"Adam and Eve" not "Adam and Steve": Sex, Race, and the Body of Christ



7 comments
Protesters holding picture of Jesus Christ, cross, rosaries, and sign: "God not Created Adam and Steve nor Gays and Aids."
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney_NY0652b/
William Gedney is perhaps my favorite photographer. He captured the African American boy as Sunday School king that makes for the cover of The Color of Christ. He also created this photograph in 1983 of protesters in New York City. The sign reads "God Not Created Adam and Steve Nor Gays and Aids." In the background is a Sacred Heart Jesus. It shows how even the body of Jesus has been linked to readings of Genesis to be brought into discussions and debates about sexuality (points Paul and I tried to make in Color of Christ and will have a video from San Diego Pride to discuss Jesus, race, and sexuality up next week). I've tried to track, via books.google the use of "not Adam and Steve" and it appears to come from the 1970s. Two wonderful books that get into the knotty issues of religion and sexuality are Fay Botham's Almighty God Created the Races and Tanya Erzen's Straight to Jesus.

7 comments:

Anthony Petro at: July 23, 2012 at 5:32 PM said...

Ah, thanks for mentioning Botham's work. I didn't know about it, but it looks excellent! Ordering now. (And Erzen is of course wonderful).

Edward J. Blum at: July 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM said...

Anthony Petro's essay on gender, sexuality, and religion in Columbia Guide is A+ too! Thank goodness Marie recommended you for it.

Mark T. Edwards at: July 23, 2012 at 8:06 PM said...

Thanks for this post and for reference to the Erzen book, Ed. The Botham book reminded me of Stephen R. Haynes's NOAH'S CURSE (2002), which I'm using in survey courses this Fall.

Anonymous at: July 23, 2012 at 9:16 PM said...

Great post. The "Adam and Steve" phrase, it seems, was used widely. As I discuss in my book on the history of Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen's father John used this phrase repeatedly in the 1980s as his sermons addressed "family values" in the context of the culture wars.

Phil Sinitiere

Heather R. White at: July 26, 2012 at 8:27 AM said...

I'm also thinking I've seen conservative Christians use a name other than "Steve" in some of their early commentaries on homosexuality. I'm trying to remember where and what the name was... That would be fun to discuss-- Adam's previous lovers before he and Steve got durably hitched in anti-gay invective.

Heather R. White at: July 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM said...

I also have a fuzzy memory that Christians used a name other than "Steve" in some of their early commentary on homosexuality, but I can't remember either the name or where I've seen it. That would be fun to discuss-- Adam's earlier gay lovers before he and Steve became a solid couple in anti-gay invective.

James Kabala at: August 9, 2012 at 7:04 PM said...

Heather White: I believe someone (Anita Bryant?) once referred to "Adam and Bruce." (Bruce was apparently well-known as a stereotypically gay name at the time for some reason.)

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