PREACHING AS THE MACHO SHOUT
First Baptist Dallas preacher Robert Jeffress (b. 29th Nov 1955) revels in over statement and the extreme for which he is much reported. If criticized, as for having said what gays do is filthy before God, – “It is so degrading that it is beyond description” – and that support of gay marriage invokes God’s judgement on America, he says he is proud of that. If, as has happened, the atheist lobby has taken him it up on it all and advised gays to go without God entirely, Jeffress regards that as proof he is true to the Bible as he understands it rather than as evidence he might lack discretion or just common sense.
Those of quieter views are anyway likely to be dismissed by Jeffress as cowards. This has even happened in the case of the very evangelically demonstrative sports star Tim Tebow. He has been accused by Jeffress of “wimping out of controversy” when he recently cancelled a talk at Jeffress’ mega-church in the wake of warnings the preacher is almost recklessly against gays, against Catholics (their religion is “Satanic”), Mormons, Muslims (their religion encourages paedophila) and just about anyone.
Fanatics are more difficult to criticize than might be imagined because they are not always completely wrong. They can plausibly mix truth with error in a way to confuse people and issues. One example from Christian history is the second century church father Tertullian. He certainly knew how to be an orator and his writings ringingly evoked various Christian truths along with the forms of Roman decadence and cruelty. However he finished up a Montanist heretic who believed the new Jerusalem could be founded in Phrygia (modern Turkey). On the way to this he plausibly spouted controversial views and even just seriously silly but famous ones like notably, “I believe because it’s impossible”. Tertullian had ideas that have caused trouble from that day to this –they are even being cited by one of the current papabiles Angelo Scola, who perceives the devil everywhere. Wrote Tertullian: “One must not even speak of astrologers, witches and charlatans of every sort. And yet, recently, an astrologer who declared himself a Christian had the nerve to make a defence of his profession! Astrology and magic are base inventions of the devil”.
So astrology is such an invention of the devil, astrologers represent a charlatanism that came to Christ’s birth? Why did the Essenes look for the Messiah in the stars and why did the rabbis of the Talmud not regard astrology as necessarily a Torah forbidden divination rather than a study of cycles? As a theologian who is also an astrologer and claims to know the astrology of Christianity that all Christians ought to know about (see Christianity’s Destiny
I am weary of Tertullian’s bullying, shut-you-up, push-you-away American descendants. Tertullian was also against all philosophy, the church had nothing to do with Athens, the gospel alone sufficed. It’s all just the swaggering aggression, sensationalism and macho dismissiveness of the fanatic.
REAL TRUTH MUST SPEAK FOR ITSELF
As someone who cares about and has sought to protest the bad reporting (or none) of the very real current persecution of Christians worldwide under everything from the Buddhism of Burma to various nations of Islam, I am vexed at the inflammatory, attention seeking sensationalism as it refers to the problem in a way which helps nothing and nobody. It certainly doesn’t help the victims of persecution and appeals on their behalf. Nor does it assist the criticism of religions that sometimes does need to be engaged instead of blinkered interfaith dialogues that too readily ignore the wrongs which get further glossed over because people like Jeffress can only declare Islam is an “evil, evil religion” and “from the pit of hell”. Another evangelical loud mouth, Billy Graham’s son Franklin, has been employing the same kind of discourse.
As a gay theologian I am frustrated at the kind of plausible conservatism which cites parts of the bible and not others to make out that homosexuality is nothing but abomination. However, instead of entering upon the kind of issues raised in my talk “Gay….Christians, Marriage, Jesus?“ at
as a gay theologian and astrologer I shall take a moderate and acceptable Christian “revenge” by word of truth…I shall do so because despite Tertullian and despite the noisy louts of American evangelicalism, the bible does say the night skies utter knowledge (Ps 19) and they do so and very much so if quietly.
Last year a rather embarrassing three university study of sexual arousal levels done in the US, Germany and UK and reported in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in April 2012, showed evidence through many cases that a marked homophobia betrays closet homosexuality. Strange cases like the evangelical Ted Haggard’s are almost, it seems, to be expected. There is however another way to test and demonstrate this whole issue, and actually, I think, more precisely so as when we can trace what is perhaps more vital, namely a tendency to bisexuality which promotes, experiment with, or at least longings for, the other side and/or wholesale self-hatred on account of that leading to fanatical views on sex and homosexuality.
ROBERT JEFFRESS BENEATH THE VAULT OF HEAVEN
I don’t know Jeffress’ full horoscope as I don’t know his birth time so I can only note the following. Jeffress was born under Sagittarius, the sign of organized religion and the preacher and he’s very strongly Sagittarian too since he also has Mercury, and Venus in the sign. He can therefore exaggerate the sign’s style which is notorious, especially among its men, for opening its mouth and putting the hoof in it. Jeffress’s Sagittarian Venus is a wonderfully fortunate one being trine his Jupiter (Jupiter to Venus helps make rich or lucky devil types and this preacher gets away with a lot).
Since the “ruler” of the sign, Jupiter, is conjunct Pluto, Jeffress can also be a mega-church pastor and enjoy fame and media attention – Jupiter/Pluto is known as the best way into Who’s Who whether one merits being there or not. Then with the moon in the opposite sign of words, Gemini, Jeffress can be seriously loquacious, can communicate and be heard just everywhere – he is on numerous radio and TV stations.
Everything in the garden (or paddock!?) of Jeffress is really rather lovely and it’s easy for getting his own way and getting heard except….that the fortunate Venus in the last degree of the sign is what’s called anaretic, which tends to make the symbolized energy insistent or insatiable and….it is degree exact opposite a point in the heavens called Priapus. That’s only the beginning of a certain problem.
It must be stressed no single aspect clinches any matter. I am not here to throw mud or spread rumour. Nobody is gay or bisexual, overtly or otherwise, on account of a single aspect. It’s the total pattern counts and it helps to have a birth time to run factors like the Part of Homosexuality. Even so… any aspect or aspects to especially Uranus is always significant for gays (or being homophobically against gays) perhaps especially to Mars, the libido. In straights Mars making square (90 degrees) to Uranus could encourage a yen for extreme sports or a special relation to machines and inventions, but it always inclines to a certain recklessness, while among gays it is about the more out, loud and proud type. Jeffreys is not up and out there waving and shouting on a Pride day float. He’s just being recklessly Bible proud year round in your face, thank you.
He may however now and again feel, or suppress the feeling, it’s a pity he’s not out there on a float because his gay Uranus potential is oddly directly opposed by wounded healer Chiron. He may be wounded not to be able to express the inner gay or feels others must necessarily be wounded about their gayness and need help for it. After it, it’s only a sickness!
I am still not saying that our rather fanatical Jeffress, who after all is the standard fit, evangelical and married preacher with kids type, is gay, either out or closeted. I don’t say it because if anything I feel he is closer to something or someone else who is behind the greatest amount of confusion around who’s gay and who isn’t, whether homosexuality is natural or learned, expressible or curable, namely the often confused person of bisexual potential. History and literature are full of such individuals.
CHARLES DICKENS AND DEAR DAISY BISEXUALITY
I am not a student of English literature but recently I was re-reading David Copperfield and felt impelled to look into something which struck me vividly, but which evidently few critics have been exercised over though I see a French critic has taken the point. There in plain view is David (the nearest to an autobiographical Dickens figure) constantly dreaming over and idealizing the handsome, older Steerforth who regularly refers to his young friend in terms like “Dear Daisy”. Dear Daisy? I asked myself was Dickens a bisexual and was Victorian society in not suspecting this fact being as blind as those Edwardians who looked at Von Gloeden’s tastefully homoerotic photography of Sicilian male nudes and decided it was all a revival of Greek art or even an exercise in anthropology?
I knew I had only one way to find out at this late date: examine the horoscope and see if it had a version of afflicted Neptune which is the almost exceptionless rule, the primary building block for any bisexual profile. Sure enough, there it was. Dickens had Venus square Neptune as surely as Madonna and others have variations on it (David Bowie: Neptune square Sun, square Mars, square Mercury). And if one looks at Dickens’ harsh treatment of his wife it belongs to a type of bisexual psychology and behavior pattern I describe in the course of my The Great Circle”:Asia, David and God Consciousness.
Jeffress shows Neptune afflicting the gay associated Uranus. Its aspect, which many others near him could have as these planets move slowly, is nonetheless thrust into prominence and a more active expression through inharmonious, out-of-sign conjunction of Neptune with Mars, an unusual version of “affliction”, but affliction all the same. (The effect is a bit like Tennyson’s self-divided and stop go, “gay” Mars/Uranus conjunction but more “bisexual” Neptune/Saturn conjunction)
There is much that one might say, but sufficient to state here that as long as there is bisexuality and people of bisexual potential in the world there are going to be persons, especially of religious inclination, to assure you that same sex attraction is unnecessary, curable, effeminate and innately sinful and should never be acted on or expressed if they even allow it exists (some will repress the whole idea). Instead of giving us great poetry like Tennyson on Hallam or Shakespeare on the Master Mistress of his passion, it will provide us ugly references to either what gays are, or do, and it will see nothing of psychological meaning or value but only temptation to be resisted. (And it is true that the affairs of some bisexuals can finish creating the maximum of suffering and confusion to partners gay or straight so that it might be better to try and keep things with whatever is the spare sex, no one being 50/50 bisexual, as close to poetry as possible!)
However, as I said, the fanatic is not necessarily completely wrong, there can be gleamings of truth amid the overstatements, gleamings of truth which others may overlook. And the fact is that the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians just don’t even accept that anyone is born gay, it is always just learned behavior, it is never first and foremost an orientation and a psychology, it is always a chosen lifestyle.
Somewhere within himself Jeffress knows a little better. That Mars/Uranus is telling him something. He has protested that Christians may have been too quick to deny the possibility of innate genetic disposition, even though of course for him that means the disposition could only be a bad one, one that should never be acted on as it is evil by nature, a sort of double effect of original sin in itself. And of course it’s not his nature of the kind that for the gay person cannot be denied as a fundamental datum of their consciousness. It is more like a possibility of his nature, vague enough to present itself as a threat, anything from say an undermining effeminacy to a meaningless, directionless lust to deny. He believes it exists and means something, but maybe a bit like Tertullian on Christian faith because the whole thing is so irrational!
TERTULLIAN TALK AND LIES FOR JESUS
But I am properly weary of these noisy evangelists who in Christ’s name and offering Jesus as salvation and cure, distort what Jesus himself taught about the “homosexuality” word that is nowhere in the Bible. In any case and just for starters the eunuch word which describes what Jesus reckoned some people were born to be, by his time was a word that no longer signified just castrate nor even necessarily celibate but was the nearest word to the modern “gay”. And it’s because the gay mind and situation at the margins of society give certain advantages and insights not automatically shared by straights and socially successful persons, that Jesus can recommend everyone in the kingdom approximate more to the eunuch. (Even as early as Isaiah eunuchs are indicated as at least potentially nearer to God).
All this shouting against homosexuality and gays in Jesus’ name is little more than lies and deception and even devil’s work in Jesus’ name, driving many to confusion, despair (some to suicide) and disillusion with Christianity itself and not assisting any debates about legal changes which have been left in purely secular hands. And did these people doing this really imagine that they were desirable models of something? Perhaps as icons of prosperity gospel success some do admire them, and in the rather tribal social organization of America where to join, be accepted and belong can become a paramount drive there will always be people queuing up to be “normal” straight, to be married family men through clenched teeth and clinging to prayer despite everything.
I don’t like to say it, it’s not my style, but frankly, while these standard fit evangelicals a la Jeffress spit out their disgust at the filthiness of gay behavior, would it ever occur to them that many gays in turn have “ugh” rather than “wow” feelings about them. They find nothing socially, intellectually or erotically attractive about them and certainly nothing and no one that they would wish to imitate or be associated with.
The children of Tertullian believe what’s impossible. Some of us believe in the Jesus and life that’s actually real and possible.