Finding Home for the Holidays

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Finding Home for the Holidays

The Christmas season is a difficult time of year for me.

I am always bothered by our culture's egregious forms of commercialism––and its either lack of or its anemic recognition of other forms for religious holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and the celebration of the winter solstice during this season.

Over the years, as I learned how other cultures celebrated their various forms of religious expression during this time of year, as well as learned that the underlying message of Jesus was the embrace and celebration of human difference and diversity––the less and less I have come to like this holiday season.

Too often we see the glitz and glamour that this holiday brings and we have totally missed its spiritual message. I truly believe if American Christians stayed more focused on the message and teachings of Jesus, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people would not have the annual angst of searching for home for the holidays.

Until the fourth century C.E., when the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, Christians were despised as much in those days as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are today. As a matter of fact, to be called a Christian was considered a religious epithet, and it subjected Christians to ridicule, hate crimes and Christian-bashing in much of the same way as us queers are today.

Just as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people transformed the pejorative term "queer" into a positive word of self-reference, Christians transformed the word "Christian" into one of self-reverence.

Having known this history, I found calling myself a queer Christian neither blasphemous nor an oxymoron. Both are tied to the unending struggle of human acceptance, just at different times along the human timeline.

Religion has become a peculiar institution in the theater of human life. Although its Latin root religio means "to bind," it has served as a legitimate power in binding people's shared hatred.

For example, I come out of a black religious tradition born of struggle for human acceptance. When slave masters gave my ancestors the Bible, their intent was not to make us better Christians, but instead better slaves.The Bible, at least according to slave owners, was the legitimate sanction for American slavery.

However, my ancestors took this authoritative text that was meant to aid them in acclimating to their life of servitude and turned it into