Saturday, May 20, 2006
UU 'Da Vinci' watch: Dogma bites soundbite.
In a gaffe that won't even be apparent to many religious liberals, UU sexologist and minister Debra Haffner talks with the Chicago Sun-Times about The Da Vinci Code and gets her Catholic doctrines mixed up. Can you spot the error? Here's part of Cathleen Falsani's interview of Haffner:
The idea of Jesus being sexual — having sexual thoughts, feelings, urges, or (God forbid!) actually having sex with his wife — really freaks a lot of people out.
If we are to believe, as most Christians do, that Jesus was both fully divine and fully human, then by definition it means that Jesus also was fully sexual.
So why the collective flip out?
"In the Christian tradition, we have a religion that's based on a virgin birth that has followed an immaculate conception with a celibate hero God," Haffner said.
Well, there's that.
"There is built into the story an erotophobic emphasis. But that came later," she said. "For example, the immaculate conception idea is [from the] third century. It's not in the original story and it's not scriptural. . . . We only tell part of the story. What's happened is that because of people's own fears of talking about sexuality, that erotophobia gets carried forward."
A reminder: Immaculate conception is the distinctively Roman Catholic doctrine, popularized in the fifteenth century and declared church doctrine in 1854, that Mary herself was conceived by her two mortal parents without the taint of original sin. It's Mary who is immaculately conceived. The incarnation is the much more universally held Christian doctrine that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human; it is usually linked to the belief that Jesus was conceived without a human father. "Yawn!," I hear many of you saying — and the distinction clearly went over Falsani's head and her editors' heads, too.
Now, obviously, Haffner was aiming for a good soundbite — from conception to birth! — and, sure, I'd agree that on one level the doctrines of the virgin birth and the immaculate conception are rooted in or preserved through anxieties about sexuality.
But it's important, when attempting to articulate a liberal religious perspective in a public forum, not to seem unaware of what your opponents actually believe.
("'Da Vinci Code' about God and sex — mostly sex," Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times 5.19.06)
Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 20 May 2006 at 3:45 PM