Experience satirical wonderfulness below….
A few years ago, I preached a sermon about a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and was about to be stoned by some Jewish guys… which is a pretty terrible way to die. In the story – as told in the Bible – Jesus comes to the woman’s rescue. Many of us know his heroic line, “he who has no sin can cast the first stone.”
What we sometimes miss in this story is that when Jesus said this famous sentence, he went from kneeling in the dirt to standing next to her. When Jesus stood up for the woman, he literally stood up for the woman, taking his place confidently at her side.
Of course, Jesus stands for us, too. It’s nice to know, however, that he’s not the only one…
(This video is from ABC’s “What Would You Do?” It’s an experiment to see how customers in a Texas diner will react to a gay couple and their family. Before you watch, get a tissue… seriously…. especially if you’re from the South)
However, when this gay icon puts out a video featuring thirteen of history’s most famous Christian icons (Jesus and his 12 disciples), she piques my interest. I don’t smear glitter on my face and break open a box of glo sticks…. but I do pay attention.
Gaga recently released a song called “Judas.” The video features Gaga riding in a motorcycle gang with the 12 disciples, perched on the back of Jesus’s Harley. Even though her arms are wrapped around Jesus, she’s obviously longing for Judas – the bad boy who, according to the Bible, ultimately betrayed Jesus to the Romans.
“I’m just a holy fool, oh baby it’s so cruel, but I’m still in love with Judas, baby.”
Patrick Cheng, a religion writer for the Huffington Post, has an interesting perspective on the video that involves viewing the historical Judas as one of the heroes of Jesus’s story. You’ll need to read the article to completely understand his logic, but it involves the question:
Could it be that those of us who are often reviled as the Judases (that is, the “betrayers” of the faith) of today — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — are in fact the most loyal to Jesus’ message and to the “scandal of the cross”? Could it be that LGBT people understand quite intimately what it means to be crucified over Jesus’ gospel values of unconditional love and the Word made flesh?
That’s an interesting idea, but I wonder if something else is going on in the Gaga video.
We’re all aware that when LGBT people walk out of the closet, many of them also walk away from their faith. They feel the church and its gospel have been too hurtful for too long… so they kiss Jesus goodbye.
Gaga is – obviously – a gay icon. I didn’t elect her as queen, but she’s risen to the throne, nonetheless. A marketing genius, her songs are often written for/to the gay community. She knows our culture and is well aware that many of us struggle with our faith. And so, when Gaga sings “Jesus is my virtue, Judas is the demon I cling to,” she’s obviously making a statement… but what is she saying? Is she making Judas a symbol of our sexuality?
Is she playing to the fact that many of us feel that by giving into our gayness we’re betraying Christ? Is she saying that we are Judas (and she loves us)?
Is she celebrating the one who betrayed Jesus as a way of telling us “you were once a disciple, but now it’s time to give up that nonsense?” Is she encouraging LGBT people to walk away from what they once believed? Is she saying we should be Judas (and she loves us)?
Is she acknowledging the struggle we feel between our faith (Jesus is my virtue) and our sexuality (Judas is the demon I cling to), suggesting that they’re two sides of the same coin? Is she saying that we should dance within the tension between our Judas and our Jesus (and she loves us)?
Or is she just saying that given the choice between sinner and saint, she always falls for the bad boy. *sigh* Wouldn’t that be disappointing? I would hate to see Gaga fall into yet another bad romance.
Of course, those questions probably won’t make sense until you see the video (which, I must admit, is kinda’ fantastic)…