Sep 5 2011
Jesus, Mary and ... Josephine? It's lesbian Nativity at church [Excerpts]
The Bible's account of the night Jesus was born is noted for some well-known characters at the Bethlehem manger, including the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and some shepherds following the instructions of an angel.
The famous wise men were not present, as they showed up later when Jesus was a young child in a house.
And as far as the New Testament indicates, there weren't any lesbians there either.
Now a Christian church in America's heartland is helping redefine the story, as its most-recent living Nativity scene in December featured two woman instead of a man and a women starring as Joseph and Mary.
"It's not very groundbreaking at all to use the youngest baby in the congregation to play the role of Jesus. The parents just happened to be two women," said Rev. Linda Butler, pastor of St. Timothy's United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. "They were playing the role of the Holy Family, not necessarily Mary and Joseph. We never referred to the moms as Mary and Joseph. We referred to them as the Holy Family."
"And when the Holy Family arrived, it was two women with their baby," [Butler] said. "What we emphasized was that this was two parents, and this is our baby and this our story. They're two moms, but it doesn't stand out."
Butler added, "It does fit so well biblically," noting that Jesus had a human mother, but Joseph was not the Savior's actual father.
St. Timothy's says its 400-member congregation welcomes all sexual orientations and gender identities, but the switch from opposite-sex to same-sex parents for Jesus is not thrilling some other Christians in the area.
"Having a lesbian couple represent Mary and Joseph is a slap in the face to the Holy Family and Christians around the world," said Dan Skogan, a Lutheran from Marion, Iowa, who has a website looking to expose problems in his own church.
"It is a very sad day when Christian denominations encourage GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) individuals, people whom God dearly loves, to live in and embrace a lifestyle that God calls them to leave," he added. "Personally, I am not surprised by this because many mainline denominations in the United States are continually undermining the truth and authority of the Bible with their own agenda."