Jesus arrives as a gay man of today in a modern city with “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision,” a controversial series of paintings that are newly available as a book.
The paintings and the new book that I wrote about them have been attacked as blasphemy by conservative Christians. But we refuse to concede Jesus to those who act like they own the copyright on Christ, then use him as a weapon to dominate others.
The contemporary queer Christ figure is persecuted, killed and rises again in the 24 paintings by New York artist Doug Blanchard. A surprisingly diverse group of friends join the gay Jesus on a journey from suffering to freedom.
Right-wing Christians denounced us as “blasphemers” and condemned our book as an “abomination,” “disgusting” and “an outrage to mock Christ in this manner.” Facebook canceled ads for the book because it was too “shocking.” When the LGBT community protested, the social media company reversed its decision and “resurrected” the ad.
LGBT Christian visions are important now because conservatives are using religion to justify discrimination against queer people. Whenever anyone commits violence against another, Christ is crucified again — including when LGBT people are attacked or killed because of who they are.
Every group envisions Christ in their own image from their own context, and now there is a gay vision of Jesus, shaped by the political, economic and cultural forces of our time. LGBT people often identify with the hurt and humiliation that Jesus experienced on the cross.