Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jesus suffers with GLBT people in “AIDS Crucifixion”

AIDS Crucifixion by William Hart McNichols © 1986

Christ hangs on the cross below a sign saying, “AIDS, homosexual, faggot, pervert, Sodomite” in a powerful drawing by Father William Hart McNichols.

A man waves a Bible at the dying Jesus, symbolizing the conservative Christians who claimed that AIDS was God’s punishment for being gay. Jesus identifies completely with the suffering of gay AIDS patients in the drawing.

McNichols is an iconographer and Roman Catholic priest based in New Mexico. “AIDS Crucifixion” grows out of his experience working at an AIDS hospice in New York City from 1983-90.

I am pleased to highlight this important drawing here at the Jesus in Love Blog. It may be the first artwork ever to link Christ on the cross with the word “faggot.” The point is not so much that Jesus is gay, but that Jesus is crucified again whenever anyone expresses hatred for LGBT people -- or other groups.

McNichols drew “AIDS Crucifixion” in 1986, but it is not widely available. In granting permission to post it here, even his agent reported that the high-quality digital file has been lost in the art studio computer storage.

When McNichols drew “AIDS Crucifixion,” there was no effective treatment for AIDS and many people were dying of the disease. New drugs can vastly extend the lives of people with AIDS, but not everyone has access to them. AIDS is still a life-threatening disease and it has grown into a global pandemic.

McNichols has also written and illustrated a moving “Stations of the Cross of a Person With AIDS.” See it online at:


pennyjane said...

wow! some things just have the power to take your breath away if you aren't expecting it.

thank you kitt....this is one of the most powerful pieces yet!

Trudie said...

This is a very powerful and moving post. Thank you for sharing it as we move closer to Holy Week.

KittKatt said...

As always, it’s great to hear from you, Pennyjane and Trudie. I’m glad that you picked up the connection with Holy Week.

I’m busy preparing a special Holy Week series to run here at the Jesus in Love Blog. It will have scenes from my novel “Jesus in Love: At the Cross” along with GLBT Christian art.

Yewtree said...

I just read the Stations of the Cross piece, it was very moving.

Happy Easter.