Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holy Innocents Day: Queer 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, and I love Loreena McKennitt’s version from her “Midwinter Night’s Dream” album (video below).

The slaughter of the innocents also has a LGBT connection. Last year’s post about Holy Innocents Day 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.

The genocide of queer people is also explored in our previous post, “Ex-Gay movement as genocide.” The ex-gay movement fits the definition of genocide as outlined by the United Nations, according to startling new scholarship that may help prevent mass murder.Most people think of genocide as mass murder of a group, but the “social death” inflicted on LGBT people by the ex-gay movement is a form of genocide that can lead to mass murder, according to a ground-breaking article by professors Sue E. Spivey and Christine M. Robinson of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Edited highlights from comments last year 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 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."

KittKatt said...
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 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.

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Trudie said...

In a synchronicity that I had not noticed until this year, the three major commemorations the Church celebrates immediately after the Feast of the Nativity include St. Stephen (Dec. 26, the First Martyr)which as you noted, St. Wenceslaus and Podiven, potentially "gay saints", are mentioned in the song as celebrating by giving alms to the poor; St. John the Evangelist, the "beloved disciple", and the Holy Innocents.

In other words, LOVE is bookended by martyrdom, and in both cases the killing was very much focused on maintaining the status quo. This is why, indeed, the parallel to current day abuse and rejection of gays is so striking. The power brokers of our time, like those of Jesus' time, see true love as a terrifying threat to their control by fear. We must indeed stop fearing to love as God has given us the call to do!

Kittredge Cherry said...

I noticed that there are a lot of LGBT-oriented saints in late December, but your analysis of the synchronicity digs deep and finds rich meaning. The trend will continue tomorrow with the feast day for David and Jonathan.

Bob said...

I have wondered if Jesus was born intersexed. The creation story states God made male and female in God's own image, God being not one gender identity and all gender identities. Why not then when God comes in human form to have multiple gender indentities?

Kittredge Cherry said...

Jesus treated women much better than usual in ancient Israel, and seemed to transcend “male” and “female” ways of being. It makes sense to me that he may have been born physically intersex. However, his genitalia must have appeared to be normal male or he would not have been allowed into the male-only areas of the Temple in Jerusalem. There are laws about this in the Bible.