Righty though I am, I am no prude. My own sense of rightness about my sexual desires is pretty evident to anyone who knows me. And although I no longer practice the Catholic religion that shaped my life for almost four decades, I have worked through a lot of my differences with my ancestral tradition and retain a very deep appreciation for it. I have little patience with the all-too-common adolescent anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity that passes for spirituality around here. And like a lot of righties who have their personal issues with religious bodies, I believe that strong and healthy religious traditions are a crucial part of what makes our society work.
Living in San Francisco, blasphemy is no rarity in my experience. This is a pretty irreligious place, and the gay ghetto where I live provides especially frequent examples. The robust and theatrical sexual styles which the Folsom Street Fair celebrates do not put me off at all. Several of the people in this poster are folks that I know.
So why does this poster offend me?
Well, it takes a revered Christian image, the Last Supper, and publicly sexualizes it in a way that is purposely designed to outrage. It is no secret to anyone who pays attention that liberal culture delights in practicing contempt for Christianity. And any Christian individual, group or institution that responds negatively will immediately be painted as oppressively censorious, humorless, lacking in sophistication, etc. And among gays, the paranoia about the "Christian Right" will be activated. (George Bush, by the way, only has a year or so to open up all those concentration camps for homos that the professional LGBT victims have been squawking about...he better hurry up about it. God, can the man do nothing right?).
My further reason for reacting as I do is that this kind of blasphemy --surely imagined as some brave artistic statement by its perpetrators-- will never be enacted on other religions. Why? Because it is safe to trash Christianity. The script is secure and there will be no consequences.
We have just been treated, courtesy of Columbia University, to a startling revelation by the President of Iran, that there are no Persian homosexuals. I guess the ones that were publicly hung from cranes were the last ones in the country. Here we have a religious tradition, Islam, which is the most violently homophobic on earth. What are the chances, do you think, that the brave souls who put together this poster would some day take a Muslim religious scene and perform a similar sexualization? Just think of the possibilities: all those Muslim men at Friday prayers, row on row with their faces to the ground and their asses in the air.
But the blind multicultural pieties which suffocate gaydom make insulting this religion and its highly excitable practitioners unthinkable.
So I am offended by the poster not only for the prima facie reason that it treats a sacred Christian image contemptuously in public, but because its cachet of brave resistance is actually just stupid conventionality, narcissism and, ultimately, cowardice.