Friday, November 12, 2004

So Many Christians, So Few Lions by Jack Nichols
According to the pundits, Bush was elected when Christians’ anxieties about “moral values” (spearheaded by their frenzied focus on the perils of same-sex marriage) sent believers scurrying to the polls. It seems well worth remembering, therefore, that insightful lions have treated ordinary Christians as an annoyance ever since those sunlit days at the coliseum in ancient Rome.
On the very day that Bush proclaimed his win, a Jesus preacher at the Taipei zoo descended into the lions’ cage in a failed effort to explain holy Christian theories to the great beasts. But lions in 2004 A.D., he quickly discovered, still prefer healthy skepticism to blind belief. They accommodated this missionary only after he seemed to offer himself as a tasty bite. It soon became apparent to him that the lions were adamant infidels who didn’t want to be “saved.”
I don’t want to be “saved” either. Henceforth, like the lions, I’ll simply roar without mercy into the faces of those who insist that a “wretch like me” must either pledge allegiance to The Christian Agenda or be burned forever in their loving god’s lake of fire.
The Judaic-Christian-Islamic tradition is odious because it supports one of the greatest of cultural dangers: restrictive sex-roles that can eventually spell planetary death, especially if such macho poseurs as Dubya are leading the charge.
When the hunting and gathering age came to an end and rich agricultural lands needed a tribe’s protection, the male warrior role was born. Fighters were sorely needed. Jews, Christians and Muslims, therefore, supported this warrior role from the earliest times and in spite of occasional phony nods to a need for peace, still do. Men, they allow, are wholly admirable as warriors, but become worthy of the death penalty should they dare to make love.
Wherever the religionists’ dogmas have enjoyed ascendancy, both women and gay men have ranked low on cultural totem poles. For Christian soldiers to march onward, these dogmas assume, male warriors must not, under any circumstances, be tempted to adopt what are believed to be “feminine” values.
Young male warriors are taught to fear such “inferior” values, and this fear has long been instilled by a schoolyard epithet considered worse than any other: sissy. To be a sissy is to be somehow feminine. To make love to a member of one’s own sex is treason. It is to forget that men must make war, not love.
It is high time, therefore, to reverse this Jewish-Christian-Muslim travesty by resurrecting the great “battle cry” of the 1960s counterculture: “Make Love, Not War.”
Bushie Christians flocking to the polls were fueled by their deepest fear: namely that the fellow citizens they’d labeled sissies might, in fact, gain equality, thereby eliminating the most frightening insult in their sick psychological arsenal: sissy. The threat of being called a “sissy” has far greater power to maintain a sick status quo than does the threat of hellfire.
What the religious fanatics fail to realize is that a society fueled by “feminine” values (which are, in fact, simply human values) would be far more loving, peaceful and satisfying than anything that the Christians’ traditional macho-mania can offer. If a male child is taught to put up his dukes in his high chair, to eschew showing his feelings and is assured he is dominant, on top, in control and competitive, he is a threat to others.
So-called feminine values are more truly spiritual and life-affirming. They include empathy, nurturance, receptivity (as in being a good listener) and the like. No wonder
St. Paul demanded that women remain silent in the churches. Men only would be allowed to do the talking, elevating their active-only stance, one that does untold damage not only to women but unwittingly to themselves.
Dr. George Weinberg (the heterosexually-inclined psychologist who coined the term “homophobia”) examined antipathy to “female” receptivity or passivity in his classic work “Society and the Healthy Homosexual”:
“Most men who loathe homosexuals have a deathly fear of abandonment in the direction of passivity. The surrender of control signifies to them a loss of masculinity, and their demand for control produces narrowness. To condemn passivity is like condemning your eyeballs. We need passivity to see, to discover, to learn.”
In other words, passivity provides humanity with a great strength, not weakness. But St. Paul and his Christian cohorts place the warrior male in charge of everything, devaluing the contributions of half of the world’s population.
The world-damaging Christian dogma that does more harm than any other, however, is called Original Sin. This dogma teaches that all people are born in sin and remain utterly depraved, having inherited the gross wickedness of Adam and Eve, their mythical parents. Humanity, it teaches, deserves to be eternally tortured by a god who will relent only if individuals accept the “sacrifice” of his son, a sacrifice-doctrine that had its tribal origins in bloody animal sacrifices, slitting the throats of pet goats and the like, to appease him.
Gay men and lesbians, who until the 1970s were told by mental health “experts” that they too were diseased and depraved, can discern the deleterious effect on each individual’s self-esteem that this disingenuous dogma of Original Sin has on those who believe it.
In October, 1963, in a letter to the Executive Board of the Mattachine Society of Washington, I appealed to the Board to ignite a revolution against the psychiatric establishment’s benighted diagnosis of homosexuality. Strangely, this letter, as the historian John d’Emilio notes in “Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities”, marked the first time that a movement activist had called for such an uprising.
The need for a similar response to the benighted Christian dogma of Original Sin, is clear for many of the same good reasons - especially so as to increase each person’s sense of self-esteem. This evil dogma, supporting the theory of humanity’s inherent Adamic depravity and must be quashed and utterly defeated. Perhaps there is no issue more pressing in what some are now calling the Culture Wars.