This provocative poem came to my attention on Kittredge Cherry’s blog Jesus in Love, a site that showcases images of GLBT spirituality and other nontraditional portrayals of the divine. Kitt writes:
Xavier makes sweet poetry out of his experiences as a gay Latino whose painful past includes sexual abuse at age 3 and rejection by his Catholic mother for being gay at age 16, leading to homelessness, drug dealing, prostitution — and at last to poetry….
…I perceived the face of Christ in his poems, even the [sexually explicit] ones. The book’s implication is that the rejected gay Jesus might turn to sex, drugs and prostitution to survive in America today. And our Savior would still embody love and beauty amid the muck.
In interviews, [Xavier] credits poetry with saving his life. “Fortunately, I walked away unscathed,” he told CNN. “I thought that God had given me a second chance, and I felt like I had to do something with that.”
Xavier has given me permission to reprint “If Jesus Were Gay”, the title poem of his collection, below. Visit his website at http://www.emanuelxavier.com/.
If Jesus Were Gay
If Jesus were gay,
would you tattoo him to your body?
hang him from your chest?
pray to him and worship the Son of Man?
Would you still praise him
after dying for your sins?
If it was revealed Jesus kissed another man,
but not on the cheek,
would you still beg him for forgiveness?
ask him for miracles?
hope your loved ones get to meet him
If Jesus were gay,
and still loved by God and Mary
because he was their child after all
hailed by all angels and feared by demons,
would you still long to be healed by him?
take him into your home and comfort him?
heal his wounds and break bread with him?
Would wars be waged over religion?
Would world leaders invoke his name
Would churches everywhere rejoice
and celebrate his life?
Would rappers still thank him
in their acceptance speeches?
If the crown of thorns
were placed on his head
to mock him as the “Queen of the Jews”
If he was whipped
because fags are considered
If he was crucified
for the brotherhood of man
would you still repent?
Would you pray to him
when you were dying?
If he didn’t ask for you to be just like him,
If he only wanted you to love yourself,
If he asked that you not judge others,
Would you still wait for him to come back and save your soul?
Would you deny him?
Would you believe in peace?
Would there still be hate?
Would there still be hell?
Would there be laws
based on the meaning of true love?
What would Jesus do?
What would you do?
Listen to his poem “Waiting for God”, a plea to end police brutality, on YouTube: