The 18th of July marks the 10 month anniversary of Jamey Rodemeyer’s suicide. A cloud that has almost wholly enveloped and wounded me in ways I never felt possible for about eight of those.
It has been a time of a seemingly violent shift in perspective on my part and whilst a year ago I was beating off atheists on a “Fuck Atheism” Facebook group, now I have decidedly come down on their side.Whereas I once defended the rights of a Christian couple with a good record of adoption to bring up children even though they wouldn’t be able to approve of its turning out gay (and lost a friend in doing so), now I am determined to be as heartless and merciless with them as they would have been to their gay child. I will apply the same simple minded “catch all” logic to them as they do to people like him and me.
It has been a painful process and has led me into arguing against people I have a natural empathy with but, on this one issue, cannot compromise with.
I suppose the danger here is that I become as bad as they are but unless one force is met with an equally strong opposing one, then no workable compromise can be thrashed out. Besides, it seems to me that, from my knowledge of church history, this view of heterosexual marriage being the ultimate expression of Christian morality and everything outside it being sin seems a pretty recent development anyway. It didn’t officially become a sacrament until the early 13th century and, before that, marriage was regarded pretty much as a fallback for Christians for whom the stark expectations of a celibacy/procreation only anti-materialistic life proved too much. The only source I can find clearly stating that divine sanctions should be preached against all forms of sexual contact outside marriage come from Plato’s “Laws” where the main protagonist openly suggests that prohibiting homosexual relations could quite easily be effected by making a part of state law and social thinking that such things were an abomination in the sight of God and that only within marriage should it be deemed socially acceptable. He also then states that such a thing would prove difficult to achieve owing to the public outcry were it to become law.
Recently there was an article in the press about how a retired priest in a civil partnership in Chichester was being banned from performing voluntary activities at a church local to him by the Bishop there because he refused to specify whether his partnership was celibate or not. It seems it was a case of canon law being breached if it wasn’t. I was reminded pretty much of what Alan Turing suffered at the hands of the authorities over his proclivities and was quite shocked to discover these risible and insulting laws still existed. There is, after all, nothing that this man and his partner could do in bed that a heterosexual couple couldn’t and how does this pompous little prelate of a bishop (Wallace Benn, himself allegedly under investigation for ordaining paedophiles in the 1970’s and 80’s (google him up)) know for a fact that among his pious priesthood there are actually none that routinely “ride the brown saddle” with their holy relicts? It should be added that the Bishop’s move here was not popular with the people this priest gave his voluntary services to, the congregations and the parishes he helped with have rallied to his support which is encouraging news at least.
Personally I find it absurd that a group of people who have deviated so far away from the teachings of the founding fathers of the church themselves believe they have any moral authority to behave in this manner. According to the founding fathers the sin this priest and his partner may have committed (or not as the case may be) would be to engage in non-procreational sex. Nothing more, nothing less. A sin that these Bishops and prelates consider o.k when it applies to their own bedrooms of course. In fact if you think about it, the almighty seems to be incredibly flexible in his treatment of heterosexuals and their innate desire to engage in marital fornication. He’s gone from the early condemnation of non-proceative sex and expectation of conjugal purity found in the writings of St Augustine et al to a kind of “free for all once you’ve had the blessing” attitude. So much for the unchangeable nature of God’s Law. Or perhaps he hasn’t and the craven animalian lusts of heterosexual couples merely think he has. I must confess I would simply love it if the whole heterosexual cortege were burned in everlasting fire on account of the Church Fathers being right about what constituted “Sodomitical Heresy.”
For myself the sight of some Christian or other spamming one of Jamey Rodemeyer’s videos with, to me, obscenely offensive comments about his now burning in hell made me realize that I no longer wish to associate myself with such heartless vermin. I feel I have reached a kind of Gnostic revelation point where the divinity they worship appears to me to be the embodiment of all evil and is somebody to be moved away from pretty sharpish. It does help to realize that the god supposedly responsible for all this (Yahweh) started life as an Iron Age tribal fetish (one of thousands) and only became “Lord of All” thanks to the King of a victorious tribe electing him to serve as the one God of his newly acquired territories. Similar to what Akhnaten did in Egypt only with more political success. Perhaps, if Constantine had not converted, Christianity would have gone the way of Mithras and all those other dying god myths that proliferated during that time. Or perhaps the more edifying Christ of the “Gospel of Thomas” would have come to the fore more and perhaps those people who are so keen to put gay people in the dock would have gained the requisite self knowledge indicting them for such things.
For the moment, however, I have discovered through seeing the loss of such a beautiful life as that of Jamey, and the experience of talking some other anonymous kid down from the ledge he was standing on that I have other priorities in this life. If the God of the Christians does neither see nor empathize with these much abused yet beautiful creations of his, that is hardly my fault. To quote Sir Michael Tippett’s 3rd Symphony “We shall give milk. We shall give kisses.”