Page 183 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 163
             mythology that morphed into Christian theology, especially in the depic-
             tions of Christianity’s dramatic moments of the passion and death of
             Christ. The Crucifixion is one of the main images, if not the chief image,
             of western art through the twentieth century, and it, and other images of
             heroic and saintly suffering at the top-hands of SPQR fascist authority,
             appeared variously in Drummer in writing, photographs, and drawings
             transmogrified into BDSM play. A literal example is the story, “Crucifix-
             ion Derby,” written by Allen Eagles, illustrated by the Hun, and published
             in Drummer’s brother magazine, Mach 13 (November 1987).
                As a gay man aware of my own unspoken civil rights in 1963, I
             wrote this essay, “The Church Mid-Decade and the Negro,” to document
             my identity and feelings insofar as Black culture upended my bourgeois
             view of my self and opened up my queer view of my self. I might never
             have become a gay activist in the late 60s if I had not been a progressive
             Catholic activist for civil rights in the early 1960s. When I was twenty-
             four, I wrote this essay about my experiences when I was twenty-two and
             twenty-three in 1962 and 1963.
                What happened to me living full time inside the African-American
             community at 63  and Cottage Grove streets in Chicago, and what hap-
                          rd
             pened to me tutored by the Reverend Martin O’Farrell and the peerless
             Saul Alinsky, changed me forever. On philosophical reasons that had
             nothing to do with sexuality, the experience woke me up enough to justify
             my abandoning my eleven-year investment in the priesthood. The very act
             of exiting the Roman Catholic seminary in December 1963, uncloseted
             me sexually as recounted in What They Did to the Kid. I saw, and see, little
             difference between Black freedom’s cultural expression and gay freedom’s
             expression. I was born shameless; and without guilt, I exited the Catholic
             sex closet full of wonder.
                In terms of iconography and worship, I have never experienced an
             existential disconnect between Catholicism and homosexuality. At that
             level, whatever the pope says has no effect because — unless the pope is
             speaking ex cathedra (formally) on matters of faith and morals — he is sim-
             ply one of many theologians debating faith and morals. This is especially
             true as the glacial Church progresses in slow retreat from the medieval to
             the modern, changing its canon laws and theological understanding of
             eating fish on Friday, the who’s who of saints, Limbo, cremation, condoms
             to prevent HIV, and even abortion which is permitted — progressive
               theologians insist — when the child is an unjust aggressor in the woman’s
             body because of rape or incest. With all its absolutes and its condemnation
             of relativism, the Church evolves relatively, for instance, in condemning
             modern capital punishment which was once the main tool of the Inquisi-
             tion run by the Church to punish progressive thinkers branded as heretics.

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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