Transsexual Jesus Sparks Glasgow Church Protests
I saw the headline for this article on my RSS feeder and knew I’d be writing about it as soon as I had the chance. The entire subject, from Christian pressure groups, to a personal engagement with Jesus by a trans author, was bound to turn my head. So here goes…
Unlike most of my Christian friends, I actually know more than a handful of Trans people. I realise that there are some issues that affect all of them, and that there are some issues that affect only one or two, as Trans is a much more diverse category than Gay or Straight might be.
Where Gay Christians are exposed and ridiculed, Trans Christians are often marginalised into oblivion. I once tried to do some research on theological responses to Trans issues and discovered that almost nothing existed; in a sense, Trans communities weren’t even afforded a condemnation, they simply didn’t exist in the vast sea of reading material that Christian publishers flood Christian bookstores, Church bookstalls and Vicarage Studies with.
Anyhow, the two things I found most affronting about this issue were as follows: the choice of wording on one of the reported placards, and the implicit allusion to Islamic protests like those against the so-called “Danish Cartoons”.
First things first: “God: my son is not a pervert”. Good, that’s another thing Jesus had in common with all my Trans friends, apart from being hated by the conservatives of his time, completely misunderstood and assumed to be most everything he wasn’t.
Lets put aside the idea that Jesus can’t defend himself as a full and equal member of the Triune Godhead (i.e. God the Father has to tell us what God the Son is or isn’t instead of God the Son just saying it anyhow), tempting as I might find that debate. This kind of wanton neglect to even begin to try and understand anything shows that this isn’t some kind of intellectually sophisticated kind of anti-Trans message, the sort that might not strictly be an irrational fear, it is all-out Transphobia. Whoever came up with that placard, rather than having figured out a (ill-)reasoned approach to Trans people, has reacted to an unknown in a completely unacceptable way.
Then there’s this comment from one of the “Pastors” present:
"If this play had treated the prophet Mohammed in the same way there would have been a strong reaction from the Islamic community, but that just wouldn’t happen."
I’m more than a little worried about the undertones of this. Does this person actually mean “This wouldn’t happen to Mohammed because then there’d be violence”? Because that’s only one step removed from “So we should give them what-for so they don’t come near us”. Surely there should be some recognition of the fact that we are lucky to live in a world where we can criticise religions? He seems critical of other churches that have allowed gay priests, bishops, marriages, etc. but then expects to be immune from criticism?
Besides, Jesus has put up with blasphemy for 2000 years, what’s new? People have shouted abuse in his name and killed in his name and generally been complete fuckwits in his name ever since it was first known! I can’t help but feel that if either side in this case is committing blasphemy, it might well be the protesters. Surely Jesus would have a far better understanding of Trans issues than any of them. And surely, for the love of God, its time the church got to grips with these issues, rather than reacting to what it thinks it knows?