Via David Roberts on Twitter
, I came across this article by Anglican priest Paul Oestreicher asserting that Jesus was gay
. I was initially inclined to simply dismiss it, as the textual evidence is far too thin to draw any definite conclusions about Jesus' sexuality (either that of Jesus-the-man, assuming he even existed at all, or Jesus-the-character). But I was struck by this passage:
After much reflection and with certainly no wish to shock, I felt I was left with no option but to suggest, for the first time in half a century of my Anglican priesthood, that Jesus may well have been homosexual. Had he been devoid of sexuality, he would not have been truly human. To believe that would be heretical.
Oestreicher's purpose in saying that Jesus is gay is to encourage acceptance of people who are not heterosexual. And he wants to strike back against puritanical attitudes that suggest a sexless Jesus would be better or more holy. And yet in doing so, he implies that asexual people are not truly human. A lack of sexual and/or romantic attraction to others, he says, would make Jesus not fully human, and his ability to function as our savior depends on his being fully human.
But there are plenty of asexual humans out there. It's hard to get reliable statistics and a lot depends on how you draw the line, but the information I've seen suggests that there are probably as many asexual people as there are gays and lesbians. Asexuality is its own experience, and so asexual people aren't missing out on part of what it means to be human any more than sexual people are missing out by not knowing asexuality.
And in any event, Jesus is already held by the church to have lacked one experience even more universal than sexuality -- sin. The Bible is far more clear
about Jesus' sinlessness than about his sexuality. If sinlessness doesn't make Jesus inhuman, how could asexuality?
My point is not that Jesus was definitely asexual. Oestreicher is welcome to assert that working within the Anglican interpretive system, Jesus should be held to be gay, and as an atheist I have no grounds to dispute that. My point is simply that he should not use an untrue and discriminatory factual claim -- that asexuality is less than truly human -- as a step in his argument.