Gay Superheroes and the Torah

The post below was rejected by the Times of Israel for publication as an editorial blog. I’m not sure how much I will be able to publish through them. My first two articles were published, but the third one, about COVID, was rejected for being a danger to public health. Now this one is dangerous to gays and women. I might have to search out other media sources for my editorializing.

Well, to quote John Lennon, “I read the news today, oh boy…”

So not only am I into poetry and classical literature, but I am a comic book fan. Something of a scholar of superheroes, actually. Today I read an article that says they are making Wonder Woman gay. I’m not happy about that. They’ve been in the process of getting rid of Clark Kent, Kal El, Superman, for a while now, and they are replacing him with his gay teenaged son. I haven’t been happy about that, either. I’ve been posting on Facebook about how unhappy about that I am. Now people who don’t know me, but maybe only know that I follow the Torah, would be tempted to judge me as a gay-hating religious guy. After all, there’s that verse in the Torah that talks about the imperative to kill all gay people, right? But others who may know more about me would know that I’ve walked a few years on the wild side, have had friends from all over the political and social spectrum, and have gotten myself into some stuff in my day. Anymore I only have a few of gay friends, that I know about anyway, though that’s more about me being an old hermit at this point, and not because I have any problem with gay people. These friends are a social worker in Tacoma, a gay conservative Anglican in Guadalajara, and a Christian chick I met on Facebook. My gay friends do have to deal with my rants about gay Superman and gay Wonder Woman, though.

Really, when it comes to my gay friends and my love for God, I basically just tell them that if they can just admit that they fall short of perfection, that they don’t meet God’s ideal and perfect standard, I don’t have any problem with them. Basically, if they can just accept the truth. If they can just have respect for the standard and not try to make up their own because of their own desires, we will get along fine. So far, nobody has had a problem with that. I mean, who does meet the standard, right?

When anyone looks at my anger about these superheroes, they’ll see that I don’t have a problem with gay superheroes per se. Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, is gay. He’s a favorite of mine. Batwoman is also gay. I don’t like her much, but that’s because I am a huge fan of Batgirl, who should have gotten a TV show, but they gave a show to Batwoman just because they want more gay superheroes on TV. They seem to think a gay superhero is more important than the female Bat-hero with a more powerful legacy. Batwoman came along to replace Batman. She is newer and bland. The most famous thing about her is that she is a lesbian. Batgirl is more about the dilemma of trying to catch bad guys while being under the tutelage of, and sometimes being the lover of, a dark, torment, twisted, supergenius ninja with a billion dollars in his pocket and a skyscraper full of weapons. You tell me which one should have a TV show.

Green Lantern having a tough conversation with his kids. You can guess what he is about to say. This supposedly has a TV show in development, by the way. I’m quite happy about that. A great superhero with tons of legacy. I love his commitment to the truth in this panel.

One of the things that upsets me the most about the gay Superman is that we aren’t going to hear much about Lois Lane anymore. And if they go through with this Wonder Woman thing, we won’t see much of Steve Trevor anymore. Steve Trevor is important for the kids to know about. He is a superspy tough guy, but he is no Wonder Woman. I can apply this to myself. I love a woman, utterly beautiful, who is four inches taller than me. It’s important for little boys to identify with a man who maintains his perspective when his partner can bench press battle tanks. Superman can lift mountains into the sky. But Lois has pulled him listless out of rooms full of kryptonite more times than you can count. This is an important principle in general and has nothing to do with sex or gender. Captain America has all of the power of a gerbil compared to his buddy, the Mighty Thor, god of thunder. But he fights right alongside him. We can’t let issues of sex and gender trump everything else.

So, I hope I have conveyed I don’t hate gay superheroes, but more the idea of trouncing diverse and important legacy for a shallow agenda. But I have said that I follow the Torah, and the Torah does have that verse about killing all the gay folks, right? This is a complicated matter to discuss. There are a few issues to highlight. The first one is that of course it doesn’t say to kill gay people. It says that “if a man lies with a male as with a woman… (Leviticus 22:13) It’s event based. Something has to happen, and someone has to see that thing happening and be forced to deal with that thing that has happened. I spoke with my dad about homosexuality earlier in the year, and he said, “I just don’t want it in my face. I don’t put my sex life in anybody’s face.”

Another important thing to highlight is that the Torah has much to say about mercy, and the role of mercy in justice. There are sacrifices that can be given when people fail. And judges are tasked to judge with the spirit and love of God, not being partial or playing favorites, but judging according to truth and the heart. They always have the power to pardon in order to enact true justice.

Now let’s talk about the first principle. I’ve hung out at a lot of gay clubs and parties. I can say that I’ve never walked in on two gay dudes having sex, however. I’ve been in a room full of straight people having sex, though. The police didn’t come and take anyone away. This is kind of surprising because we were pretty loud. But at least we had the sense that we weren’t the standard. Somebody had the brains to get a house out of the way to do their weird thing without pushing it on everybody. Nobody was offended. I once heard a chick complaining about walking through the park and seeing two gay dudes having sex. I was outraged. Yeah, the guy who went to the swinger party was outraged. I wasn’t outraged by gay people. I was outraged by the lack of respect for others. Little kids could have walked by.

The verse in the Torah isn’t so much about a man loving another man or being attracted to another man. It’s about a man having no love for his fellow man. There is another verse that people like to complain about in the Torah, about killing a man for disrespecting his parents. But when you read about the situation in another place, there is a whole paragraph that describes this guy as someone who totally and constantly doesn’t take care of his poor old parents, back in an age where there were no nursing homes or social security, where old people had to be taken care of by their children if they weren’t going to die of hunger. The guy won’t listen to anyone, is hostile and cruel, and can’t be reasoned with by anyone in town to do the right thing, then in that case, the parents have the right to get rid of him. If they are so tormented by him that they are moved to have their own son killed and would rather fend for themselves in their decrepitude. If he is that bad. And looking through the annals of Jewish history, you just don’t find incidents of parents killing their adult children in compliance with the Torah. But people like to reduce the Torah to simple evil because they don’t want to bother to understand its message.

A final principle to consider is that sometimes justice isn’t executed perfectly. We have limited knowledge and are fallible beings. But the punishment here is for the offender to go to God, who loves him. I’ve said much in my day about a preoccupation about death. All life on this earth will end. For everyone. Everyone has to understand that, and we must consider the cost of living a life not worth living versus going to God.

With the above said, I am confident that my social worker friend would not be going before any judge to die for being gay. But if something were to happen, and he found himself in some situation, I would advocate for him. I would tell the judge everything I knew about him. That he hasn’t had a boyfriend in forever because he is too prude. He only wants true love. Monogamy. He is a romantic. He doesn’t push his sexuality on anyone. You’d never find him having sex on a park bench. You’d never find him in a swinger club. He is gregarious and devoted to others. His job is to take care of dying little old ladies. And I would tell the judge that if he had any doubt, to kill me instead and let him go. He is a better man than I am. More kind. Friendlier. More respectful of others. In my poetry and more flamboyant Facebook posts I occasionally make reference to being a Knight of the King of Israel. And I know that a knight who won’t do for others what his king did for him is no knight at all. And I know that greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. That’s what the Torah means for me, and I would hope that the Torah would mean the same thing for that judge. But if it didn’t, I would go through with it. Because I just don’t need to be in a godless, loveless, merciless world that bad. I don’t have that much longer in this world anyway. A few decades at most, or I could get hit by a truck tomorrow. And I would rather be with God anyway. I will see all my friends again when the kingdom comes.

So that’s what I have to say about gay superheroes and the Torah. Please don’t confuse the Torah with hatred. It is ancient, enigmatic, and profound. It takes a little work to understand it. But if you love God, he will help you. And you’ll be able to figure out how a religious guy can be mad about a gay Wonder Woman but have gay friends and love the Torah with its strange histories and laws. It just takes an open mind.

Leave a Reply