WWJS (What Would Jesus Support?): Would Jesus Have Supported “Harvey Milk Day”?

Yesterday afternoon (September 18, 2008), on KBRT radio, California-based religious broadcaster Rich Buhler, who has a reputation for relative calm, and even occasional political moderation, came out in opposition to an assembly bill on Governor Scharzenegger’s desk that would make May 22nd in California “Harvey Milk Day.”

Remembering the life of a person who non-violently fought for the dignity and equality of gay people, and who was assassinated for it in 1978, might corrupt children in the public schools, introducing them to the gay agenda, he suggested.

But wait.

Didn’t Jesus do the same thing?

Isn’t it possible that Jesus, while he might not have promoted gay sex, would have at least promoted the equal treatment of gays under the law, and respect for their life choices, and their dignity as human beings?

Harvey Milk wasn’t trying to get heterosexuals to become homosexuals.

He was trying to assure that gay people received the same protections and rights accorded to all American citizens.

Remember that it was Jesus who stood between the woman caught in adultery and those who would throw stones at her (John 8).

Harvey Milk was a gay man.

That is undeniable.

He was also a human being who gave us an admirable example of one who nonviolently stood up for those who have, historically, often been despised (and still often are).

This is hardly a position out of keeping with the teachings of Jesus (at least as presented in the gospels), or the best American civil rights traditions, as embodied by Martin Luther King.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to WWJS (What Would Jesus Support?): Would Jesus Have Supported “Harvey Milk Day”?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Read the entire woman caught in adultry story. Jesus ends with “go and sin no more” The woman repented of the sin of adultry. Repenting of the sin of homosexulity will bring the same loving response from Jesus.

  2. santitafarella says:


    Does this mean that you believe that if the woman had not stopped her affair that Jesus would have alerted authorities to uphold the law and stone her?

    And would Jesus have then participated in the stoning of the woman?

    In other words, the story in John suggests that Jesus was unwilling to uphold the letter of the law—and to take other factors into consideration.

    Likewise (I would argue) it is possible to say “being gay is wrong” (though I don’t think it is) and “adultery is wrong”—but NOT support laws that prevent people from exercising their freedom with other consenting adults.

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