Monday, July 09, 2007

Would Jesus wear Gucci?

By Capt. Fogg

Mary Zeiss Stange asks "
What would Luther do?" in her USA Today editorial. What an odd question to ask in the 21st century! The conjecture concerns acceptance of gay relationships by Protestant churches. While acknowledging Martin Luther's condemnation of "sodomites" she asks:

"But would the man whose break from Roman Catholicism involved a revolutionary rethinking of the role of sexuality in human relationships take such a negative view of homosexuality today?" -- and answers "Most probably, given the way his theological mind worked, he would not."

Of course that's precisely to say that he would no longer be the Luther who wrote On the Jews and their Lies and who had a real appreciation for the light they cast when burned alive. That would not be the Luther who told us that the Devil was the God of the world or who ran about his bedroom in a frenzy; flinging his own feces at Satan. It wouldn't be Luther at all, in fact; it would be a ventriloquist's dummy mouthing modern sentiments to soothe the modern conscience.

Of course she's only following in the ancient tradition of sculpting a God who tells us what we want to hear and justifies our prejudices, actions and inactions. When Paul of Tarsus says "
there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female," would he today add "gay or straight" she asks? I'm almost as concerned to know what Jesus would do for lunch if he were a Pakistani convenience store owner in Festus, Missouri.

Is there any more bone-headed tendency of the human ape than to ask questions of long dead people who couldn't survive in our world about what they would do if they weren't themselves? Asking a bigoted, unwashed, superstitious religious zealot from the 16th century if he would retain his prejudices today is as absurd as it is unproductive. The question we need to ask of ourselves is why do we retain his prejudices?

(Cross-posted at
Human Voices.)

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