Americans today seek belief in our worth from both God and Hollywood. And our political system codifies our legitimacy.
Ironically, many Christians and politicians reject marriage equality. Hollywood is another dangerously distorted lens for humanity since it perpetuates the antiquated patriarchal structure of the traditional Christian church: white, Alpha-male hetero-normativity that diminishes others’ stories. Gay artists still must contort to stay viable in the framework of falsely idealized American manhood and womanhood — trapped artistically, socially, spiritually.
Hollywood is considered to be sexually open, but sexual expression onscreen is typically exploited for “red-blooded American male” sensibilities, while the authentic sexualities and complex anima of LGBTs (and women) are caricatured. Because Christianity and Hollywood haven’t represented gay people thoroughly and honestly, American policy doesn’t reflect empathy and identification with the reality of their full humanness.
I wrote “Femmevangelical” to inspire spiritual (but perhaps not religious) folks to reclaim the original evangel of Jesus. It’s the unorthodox good news that the God of justice ordains freedom, equality and wholeness for all people. It’s opposite of the traditional Evangelical rusty-chastity-belt-laden construct of damnation.
If we ignore separation of church and state, and make equality about religion, we must note that in 2005, the United Church of Christ was first to vote for gay marriage, making it a First Amendment-protected right of an established religion. Religious freedom is often misused to violate LGBTs the way the Roman Empire attacked Jesus. Jesus vexed the powers that persecuted marginalized people in first-century Roman-occupied Palestine, announcing: “God’s spirit anointed me to release captives of a society that strips people of dignity, opportunity and agency.” He indicted a culture that politically oppressed unprotected out-groups. Like turning water into wine for the wedding, Jesus would have baked a cake for a same-sex couple. He went to the cross for deeds like that.
My faith was restored June 26 as the U.S. redeemed the patriarchal Christian “God” and Hollywood boys’ club, upholding justice for all by recognizing marriage equality. LGBT people aren’t sidekicks or sinners, comedic relief or apocalyptic signs. The highest form of divinity — and the American Dream — lies in being included as diverse human beings and free to take our rightful place.
Jennifer Crumpton is the author of “Femmevangelical: The Modern Girl’s Guide to the Good News.”