This month Netflix premiered a Christmas special from the Brazilian comedy troupe Porta dos Fundos titled The First Temptation of Christ that features a gay Jesus Christ (Gregório Duvivier) introducing his boyfriend to his family and God after spending 40 days in the desert. Mary and Joseph have organized a surprise party for Jesus’s 30th birthday, with God as a guest. The three wise men arrive at the party with a prostitute as a guest, and offer snacks made of pork, which they try to pass off as soy.
The special is pure satire, and it is now, of course, a target for religious conservatives, with an online petition of more than two million signatures demanding that Netflix and the comedy troupe be “held responsible for the crime of vilification of the faith and a public retraction, for they have seriously offended Christians.”
Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro—tweeted:
“…we are in favor of freedom of expression, but is it worth attacking the faith of 86% of the population?”
It does seem that worshiping a ripped, hung man, is at least a little bit queer. Jesus is usually shown surrounded by other hot dudes, telling everyone to love and care about each other. He later gets the shit beaten out of him by a bunch of closed-minded conservatives who are terrified of change.
Dr. Reverend Robert Shore-Goss, an openly gay minister wrote Queering Christ And Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay And Lesbian Manifesto (2013). He has a degree in Comparative Religion from Harvard, and he believes that Jesus was gay. Shore Goss:
“I would hope he is. I would project that he is. For my own spirituality, I would love to jump into bed with Jesus. At the very least, Jesus was queer. That is to say: He broke the rules of his culture, of heteronormativity. He subverted masculinities and gender codes in his culture. Queer doesn’t necessarily mean sexual orientation, but it can include that. Saint Paul, I would say, would probably be described as a closeted homosexual today, but they didn’t have those words at the time.
There was no concept of sexual orientation, but there was a concept of gender. So, in the Bible, when a man sleeps with another man like with a woman, it’s an abomination. See, the emphasis is on a man betraying his status: He has feminized himself. So, it’s a gender violation as opposed to a sexual violation. The code of masculinity is very strong in the ancient world. Now, homoerotic relationships in the ancient world are really common, especially in the Greek and Roman worlds.”
“Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher, and pretty much every rabbi at the time was married. But there’s no testimony of Jesus’s marriage. There are some interesting theories, Jesus could have been bisexual and carried on a relationship with Mary Magdalene and the beloved disciple. Perhaps he was intersex or trans, because he was born without a father, and therefore was born female and took on the phenotype of a male.”
It’s a good sort argument. The Catholic position says that Jesus is perfect, so therefore he is intrinsically good and intrinsically ordered. They say gays are intrinsically evil and intrinsically disordered. Evangelicals will say that Jesus was perfect so that, in order to be saved for evangelicals, you must be straight to be saved. But if Jesus was gay, and he was perfect, it’s only the gay people that are going to heaven. That’s so deliciously ironic.
If Jesus was fully human, he must have been fully erotic. That would mean that sexuality was a positive thing, because we need to reclaim the fact that sexuality is a good thing, whatever sexuality that you are.
Jesus, as a queer human, could relate to the struggle of queer people; feeling like outcasts, having violence perpetrated on them for their queerness, whatever it may be. Even if Jesus wasn’t gay, I imagine he’d certainly feel more kinship with the minority of queers than the heteronormative Christians who preach hate.
Fundamentalists are vehement about a straight Jesus because they have so much internalized homophobia; they have those same attractions to the same sex that they need to stamp them out in other people. Jesus was not a fundamentalist. He spoke in parables and metaphor and story.
Ironically, the controversy only seems to have helped publicize the special episode, which has now become the most viewed Brazilian production in the history of Netflix, and a new special has already been ordered for 2020.
This is the second year Netflix has offered a Christmas special by Porta dos Fundos. Their 2018 special The Last Hangover, won an Emmy Award. It shows the apostles with a major hangover after a night of drinking wine, trying to find a missing Jesus. It was a clear spoof to the film The Hangover (2009), and it was not the subject of protests.
Porta dos Fundos co-founder Fábio Porchat:
“We play at insinuating that Jesus has a new friend, and probably this new friend is gay, but they have just been having fun and a very good time in the desert for 40 days. If anybody should be angry with us, it should be the gay community because a gay character turns out to be the Devil. But the gay community loves us!“
“For some Catholics here in Brazil, it’s okay if Jesus is a bad guy, uses drugs: That’s no problem. The problem is he’s gay. No, he can’t be gay. And that’s interesting because Jesus is everything. God is black and white and gay and straight. God is everything. It’s more homophobic to be insulted by a gay Jesus than to make Jesus special.“