02 January 2013
Pastor Jeff - Final Print
Japanese-method woodblock (moku hanga)
Image size: 10.25" x 17" (26 x 43 cm)
Paper size: 12.5" x 19" (63.5 x 98 cm)
Made with 3 shina plywood blocks, 25 color layers
This print is the start of a new series about gays and God. The series, which will be available as both individual prints and a small number of bound books, bears the working title God Is My Witness. Although this image, which is based on a video from a specific church in Indiana, is an extreme form of the message that God condemns homosexuals, this message can be heard in various strengths in churches (and temples and mosques) all over America on any given sabbath day. For a young gay person who wants to know God, the message can be devastating. And for a young person who is insecure or unloved or otherwise suggestible, this message can be heard as God's permission to do harm to others.
I start with this image because this is where it all begins. The social condemnation of homosexuality is almost always framed as a religious objection. Because of this, many gay people reject religion of any kind. Others look for spiritual paths that are more congruent with who they are, and still others, such as gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, remain faithful to the religion of their birth and work to change it from within. Below is a video clip from the PBS documentary about Bishop Robinson, Love Free or Die, which makes clear the price he has paid for his faithfulness. As Robinson says, “Sometimes when evil comes your way the only thing to do is to let it stop right there and absorb it.”