Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blog hosts LGBT-friendly memorial for All Saints, All Souls and Day of the Dead (10/31/10)

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Oct. 31, 2010 -- A queer-friendly online memorial for All Saints and All Souls Days, also known as Day of the Dead, is happening now at the Jesus in Love Blog.

Visit to submit names and light virtual candles. Everyone is invited to light a memorial candle for a loved one now through Nov. 2. Free listings are available, and individual candles can be lit for a donation.

“Religion and society have often dishonored and desecrated queer lives. We created a place for ALL saints and ALL souls to be restored to wholeness and holiness,” says Kittredge Cherry, the lesbian spiritual author who runs the online memorial.

The flickering virtual candles are posted with a tasteful mix of traditional and alternative readings and art.

“Normally we focus on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer saints at the Jesus in Love Blog, but on All Saints, All Souls and Day of the Dead we warmly welcome all saints and all souls,” Cherry says. “People of all faiths or no faith are invited.”

Cherry founded in 2005 to support LGBT spirituality and the arts with a blog and e-newsletter. The website promotes artistic and religious freedom, with an emphasis on queer saints and gay Jesus images. Cherry was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer. Her books include “Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies and Celebrations” and “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.”

The memorial begins on Oct. 31, when it is Halloween in the United States, but All Saints Day (Nov. 1) in other parts of the world. Readings come from gay clergy Chris Glaser, African American author Alice Walker, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, the Bible and many others.

In Catholic and Protestant Christianity, the Feast of All Saints commemorates all saints, known and unknown. The following day, the Feast of All Souls, pays respect to the faithful departed who have not yet reached heaven. Prayers are offered to ask the saints to help the living, and to offer help to the souls of deceased friends and family.

All Souls Day is celebrated in Latin America as the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The holiday is especially popular in Mexico, where the happy celebration is one of the biggest events of the year.

All Saints Day used to be called All Hallows Day, and the preceding evening was the Eve of All Hallows, now celebrated as Halloween. These holidays are associated with the Celtic Festival of the Dead (Samhain). They grow out of the pagan belief that the souls of the dead return to visit at this time of year.

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Click here to visit the memorial

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gay Holy Week series runs online (4/2/10)

LOS ANGELES, CA -- April 2, 2010 -- A queer version of Christ’s Passion is running in daily installments through Easter (April 4) at the Jesus in Love Blog (

Each daily post features GLBT Christian art and an excerpt from “Jesus in Love: At the Cross,” a novel about a bisexual Christ by lesbian author Kittredge Cherry. Jesus is in love with his disciple John and faces religious homophobia in the selections from “At the Cross.”

The eight-day series covers Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. The dramatic events of Christ’s Passion happen in the context of a gay love story between Jesus and John. Jesus has today’s queer sensibilities and psychological sophistication as he reveals experiences that may have led to the first Easter.

“I’m doing the Holy Week series to make Christ more accessible to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and our allies,” said Cherry, founder of The website promotes artistic and religious freedom by supporting spirituality and the arts for GLBT people and their allies.

“Christ’s story is for everyone, but GLBT people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination,” she said.

The online Holy Week series includes art by F. Douglas Blanchard, Becki Jayne Harrelson, William Hart McNichols, Corinne Quinones, Gary Speziale and Dirk Vanden.

Some conservatives labeled Cherry “a hyper-homosexual revisionist” because of the gay love story between Jesus and John. However, her books follow the Biblical text and standard Christian doctrine while speculating on Christ’s erotic inner life.

“I get hate mail with warnings such as, ‘Gays are not wanted in the kingdom of Christ!’ This kind of religious bigotry is exactly why the queer Christ is needed,” Cherry said.

Meanwhile, secular literary critics and progressive Christians affirm the Jesus in Love series as “profound,” “spiritually mature” and “beautifully written.” Gay spirituality author Toby Johnson praises it as “a real tour de force in transforming traditional myth to modern consciousness.”

The Bay Area Reporter called it “revolutionary religious fiction” and Mel White, founder of Soulforce, says, “Kittredge Cherry has broken through the stained-glass barrier… a classic re-telling of the greatest story ever told.”

“At the Cross” grows out of Cherry’s own spiritual journey and her experiences as a minister in the LGBT community. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as national ecumenical officer. One of her primary duties was promoting dialogue on homosexuality at the National Council of Churches (USA) and the World Council of Churches. Her previous books include “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More,” “Equal Rites” and “Hide and Speak.” The New York Times Book Review praised her “very graceful, erudite” writing style.

The Holy Week blog series includes art from “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision,” a compelling set of 24 paintings by New York artist F. Douglas Blanchard. The controversial “faggot crucifixion” by Atlanta artist Becki Jayne Harrelson is also featured, along with drawings by New York artist Gary Speziale. They are among 11 contemporary artists from the United States and Europe who are profiled in Cherry’s book “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.”

For more info, visit the Jesus in Love Blog ( or, or contact

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Friday, January 22, 2010

2009’s top 7 GLBT spiritual arts stories named (1/14/10)

2009’s top 7 GLBT spiritual arts stories named

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Jan. 14, 2010 -- Noah’s Gay Wedding Cruise, a humorous painting that supports marriage equality, is the top LGBT spiritual arts story for 2009, announced today.

The painting got the most visits and enthusiastic comments at the Jesus in Love Blog on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender spirituality and the arts.

The top seven GLBT spiritual arts stories of the year were named today by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry. She founded to promote artistic and religious freedom with a blog, e-newsletter and related websites.

“2009 was an exciting year for queer spirituality and the arts, Cherry says. “LGBT people and our allies found inspiration, laughter, eroticism and God through a wide range of new artistic creations. In a sense, we were all sailing on Noah’s gay wedding cruise toward a future of love and equality.”

Here’s a round-up of the year’s best with links to the top stories at the Jesus in Love Blog:

1. “Noah’s Gay Wedding Cruise pictured” was the most popular story of 2009. Happy gay and lesbian animal couples mingle with today’s GLBT celebrities in the painting by Ohio artist Paul Richmond. His gay version of Noah’s ark even has drowning sinners -- opponents of gay rights such as Ann Coulter, Fred Phelps, and Larry Craig with his toilet!

2. “An Erotic Encounter with the Divine” was the most influential and top gay story of the year. “Soon after I began silently inviting the Divine Presence to be with us during lovemaking, I noticed that both Scott and I became more aware of each others bodies,” gay Iowan Eric Hays-Strom wrote in a powerful post. It was reprinted in the Dignity USA newsletter and other blogs, as well as generating lots of other positive feedback. It continues to get huge traffic at the Jesus in Love Blog.

3. “300 protest transsexual Jesus play” was the year’s biggest controversy and the top transgender story of the year. More than 300 conservative Christian protesters picketed the Scottish opening of “Jesus, Queen of Heaven,” a play by Jo Clifford about a transwoman Jesus. Clifford’s goal was to create greater understanding of transgendered people like herself.

4. Ruth and Naomi were the favorite GLBT saints and the year’s top lesbian story. Ruth expressed love for Naomi in the Bible with famous vows that are often used in weddings: “Whither thou goest, I will go…” Visitors enjoyed the post about Ruth and Naomi so much that it ran twice in 2009, launching a major series on GLBT saints. “Whither Thou Goest” by Atlanta artist Trudie Barreras illustrated both posts.

5. “Gay artist says Jesus never married” got the most comments of the year at the Jesus in Love Blog. A new poster by California artist Dirk Vanden states, “FYI: Jesus never married, nor commanded nor advocated nor performed ‘marriage,’” The poster sparked a passionate blog debate about Jesus’ position on marriage.

6. “Transvestite Jesus appears in photo project” was the most thought-provoking story of the year. A transvestite Jesus and a female Jesus appear in a new series of alternative Christ photos by Colorado artist Bill Burch. The project inspired a South African blogger to write a major essay and stirred controversy at the artist’s school.

7. “Gay Mohammad art censored” got the most hate mail -- for two years in a row! Gay Mohammad images by Iranian-born artist Sooreh Hera were censored from a Dutch art exhibit. The artist defended her work as an expose of Islamic hypocrisy on homosexuality. It was posted back in February 2008, but STILL gets more hateful, obscene comments than anything else by far. Most of the comments are left at the Gay Spirituality Blog, where it is cross-posted. There were 44 comments (22 made in 2009) as of Jan. 7, 2010.

Founded in 2005, presents a positive vision of GLBT spirituality and tracks censorship of queer religious art. “We specialize in new gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender art that is too queer for religious institutions and too religious for GLBT organizations,” Cherry says. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer. has reached thousands of people all over the world, won many honors -- and gotten a lot of hate mail from religious conservatives.

“The ongoing religious bigotry proves that Jesus in Love is needed now as much as ever,” Cherry says. “Christian rhetoric is being misused to justify hate and discrimination against GLBT people, but Jesus taught love for all.”

For more info, visit the Jesus in Love Blog (,, or contact