The Swagger of Swaggart
Jimmy Swaggart of televangelism fame recently received applause and hoots of approval from his "Christian" congregation for saying that he would kill any gay man who looked at him "with romantic intent." Before I go on, let me quote the sermon directly:
"I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."
"And I'm gonna be blunt and plain, if one ever looks at me like that I'm going to kill him and tell God he died."
"In case anybody doesn't know God calls it an abomination. It's an abomination! It's an abomination!"
..."I'm not knocking the poor homosexual. I'm not. They need salvation just like anybody else.... I'm knocking our pitiful, pathetic lawmakers. And I thank God that President Bush has stated we need a constitutional amendment that states that marriage is between a man and a woman."
I have so many reactions to this, it's hard to know where to start. First, if Jimmy was a reasonable man (which clearly he is not), I would love to ask him 1.) how he determines the intent of anyone's gaze, and 2.) why does the fantasy of what he would do with a gay man even enter into his heterosexual head? Maybe it's just because my fantasies focus more on what I do want than what I don't, I don't get the mechanics of Jimmy's desire. Perhaps gay men should stop assuming it "can't happen here" and start thinking about how to respond to the homicidal intent of Jimmy's eyes upon them. Perhaps they should be buying assault weapons (now that they're legal and all) and organizing themselves into tastefully dressed militias.
One problem with Swaggart's swaggering pronouncements is that we can be wrong when we assume we know the intent of another human being. Doesn't the Bible suggest that God is the only one who can see into the hearts of men? I've looked at the concordance in my St. James version, and nowhere do I see Swaggart the modern Pharisee conflated with God. And what about the Judaic edict "Thou shalt not kill" that the so-called Christians want with the other nine Commandments to inform future interpretations of the Constitution? But because Jimmy's homosexual fantasies are such a temptation for him, such an "abomination," such a threat to his sense of himself as a man, he must project them outward onto others and imagine that the "romantic intent" is coming from them. All you gay Republicans out there better keep your eyes on the floor. Straight Republicans, too: What if Jimmy mistakes your admiration of his macho stance as some kind of homo thing? In fact, the world would be a better place if ALL eyes were averted from this evil zealot. But here in America, he is applauded.