A few years ago, evangelical Christian, Craig Gross started handing out “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” Bibles at erotica conventions, which provided a titillating story for the mainstream media to exploit. His ministry, which includes an online church for those suffering from porn addiction (XXXChurch.com), has recently expanded to attending Gay Pride festivals, where he organizes the handing out of “Jesus Loves You” water bottles and wrist bracelets. Gross commenced his recent “pro-gay” crusade by staging a counter-protest against Fred Phelps’ infamously kooky wee church, spreading what can only be described as a sort of “God Loves Fags” message. The message is intended as a reversal of the officially expressed anti-porn and anti-gay stance of most American Christians. In other words, they’re saying, “we are following Jesus’ example, and letting everybody in” (to inclusion in the Church, that is).
Except, as Candace Chellew-Hodge writes in a recent Religion Dispatches article, they’re not really. The apparent universalism of their expressed position turns out, on closer examination, to be an exclusion of real flesh-and-blood fags and pornstars. Who is really accepted? Is it those with non-monogamous, non-heterosexual sexual habits? I don’t think so. Instead, it is reconfigured, imaginary people, once they have been viewed through an idealistic eschatological lens – as if they were incorporated into the exclusivist Christian group, or rather, if they were in fact already the very same members of that group. The message is: we will include you, if you are not you… in fact, if you are, well, us! The one thing this purported universal Christian love will not do is love the person as they are, let alone allow a gay man to penetrate their community.
Randomly generated quote from Badiou, LaClau, Žižek, or Negri:
“What is perceived here as the problem is precisely the Christian universalism: what this all-inclusive attitude (recall St. Paul’s famous “There are no men or women, no Jews and Greeks”) involves is a thorough exclusion of those who do not accept inclusion into the Christian community. In other “particularistic” religions (and even in Islam, in spite of its global expansionism), there is a place for others, they are tolerated, even if they are condescendingly looked upon. The Christian motto “All men are brothers,” however, means ALSO that “Those who are not my brothers ARE NOT MEN.” Christians usually praise themselves for overcoming the Jewish exclusivist notion of the Chosen People and encompassing all of humanity – the catch here is that, in their very insistence that they are the Chosen People with the privileged direct link to God, Jews accept the humanity of the other people who celebrate their false gods, while Christian universalism tendenti[ous]ly excludes non-believers from the very universality of humankind.”
(Slavoj Žižek, On Belief. Routledge, 2001: 143-144)
Chellew-Hodge notes that one of Gross’s partner churches in the recent Atlanta Gay Pride outreach was “Perimeter Church” – “a member of the Presbyterian Church in America—the ultra-conservative arm of the Presbyterian Church.” That indicates the type of interests attracted to this ”kinder, gentler Fred Phelps.”
Interestingly, Perimeter Church offers an introductory presentation to their church (for anybody, including curious ex-gays and ex-porn-stars). They have called this introductory presentation, “Tasting the Perimeter.” If you’re interesting in tasting the perimeter with them, you should establish contact with the organizer, whose name is Randy Pope.