘gaily.’ Could there be some hidden meaning here? Is the Sea of Galilee, the Sea of Gaily, really a euphemism for a homosexual hangout? At least four of the apostles were described as fishermen. These fishermen, Simon, Andrew, James and John, plied their trade on the Sea of Galilee. Are we to meant take ‘fishermen’ literally? Are these really fellow gays – fishers of men in other words? Were Simon, Andrew, James and John married? They were certainly of age. Yet if they were married how is it that they just up and left their wives and families to follow Jesus? Wouldn’t their responsibilities as family providers prevent them from doing that? If they had nets, they certainly weren’t social safety nets. They could not just leave, nor one suspects would Jesus have asked them to leave their families in a bind. It is far more likely that the apostles, like Jesus, were gay. These were likely ordinary guys he met in the local gay scene. They got talking about love and life and trying to make a difference. Jesus, the son of God, a man on a mission, convinced them to join his effort to make the world a better place, not just for gays but for everyone. How could they resist?
For those who know where to look, the Bible offers more clues as to the sexuality of Jesus. The setting again is the Sea of Galilee. The apostles were crossing the sea by boat when they saw Jesus walking on the water towards them. This amazing deed would suggest that Jesus, assuming he was a normal-sized man, would have been very light on his feet. On the surface, the Bible is telling us that Jesus walked on water. Perhaps the hidden meaning here is that he was’ light in the loafers.’ ‘Light in the loafers’ or ‘light on his toes’ is a stereotype long used to describe homosexual men.
Now we have the bachelor Jesus, his fishers of men in a boat ahead of him and Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee. If this event had taken place on the Dead Sea with its high saline content, it might have been plausible. The fact that the gospels make a point of saying that it occurred on the fresh water Sea of Galilee means that this is likely another metaphor for Jesus’ same-sex nature, one the writers could not proclaim openly.
Jesus was not concerned with dogma or liturgy tradition as were other Jewish preachers of his time. For three years, he walked among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem talking of simple things; the challenges of everyday life, of love, forgiveness and charity, of opening your heart to people who were different, those who were not from the same tribe, those who had other beliefs. Jesus was a live and let live kind of guy, a gentle man, the antitheses of his stern father, the hero of the Old Testament. It is not uncommon for a son to be so different from the father. If the father is a hard-liner, of which there can be no doubt with God, it can well be that the son is much softer. So it seems with Jesus.
Jesus travelled extensively with his an all male entourage bringing his message to thousands, all male until he met Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene is often written off as a prostitute whom Jesus saved from stoning. I think this understanding of Mary Magdalene to be wrong. Give what we know today of women being stoned, such punishment was and is not only meted out to prostitutes. It is a male power thing, common practice at the time, not uncommon today in nations where extreme and misogynistic fundamentalism is practiced. Stoning was and is not reserved for prostitutes, as horrid as that is in itself, rather any woman suspected of having had sex outside marriage or having brought shame to the family. Like any good witch hunt, there doesn’t have to be proof, only accusation, usually by some aggrieved male.
Writing Mary Magdalene off as a whore because she was being stoned is weak. After Jesus saved her from the mob, she became his most loyal and courageous of friends. Mary Magdalene was likely what is known today as a fag hag. These are girls or women who feel safer hanging around guys who they know will not be pressuring them for sex. They may be, but are not usually, lesbians. They are women who feel at home with gay guys. Some gay guys, especially those more timid in nature, have trouble associating with more aggressive males. Fag hags and gay men are naturally drawn to each other, both needing companions who will not mock them, who will accept them as they are.
A closer look at the apostles reveals more evidence of the same-sex proclivities of Jesus. The gospel of John refers to the ‘disciple that Jesus loved.’ The disciple that Jesus loved is believed by most scholars to be John, the somewhat feminine youth sitting next to Jesus in DaVinci’s rendition of ‘The Last Supper.’ This John is held by some to be the same John who later wrote the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John was the last of the four gospels that came to form the New Testament. There is considerable doubt whether it was written by John the Apostle. What seems of little doubt is that John the Apostle occupied a special place in the life of Jesus. No doubt Jesus loved all his disciples. But the gospel’s telling us that John was ‘the Beloved Disciple’ making him first among equals, certainly suggests that John was the lover of Jesus. There are many forms of love of course but is it so hard to believe that Jesus loved the beautiful John in a sexual way or that John fell in love with Jesus the man not just Jesus the messenger?
And how should we see Judas Iscariot? Long believed to be the apostle who betrayed Jesus, is it possible that history has given Judas a bad rap? That he gave up Jesus to the Jewish High Priests seems undeniable but under what circumstances? Was it premeditated or did Judas panic? Was fingering Jesus his only escape from a perilous plight? Let’s consider the following scenario. While he is known to us as Judas, to those in the gay community of the first century CE, Judas likely meant ‘Jew Ass.’ To anyone familiar with the gay scene, ‘Jew Ass’ would be but one of many ways that gays describe who they are or what they seek. It seems possible that Judas, when he wasn’t preaching the word of God, was making money on the side as a hustler.
Let’s examine his last hours. When we catch up with Judas, it is in the Garden of Gethsemane, an Assyrian word that in English means ‘Get Some of Me;’ a park where local gays would go to hook up, sometimes for money. Judas was found with thirty pieces of silver, a not inconsiderable sum these days let alone 2000 years ago. It is accepted that Judas received this money for selling out Jesus to the Jewish authorities. Let me suggest a more likely scenario.
Judas goes to Gethsemane with Jesus and the other apostles. Jesus walks deeper into the garden, leaving behind all the apostles except James, Peter and John. He then tells these three he wants to be alone to pray. Judas, with time on his hands, is in a place he knows all too well. A john walks by, not John the Baptist or John the Beloved but a client. Judas and the trick go off in the woods and do their thing. The john pays Judas thirty pieces of silver, seemingly a lot of money for a quick turn in the bushes. However, it is conceivable that Judas made it known to the client that he was one of only twelve disciples of the son of God. This would certainly have driven up the price. Judas, silver in hand, hurries back to find Jesus before Jesus finds out what he’s been up to. On his return, he runs smack into the soldiers out looking for Christ. Recognizing Judas as a disciple, (fame cuts both ways) the soldiers threaten him with torture and crucifixion if he doesn’t give up the whereabouts of his master. In a panic, quicker than Angel giving up Jimmy Rockford, Judas tells the soldiers where they can find Jesus.
Judas has long been vilified for selling his soul for thirty pieces of silver. It is far more likely that he sold his body. Judas hung himself shortly afterwards, more proof that his betrayal was brought on by fear not greed.
While the others were sleeping and Judas was working, Jesus was praying to his father. Clearly he thought that there was more work to be done and he was not ready to die. Jesus asked of God, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ It’s a good question and one not answered in the Bible. Jesus by all accounts had been a good son, one of whom his father should have been proud. He was a peaceful man in dangerous times. He had shown great empathy in curing the sick, comforted the afflicted, aiding the poor. He had been courageous and steadfast against the established order. He worked towards a new and gentler land. He had been everything that a son could be – except for one thing. He was gay.
It’s important to remember that the gospels were not meant for posterity. When they were written, Christianity was in its infancy, a marginal religion, one among many. The writers of the gospels kept their notes more as diaries, as journals of their time. None could have imagined that what they wrote would form the basis of a global movement or be heard or read by millions over the next two millennia. There were other such accounts that were discarded by the editors. It wasn’t until the fourth century CE that the four gospels as we have them today were assembled to form a narrative. Over the next thousand some years, the gospels passed through the hands of church officials, censors who had vested interest in shaping the final version. Agreement on what would constitute the New Testament was not reached until the 16th century, some 1500 years after the death of Christ
While no two gospels of the New Testament are alike, they tend to commonality. Anything that did not agree with what became Christian dogma was omitted and in some cases, destroyed. If Jesus were gay, those who had control of the documents had centuries to do a rewrite. But even the most determined of cleaners were not able to eliminate all the clues to the sexuality of Jesus.
‘Why have you forsaken me?’ was the plaintive plea of Jesus as death approached. Scholars since have attempted to put a spin on God’s silence. However, the fact that God the father’s response does not appear in the Bible does not mean that there was none. Though I can’t possibly know the exact words, based on my studies of the subtle gay message in the Bible, here is what I believe to be the gist of God’s reaction.
‘Why have I forsaken you? I’ll tell you why. To begin, a little suffering never hurt anyone. It’s a big part of the cost of admission to my place. If some suffer more than others, well I didn’t promise fairness. And looking at what you’ve become, I know that you need to suffer. I sent you down to earth with more advantages that any son could reasonably expect. You have great genes. Your mother was a virgin. You have powers that mortal men could only dream of. I surrounded you with beautiful women, any one of whom would have honored to have married into our family. But no, you Jesus, progeny of the most formidable power ever, were attracted to men.
‘At first I went looking for Lucifer thinking he had to be behind this. I was furious and saw his handiwork. But after time to reflect, I don’t think this had anything to do with him. This was a lifestyle choice. You had always been a little swishy but I thought it was just a phase. Be patient with him, I thought. But as usual my instincts were right. You’re a homo and you’ve always been a homo.
‘Now I lament my grandchildren not to be. Your selfish decision shames me. I can barely leave the throne room, I am so embarrassed. All the angels are talking, not when I’m around of course, but I know what they’re saying and I can’t blame them. You have made me look ridiculous. The son of God is a fairy. What in the name of me is wrong with you?
‘No Jesus, you brought this on yourself. Now you and all your pansy friends, what is you call them – disciples? A little pretentious don’t you think? Well, you will all be punished. None of you will live out a natural life, except that boyfriend of yours, John. I want him to miss you for a long time.
‘Son, Jesus Christ, look at me when I’m talking to you! I’m angry but not without feeling. After the crucifixion, I’m bringing you back to heaven. We have members of the ex-gay movement up here and they are going to help you overcome this sickness. I don’t care if it takes a thousand years, two thousand year, whatever. When you are healthy, I will send you to earth a second time with a chance to redeem yourself.
‘The soldiers are on their way. Off you go to martyrdom. It’s a heavy cross but bear it like a man. This is a good chance to convince me that you can straighten yourself out. We’ll talk more when you get here.’
So it was that Jesus was apprehended by the Jewish authorities and hurried off to appear in front of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. As the end nears, we have one final incident that adds weight to the argument that Jesus was gay. As Pilate is questioning Jesus, ultimately, and more to appease the Jewish high priests than thinking Jesus guilty, sentencing him to death, Peter is accosted by someone in the crowd who accuses him of being a follower of Jesus. As the Bible tells us, as the two were arguing as to whether Peter knew Jesus, Peter’s cock crowed. Anyone who saw Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy in ´The Last Station’ knows exactly what a crowing cock means. Under such unimaginable stress, that Peter, another favorite of Jesus, the rock upon whom Christ would build his church, would be so obviously aroused, strongly suggests that he held more than platonic feelings for his master.
Despite the evidence I have put into play, I suspect that many of you are still not convinced that Jesus Christ, son of God, our Lord and Saviour, sent down to earth to free us of sin, could himself be guilty of the most egregious of sins, homosexuality. Because I anticipated that not all would buy into my argument, I have saved the most compelling evidence to the last. Until now, you could accuse me of reading things into scripture that simply aren’t there. We could debate these points forever. That is why I close with irrefutable affirmation that Jesus was gay.
One of the most common prayers for Christians is not to Christ, rather to his mother, Mary. The ‘Hail Mary’ is based on lines from the Gospel of Luke and is assigned to Catholics in the confessional as part of penance for their sins. It is also a prayer of first recourse in times of extreme emergency when divine intervention is required. Neither its importance nor its everyday usage by millions of Christians can be disputed.
Yet within this very prayer, second only to the ‘Our Father’ in prayer hierarchy, are contained the words that sustain my belief that Jesus was gay. ‘Holy Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’
So there it is, as it has been for hundreds of years, ‘the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’ In one of the most celebrated, accepted and repeated of all Christian prayers, Jesus, son of God, is called a fruit. It kind of takes your breath away.
I have heard many Christians describe what would become of persons attracted to others of the same sex when the good Lord is back among us. The ‘day of reckoning’ I think they call it. Well as it happens, if Jesus were to return, despite the best efforts of the ex-gays, his first stop might well be the sauna. After he is good and steamed, he might just take it in mind to speak to those who have been using his name as cover for intolerance and worse.
Blasphemy you say. Hey, it’s been a blasphemy too.