June 19, 1566– King James I commissioned what we now call The King James Bible and that version of the holy book is dedicated to him. King James loved men and he had sex with them, lots of sex. I wonder if Mike Pence thinks about that while on a rant quoting Leviticus.
The title page of The King James Bible boasts that it was: “newly translated out of the original tongues”, but the work is actually a revision of The Bishop’s Bible of 1568, which was a revision of The Great Bible from 1539, which was itself based on three previous English translations from the early 1500s. So, the men who produced The King James Bible not only inherited all of the errors made by previous English translators, and invented some special ones of their own.
Without King James I of England (he was also King James VI of Scotland, but that would make this post even more confusing), the most widely used Bible in Christiandom would never have been produced. When I was in Presbyterian Sunday School as a tot, I wish the teacher had thought to mention that the quoted scripture reading was from the Big Gay Bible.
So, here is how all this happened: When Mary Queen Of Scots was forced to abdicate, her one-year-old son James became the King of Scotland. At 14-years-old, James fell in love with 38-year-old hipster Esme Stewart, the 1st Duke Of Lennox and a dude. Accounts from the time claim:
“Stewart was in such love with him as in the open sight of the people often times he will clasp him about the neck with his arms and kiss him.”
The disapproving Scottish nobles forced Lennox to choose between James and his Catholicism. He chose James. Afterwards, Lennox’s life was threatened and he fled to France. Who can blame him?
When Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, James became King James I of England. His sexploits with men were well known in English society and snooty Londoners snidely said:
“Elizabeth was King, now James is Queen.”
In 1607, James fell in love while he attended a jousting tournament. His heart skipped a beat when got a gander at 17-year-old cutie pie Robert Carr as he was being thrown from his horse, breaking his leg. James was so smitten that he made Carr a gentleman of the Order Of The King’s Bedchamber. He showered Carr with gifts, among them the divorce decree for the married woman that Carr was in love with. When Carr married her, James gave Carr as a wedding gift the title 1st Earl Of Somerset. Carr actually preferred the wife to James, even when it was revealed she had poisoned his BFF Sir Thomas Overbury, who had been very much against their marriage. After she was arrested, in order to save her life, Carr threatened to reveal his own sexual relationship with King James at the trial. Carr didn’t, but his wife confessed her crime and they were both sentenced to death by beheading. Kathy Griffin had absolutely nothing to do with this. James held them in the Tower Of London for seven long years, and then… he pardoned them. Just like that. He even gave them a country estate with their chance to begin anew. Sweet?
James next fell for hunky George Villiers, whom he later made 1st Duke Of Buckingham. Buckingham became very chummy with James’ Danish wife Anne (James had married her by proxy when she was just 14-years-old). Anne called Buckingham her “dog”. But, she addressed him tenderly in affectionate letters begging him to be “always true” to her husband. Buckingham wrote in a letter to James:
“Sir, all the way hither I entertained myself, your unworthy servant, with this dispute, whether you loved me now… better than at the time which I shall never forget at Farnham, where the bed’s head could not be found between the master and his dog.”
James described the marriage to Anne as: “The greatest earthly felicitie or miserie, that can come to a man”.
In their correspondence, James addressed Bucky as his spouse stating:
“I desire only to live in this world for your sake. I had rather live banished in any part of the Earth with you than live a sorrowful widow’s life without you. God bless you, my sweet child and lover, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband.”
King James I was unashamed of his love for Buckingham and he told his critics:
“I, James, am neither a god nor an angel, but a man like any other. Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had John, and I have George.”
Anne left this world in 1619 when she was just 44-years-old. James did not attend his wife’s funeral, claiming that he felt sick.
Buckingham was at his side when James took his last breath in 1625. He was just 50-years-old and he had probably drank himself to death. You can visit him now at Westminster Abbey.
If he had lived, King James I would be celebrating his 451st birthday today, June 19th. He probably would have had a small gathering, serving a special cake made by his French baker plus a little bubbly at Sir Elton John’s place in London’s posh Holland Park neighborhood, along with assembled guests: Simon Callow, Stephen Fry, Lady Gaga Of Manhattan, The Beckhams, Dame Helen Mirren, and my boo, Harry Windsor.
Aside from his translation of The Bible, James’ legacy includes a theme park named Jamestown, located in the New World colony of Virginia. They feature a Mary Queen Of Scots Guillotine Ride and a Bubonic Plague Fun House featuring giant rats.
The King James Version of The Bible is my preferred version of the Christian book, with its powerful and poetic language in the manner and style of William Shakespeare.