Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Major LGBT magazine covers Passion book censorship as religion versus free speech

Intriguing analysis of Facebook censorship of the new gay Passion of Christ book appears in the latest issue of an important national magazine, the Gay and Lesbian Review / Worldwide.

“It’s not the visual images but the idea of Jesus as a gay man that’s being suppressed,” editor-in-chief Richard Schneider Jr. notes in his “BTW” column for the January/February 2015 issue.

He sees it as an example of “a syndrome that’s been identified by writers like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens: the peculiar immunity of religious ideas from the free speech protections that apply to every other realm of life.’

Facebook initially blocked ads for “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” by Kittredge Cherry when the book was released in October, but reversed the decision after pressure from the LGBT community and news media.

The book features Doug Blanchard’s paintings of Jesus as a gay man of today in a modern city. As Schneider points out, “in most of the book’s illustrations it’s not all that obvious that the central figure is even ‘gay.’”

The Gay and Lesbian Review is a bimonthly magazine of history, culture and politics for thinking LGBT people and allies. Library Journal described it as “the journal of record for LGBT issues.” It has a circulation of 11,000.

I left the following comment on the Passion article at, which is under the subhead "Book versus Facebook":

You raise an important point when you say that the Facebook suppression of our Passion book illustrates “the peculiar immunity of religious ideas from the free speech protections that apply to every other realm of life.” Traditional religious ideas do get enshrined and exempted from the usual rigors of public debate. But what about alternative religious ideas?

Far from receiving “peculiar immunity,” Christians like me who believe that Jesus may have been queer find our sincerely held religious idea is suppressed as “anti-Catholic,” “blasphemy,” “offensive” or even “hate speech.” The debate often gets framed as if our religion is nothing more than free speech that desecrates religion. Meanwhile OUR religious images and texts are deprived of customary protection granted to mainstream religions. Overtly LGBT-positive religious images and ideas tend to be silenced or ridiculed.

LGBT-affirming Christians have had to put up with garbage, and aren’t we religious too? A powerful example is included in this same issue of the Gay and Lesbian Review – the 1973 photo of Rev. Troy Perry in the rubble of the burnt-down Metropolitan Community Church where he dared to preach God’s love for all people, including sexual minorities. (See “The Revolution was Photographed.” )

On the bright side, Facebook reversed its decision and “resurrected” the ads after pressure from the LGBT media and community.

Related links

Book website:

Facebook u-turns to allow gay Jesus crucifixion ad (Gay Star News)

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts

No comments: