Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama aide blasted for gay Jesus video

An Obama advisor is in trouble for showing a humorous music video of a gay Jesus. A near-naked Jesus swishes down Hollywood Boulevard to the tune of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor -- then gets hit by a bus in “Jesus Christ: The Musical.” I assume that Jesus rises again later. It’s one of the more popular videos available online. The video made me laugh when I first saw it a year ago, even though I’m a Christian. But conservative Christians such as Redstate are attacking Stanford University law professor Larry Lessig for showing the video at his lectures. Lessig is an advisor to presidential candidate Barack Obama. A lecture where Lessig shows the Jesus video to Google employees in 2006 is archived on YouTube. Lessig responds on his blog by explaining the context. He showed the video as an example of “remix” creativity and its legal ramifications. In this case, copyright holders threatened Javier Prato, who made the video.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Queer art censored by U.S. Postal Service

Perry Hoffman's first gay-marriage stamp design was censored

An artist’s design for a stamp honoring gay marriage was rejected by the U.S. Postal Service in an act of political censorship.

Gay artist Perry Hoffman designed the stamp to commemorate the California Supreme Court’s May 15 decision to allow same-sex couples to get married.

He didn’t apply to have his stamp sold at Post Offices. All he wanted was to offer it through an online service called Many artists use to put their images onto products such as mugs, t-shirts -- and stamps.

Hoffman designed a stamp (pictured above) with pairs of linked women’s signs and men’s signs, a hand toasting with a glass of champagne and the words, “Thank you California Supreme Court - Let’s get married!” The Zazzle stamp was rejected by the U.S. Postal Service based on a policy that says:

“Policy Violations: Incorporates material that is primarily partisan or political in nature.
Incorporates material the primary purpose of which is to advocate or protest any particular religious, social, political, legal or moral agenda of any person or entity.”

Then Zazzle went a step further and pulled Hoffman’s gay-positive image from a coffee mug without any explanation. Hoffman recounts the whole story on his blog.

Undaunted, Perry created a more discreet design with two hands toasting each other against a lavender background and the date “May 15, 2008.” This version (pictured below) was approved. It is now on sale at

I find it insidious that small acts of censorship like this often go unnoticed and unreported to the larger community. The policy makes it sound like regular postage stamps don’t have any political agenda, but their images of dead presidents and Disney characters are obviously supporting the status quo.

Perry is a California artist, photographer and designer who makes mail art and mosaics.

This gay-marriage stamp design by Perry Hoffman was approved

Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT and progressive spiritual resources at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lammy finalists do queer reading

Bestselling gay novelist Christopher Rice introduced Kittredge Cherry (left) and six other Lambda Literary Awards finalists in a reading at A Different Light Bookstore in West Hollywood on May 8, 2008. Lots more photos below.

She got the honor for writing Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More. The awards recognize excellence in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature.

Kitt can't help smiling about being a Lammy finalist.

James St. James reads from his novel Freak Show. Other finalists include, from left, Frederick Smith (Right Side of the Wrong Bed), Jeff Hobbs (The Tourists), Victor Bumbalo (Niagara Falls) and Kittredge Cherry (Art That Dares).

Don’t miss the artwork on the upper right. It’s Jesus and Lord Rama by Alex Donis from my book Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.

Other Lammy finalists at the reading include, from left, Thom Bierds (Forgiving Troy), Myriam Gurba (Dahlia Season) and Frederick Smith (Right Side of the Wrong Bed).

It’s not too late to get tickets for the big Lammy awards ceremony May 29 in West Hollywood. For more info, visit

Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT and progressive spiritual resources at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

‘Art That Dares’ excites audience

An enthusiastic audience listened as I participated in the reading for Lambda Literary Award finalists last week at A Different Light Bookstore in West Hollywood. I read from Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More, which is a finalist in the LGBT Arts and Culture category. Six other finalists also read from their books. It was fun to hear the audience reactions and answer their questions about queer Christian art. The most dramatic moment came when I unveiled a large print of Jesus kissing Lord Rama by Alex Donis, which is featured in the book. Christopher Rice, novelist and Lambda Board member, did an unobtrusively brilliant job introducing each finalists and moderating questions. Winners will be announced at the big Lammy awards ceremony May 29 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. For tickets and more info, visit The following is my speech, with notes in brackets about audience reaction. _________ Artists are making amazing images of a gay Jesus and a female Christ. But they’re being censored and destroyed by Christian conservatives. So I compiled them into a book to make sure they’d be available for people to see. My book Art That Dares is FULL of color images by 11 contemporary artists from the U.S. and Europe. The artists tell the stories behind the images, and my introduction puts them into political and historical context, exploring issues of blasphemy and artistic freedom. Being named a Lammy finalist is a great honor -- but it also can make you a target for homophobia. [Other Lammy finalists looked surprised.] I recently had an ugly experience while I was getting ready for tonight’s reading. I decided to get some new business cards made to hand out tonight and at the Lammy Awards ceremony later this month with my website, It has a lot of material from the book. Easy, right? No, not when your book is about queer Christian art. I called a printer who had worked with my life partner for years. At first he agreed to print the cards. Then he checked my website. The next morning he refused to do print the cards on the grounds that he’s a born-again Christian. [Loud gasps from the audience! They were a lot more shocked than I expected. It was a younger crowd, so maybe they think that the fight against discrimination has already been won?] Well, the artists in this book have a much more inclusive, diverse view of Jesus. So, let’s look at some of what got the printer so upset. I’ll start by reading from the introduction. [I read the section that ends, “The gay Jesus and the female Christ are not a reaction. They’re a revelation.”] Now I’m going to reveal one of the actual prints from the book. [I pulled away a cloth to reveal a large print of Jesus kissing Lord Rama by Alex Donis. The audience burst into applause. Someone called out, “I like that! ” Some stood and craned their necks to get a good look at it.] This the actually the first image that got me excited about the topic. You’re fortunate to get to see this print because the original was destroyed during exhibition in San Francisco. [“In San Francisco?!!” someone exclaimed aloud in disbelief. They listened, laughing at Donis’ humor, then turned sober when I read from the section about Alex Donis and how vandals destroyed his Jesus and Rama artwork.] There are lots more fascinating stories in this book. All the artists dared to follow their vision, even when they faced opposition. I feel that I share this Lammy award with them because they touched me. They are my role models and inspiration, even in small things like business cards. [Audience laughter.] I kept on looking for a printer until I found one who would print mine. I’ve got my new business cards! [I hold them up in triumph to laughter followed by applause.] So let me know if you want one, and thanks for being an audience who dares! [Applause] ________ Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT and progressive spiritual resources at

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost comes alive in queer novel

Today is Pentecost, when the church celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the apostles in tongues of flame. Pentecost is also the final scene in my novel about an erotically alive Christ, Jesus in Love: At the Cross. Here is an excerpt that imagines the first Pentecost from the viewpoint of the risen Christ.

When the Holy Spirit loved me, our contact produced a ripple of energy similar to a heartbeat. She was ringing me like a bell, and the “sound” would roll on forever.

“It is without end, because it is without beginning,” She said. She rang me again, and this time when the edge of her heart crossed mine, the rapture made me lose control and we melted into One.

Our union was so powerful that the people there could actually see and hear Us, like tongues of fire and a whoosh of wind. Our appearance didn’t scare them because they had been expecting Us. Some of my disciples stopped singing long enough to exclaim, “It’s the Holy Spirit!”

We kissed everyone in the room, being careful to cool Our kisses to a comfortable temperature for humans. We licked them with Our flaming tongues. They welcomed Our electric kisses. Each of them inhaled sharply and deeply in preparation for a sigh. We swept into them as breath, passed through each soul’s new doorway and fertilized the sacred chamber within. At the same time, their sparkling souls penetrated my divine heart and swam into a new womblike space that had just unfurled for them. The glorious friction made me feel flushed. Holy Spirit and human spirit were wedded, catalyzing a chain reaction of power bursts. Every soul in the room ignited in such a way that flames appeared to blaze from each person’s body. They looked around at each other’s auras in astonished admiration.

All that happened on one inhalation. When they exhaled, they could taste how much God loved them as We flowed over their tongues. They let their tongues flutter and writhe in ecstatic abandon. Each one released the tension of the wedding consummation in his or her own unique speaking style. Some of it sounded like gibberish to them as they praised God. Others spoke in exalted words.

For John, it came out as a quotation from the prophet Isaiah: “My whole being rejoices in my God, for He has wrapped me in the robe of justice, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

The Holy Spirit and I rode the sound waves of their voices, still actively making love. We granted everyone within listening range the same gift that I had received that morning: the ability to hear pure thought.

…Two passersby from far-flung Phrygia were the first to speak up. “Hey, do you hear that?” asked one.

“Somebody’s speaking Phrygian! Let’s go see who it is,” the other replied.

They hurried to the upper room and knocked on the door. My disciples were still jabbering their thanks to God, no longer afraid to let others see and hear them. They propped the door open for the crowd that was gathering as the ecstatic voices carried me to people from every nation who were living in Jerusalem.

Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT and progressive spiritual resources at

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Big religion site covers Austria’s gay Jesus has just posted my new article “Religious Right Censors Austria’s Gay Jesus.” It begins, “Censorship of a gay Last Supper from an Austrian art show signals a troubling trend: America is exporting religious intolerance...” Read more is a great place for rigorous, respectful debate on religion, highlighting a diversity of progressive voices. ________________ Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT spiritual resources at

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Austria censors gay Last Supper after U.S. pressure

This video of the show was made by in an effort to condemn it
A homoerotic Last Supper was removed recently from a church-sponsored art exhibit in Austria after protests sparked by U.S. fundamentalists. According to news reports, the museum director blames the artwork’s removal on “massive verbal hostility” from U.S. religious blogs, which then spread to Europe. Fundamentalist blogs denounced the art as “blasphemous,” “trash,” “sacrilege” and “an abomination.” Vienna’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and Diocesan Museum pulled the main picture from a retrospective exhibit by Alfred Hrdlicka, a celebrated Austrian artist who turned 80 this year. Hrdlicka himself described the etching as a “homosexual orgy.” After a week on display, it was taken down at the request of Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn. “The protests mainly came from Christian fundamentalist circles in the United States and eventually spilled over into Germany,” museum director Bernhard Boehler told Reuters. “So it came from people who neither had the knowledge of the seriousness of Alfred Hrdlicka’s work nor had seen the exhibition.” Although some visitors did complain about the art, Boehler said that the decision to remove the art was largely due to the anger expressed on blogs and emails from abroad. Hostility toward gay Jesus art is so common that I wrote a book about it: Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More. But the Hrdlicka case is the first I’ve seen where the U.S. religious right managed to limit freedom of speech abroad. It upsets me to see America exporting religious intolerance. I hope to spread freedom around the world through the Jesus in Love blog, newsletter and website. The rest of the exhibit, titled “Religion, Flesh and Power,” remains on display until May 10 with two other controversial images: A sculpture of Jesus on the cross without a loincloth, and a crucifixion in which a soldier holds Jesus’ genitals while beating him. Hrdlicka is an atheist and anti-war activist and who has personally witnessed the effects of Nazism and violence. Biblical imagery, especially the suffering of Christ, is a central theme in his art. The website, whose motto is “the more Catholic the better, made a video (above) of the exhibit in an effort to condemn it. If you can't see it above, click here to view it. __________ Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author, art historian and minister whose books include Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.