Monday, December 28, 2009

Holy Innocents Day: GLBT genocide?

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.

KittKatt said…
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.

pennyjane said...
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 would seem like 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."

pennyjane said...
the idea of the failed messiah...the murdered female 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 it's not that odd a thought that God gave us first a female messiah, one joseph couldn't reconcile with mary's

KittKatt said...
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.

pennyjane said...
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 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.


Yewtree said...

I think it is a good idea to re-imagine the slaughter of the Holy Innocents in this way, as the story is in fact only a legend (the same legend is told about the birth of Krishna).

It is deeply repugnant and very scary to think that people could screen for LGBT babies and abort them.

On the other hand, I read recently that gender reassignment can now be done (for those who want it) with gene therapy instead of surgery.

Trudie said...

Killing babies -- especially female babies -- has long been a habit of male-dominated culture. It intrigues me, though, at the dualism that has developed. The same "patriarchal structure" which allows thousands of children to die of starvation, disease and war also is the structure which waxes the most eloquent about the "sanctity of the unborn" and claims to be "Pro-life" while murdering doctors who perform abortions. The bottom line, of course, is always "power", and domination is almost inevitably a masculine trait.

Turtle Woman said...

Men simply want to control women, and control the means of production.
Nothing new. It's why conservative men will fight tooth and nail against abortion, but then get all angry at poor women having too many children.
All the contradictions are actually no contradiction at all, it all about male power, male control and male dominance worldwide.

It's why I'd like to see the daughter of god appear, and kick some serious male supremacist's butts.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Many gay and lesbian Christians seem eager to find a biological cause for homosexuality -- so people will stop telling them that it’s a choice, a sin, a demon, and trying to cure them with prayer. However, if a biological cause is found, new problems will arise such as selective abortions and scientific “cures” that may be imposed in the womb as pennyjane says.

I received an interesting comment on my Facebook page about this post. Here’s a powerful quote: “How many parents would choose to keep an unborn child that was determined to be of same sex orientation? GLBT automatic support for the pro-choice position makes little sense in this regard.”

Yewtree, thanks for providing info on Krishna. The connections between Krishna and Christ mean a lot to me, and I hope to keep making this blog more interfaith. Do you know of any legends saying that Krishna had gay love affairs?

pennyjane said...

hi kitt. i think that more than abortion i fear the cure.

i envision the day they find the cause of transsexualism and find that it's easily "correctable"...then that comment about "what mother wouldn't...."

transseuxalism cured. the end.

the thing whole life has been lived as a transsexual and i think it's a worthwhile life. if i had been "cured" in the womb then in effect...i wouldn't be here, someone else would.

i guess it's a bigger question than just me or my gay brothers and sisters. for me it gets kind of personal when it comes to autism as well. my little sister was autistic, was a difficult life but you know what? i quit feeling sorry for her at about six....that's when i realized that she was one heck of a good fact as nearly perfect as i can imagine a person being. what if she had been "cured"?

isn't that just what hitler was doing, "curing" a desease...the jewish desease? i think we have to be very, very careful with our cures and what we think of as disability. it isn't an easy question but...shouldn't we make the default position one of informed consent whenever possible?

evil or indifference...sometimes i wonder which is the more destructive.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thanks, pj, for continuing the discussion. I agree that the scientific “cures” are often worse than the “disease.” I prefer to seek wholeness, and the grace to be able to see the gift that is inherent in every “disability” (including my own).

Yewtree said...

Hi Kitt, yes there are some interesting parallels between Krishna and Christ. Apparently Krishna also called 12 disciples.

I did a quick Google and found this website about LGBT Vaisnavism. But ISKCON, the main Hare Kirshna movement, seems anti-LGBT.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thanks, Yewtree, your link is a great resource on the LGBT aspect of Hinduism, and I expect that I will visit it often. I especially enjoyed the picture of Krishna cross-dressed as a woman and their summary of the queer aspects of Hindu deities. They’re way ahead of us in this department:

* Deities that are hermaphrodite (half man, half woman)
* Deities that manifest in all three genders
* Male deities who become female, or female deities who become male
* Male deities with female moods, or female deities with male moods
* Deities born from two males, or from two females
* Deities born from a single male, or from a single female
* Deities who avoid the opposite sex, and
* Deities with principal companions of the same gender