Massacre of the Innocents by Giotto from Wikimedia Commons
Today is Holy Innocents Day, honoring the baby boys killed by King Herod in order to avoid losing his throne to the newborn Jesus, the king foretold by the Magi.
Coventry Carol, the solemn Christmas carol based on this tragedy, has long been a favorite of mine, but I never saw any GLBT connection to the slaughter of the innocents until this month when the Jesus in Love Blog received a lot of comments on the theme.
I was surprised when my post “New Play: Transwoman Jesus tells Christmas story” led to a flurry of comments about female infanticide and selective abortion of unborn lesbians, gays and transgenders. The threat of this kind of “massacre of the innocents” is real and it provokes real fear and rage. Today I’m posting highlights from that discussion, in honor of Holy Innocents Day.
The Biblical story of the slaughter of the innocents (Matthew 2:16-18) has a silver lining: Jesus escapes. His parents got him out of Bethlehem before the massacre. To me, the message is that people may try to systematically destroy groups through infanticide and genocide, but it’s not 100 percent effective. Somebody always escapes.
Edited highlights from the comments here at the Jesus in Love Blog:
Turtle Woman said...
I have another theory that many children of god were born, but the girls were killed. Thus, patriarchy killed many girl messiahs along the way. Think about it.
I once read a moving short story by feminist Christian Reta Finger about how Jesus was born a girl in ancient Palestine and was killed soon after birth.
the story of the murdered female Jesus really does hit home. i fear, sometimes, that modern science will discover a cause for transsexualism and offer a "solution" to pregnant mothers...perhaps the option of a pill that would bring the mind and body into congruence while yet in the womb. what mother wouldn't accept that option? (poof) the end of us.
for some...perhaps most...it would seem like progress....to me, it's more like genocide.
what would Jesus do?
Turtle Woman said...
I believe infanticide is widespread in patriarchal cultures that value boys, but hate girls. The one-child policy in China, the use of amniocentesis in India to destroy girl children before they are born, and of course, ancient Israel where women were not even valued as much a livestock.
So Rita Finger's idea of the destruction of women messiahs is very real to me. I believe men kill women and girls, and that patriarchy tries in every way to destroy female spiritual leaders or even the birth of "the daughter of god."
the idea of the failed messiah...the murdered female Jesus...is not new to me. there is a woman in my bible study class who often speaks of God's great plan being peppered with failures: an abraham who didn't hear the angel on moriah; a moses who chickened out from lack of faith in aaron; a david who missed...etc.
all these things would take a re-do...so it's not that odd a thought that God gave us first a female messiah, one joseph couldn't reconcile with mary's story....so...murdered.
pj, I never thought of how MARY might have had a female child before Jesus. Interesting idea! I had heard that other good, holy women might have given birth to previous female Messiahs who were killed before they could be recognized.
Well, I must say I am surprised at how much passion some of you feel about infanticide/selective abortion of female and transgender infants. I’ve also heard that some scientists are looking for a “gay gene” in order to abort embryos that carry it.
the genocide i spoke of is real, at least in my mind. i know that there are different people seeking the "cause" of transsexualism. i've seen certain reports about certain periods of time in the womb when "hormone spashes" occurr that might influence gender identity.
my fear is real. i fear that if these times are identified the next step would be to "correct" the results of the splashes, to bring the body and mind into congruence prior to birth conscienciousness. i don't see that as becoming anything but a routine, accepted medical practice in the not so distant future. that could, in fact....be the end of us...transsexuals.
the idea saddens me deeply. i wrote a story about the last transsexual once. i called it "last bus to trinidad." the "apocalypic" herolding of the post-transsexual period of earth history.
i don't want to do away with us...i think we're worth keeping.