On Christmas day, comedian/possible Oscar nominee Sarah Silverman tweeted “Merry Christmas! Jesus was gender fluid!” And then the internet exploded. Christians went BANANAS. They bombarded her twitter with anti-Semitic insults, disparaging comments about her looks, and death threats. Over a silly joke. It didn’t even really mean anything, of course. It was just Sarah being Sarah. Of course Jesus wasn’t gender fluid. I mean: He was pretty, if you go by the blond-haired, blue-eyed, hippy-dippy Disney prince we saw in Sunday School, but except for the long hair and fluttery eyelashes, he was a man. ALL man. Sarah was just poking the bear for something to do. It’s what she does.
Slate had an interesting take on why the tweet was so upsetting to so many people:
No one actually thinks that Silverman has some deeply held opinions about Jesus and gender. The whole point of this tweet is to put something conservatives like to act pious about — Jesus Christ — next to something that makes them uncomfortable — gender fluidity — and laugh at them while they overreact like a bunch of oversensitive babies. If conservatives don’t like the joke, they could have deprived her of the punch line by refusing to react, but instead, they gave her ample amounts of material to laugh at.
Silverman’s little experiment worked so well because it played not off ideas about religion and gender, but off understanding that the modern conservative movement is primarily, almost exclusively, about culture war. The narrative that undergirds and justifies the conservative movement is a belief that American culture used to be a wholesome one, a world where white Christian men were properly held in esteem above all others and people supposedly had good (read: conservative) values. And that now it’s all under assault by multiculturalism, queer-positivity, feminism and sex positivity.
So now SARAH is the one under assault, if you go by the reaction to her tweet. Check out some of the more entertaining responses below.
Last year, Silverman appeared in a video with a faux Jesus to talk about abortion rights, and spoke about the symbol of Jesus and Christianity in a Rolling Stone interview.
“[T]o me, I love the symbol of Jesus,” she said. “It’s so odd to me that so many people on the far right use his name to justify terrible things that I can’t imagine he’d approve of.”
“And I’m not against Christianity,” she added. “I date Catholic men! That’s always what they come back with, ‘Sarah Silverman mocks Christianity!’ I’m not! As a matter of fact, I have no religion and many people in my life that I love and respect and even look up to have religion. I’m not out to prove them wrong.”