Dear Haters: Here’s Why Your Bible Doesn’t Apply to Me

Also: Pandora Boxx battles Piers Morgan! Leslie Jordan vs. Gaga!

Religion is wonderful if it gives you solace and also provides the basis for charitable good works. But if you use it to take solace away from others, I have a definite problem with it. If you manipulate your supposed pipeline to a deity to preach intolerance against me and I fight you on that, please don’t call me intolerant. As for Bible-thumping queer haters (including you, Mike Pence), here’s my answer to your righteous disrespect.

Dear Haters,

The Bible was written [by fallible humans] a long time ago. You choose to use that as your life coach. That’s absolutely okay—but I don’t. So why should it affect my life?

In America, you’re free to practice any religion you like—or to practice no religion at all, if you so choose. I distanced myself from the church many years ago when I felt there was an absurdity in branding innocent people “sinners” who need to grovel and repent in order to attain eternal respect. Pete Buttigieg and many others choose to follow a nondiscriminational religion, which is an option you haters have flatly rejected. Did you know you can worship any god you want? I guess you do, seeing as you’ve chosen a vindictive one, a creator who is backed by an inconsistent philosophy that you embrace or reject at whim.

The fact is that a great deal of you Bible thumpers actually don’t use the Bible as your life coach, after all, you just select things out of it in order to bash queers. It’s all too rare that I hear the positive stuff—about loving one another and showing kindness—ever being mentioned and even rarer to see it actually put to use. (Just picking any page at random: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”)

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Many haters can’t seem to quote a word of the good book, just the “Gays shouldn’t get married” passages over and over again, as if that should supersede the law of the land. We’re supposed to have separation of church and state, remember? And your hero, Trump, happens to be a world-famous adulterer with precious little respect for the sanctity of marriage, but you turn a blind eye to that and keep going after responsible gays who share solid relationships. He’s broken approximately six of the 10 Commandments as of last count, but the real problem with this country is queers? Trump lies, commits adultery, and provokes strife—all condemned in the Bible—but he isn’t heading to hell, though Jodie Foster is, right? As for Melania and Ivanka Trump, the Bible forbids women from wearing costly attire. Whatever.

You’ve chosen to admire them, and to worship your vengeful God, but being queer is not a choice. Get the difference? My only choice about my sexuality was whether to be honest about it or to lie, and I chose the former. And you want to punish me for my openness and say it makes me hellbound and undeserving of equal rights? Instead, why don’t you choose to pray to a deity who condemns criminals, not minorities? As long as you’re cherry picking, why not go for the delicious fruits of your lord, not the gay bashing and ostracizing?

In some cases, you already do so. Even the simplest minds must realize that the Bible is stuffed with metaphors and parables, some of which are obsolete and ignored today, for obvious reasons. For example, the Bible insists that women should keep silent in church. So, when women recite prayers or get up to read the Bible or teach at church, why don’t you male Christians out there furiously shout them down? Because you think that would be absurd? Exactly. (PS: I’ve read hilarious rationales about that passage, from “It was added!” to “The word silent here doesn’t really mean silent.” Also, “It just means that they shouldn’t teach males.” Well, they do.)


And while we’re at it, why aren’t you fighting for laws that say that “sons of Israel” should not wear polyester blends or eat shellfish? Because you would feel a tad silly if you did so? Gotcha. It’s true, the Bible also says that men who have sex together should be stoned to death. But are you starting to see how this book can be hopelessly barbaric and out of date, which is why all of its points shouldn’t be held up for the same literal-minded scrutiny? Stoning people to death all the time would no doubt land you in jail, where the Bible defense wouldn’t help you much, even if you somehow felt sainted by the glorious destruction you’ve achieved.

And what happened to “Love the sinner, not the sin”? That’s a horrible enough attitude—since homosexuality is not a sin, it’s always been a fact of life, even in the animal kingdom—but at least it means you’d be kind to the person involved. But, to name just one of Trump’s many bigoted policies, he recently doubled down on rules that allow medical workers to refuse service to queers, with not a peep of disagreement from any of you. And that’s the Christian thing to do? To flush away your professional obligation and turn someone in need away because God supposedly told you to? And how would the doctor even know if the patient is gay? If he’s wearing a romper? If it’s a woman in a flannel shirt? This is beyond absurd. Is this really loving the “sinner”? Even Pope Francis calls this kind of behavior inhuman.

When comic Stephen K. Amos recently said he felt rejected by the Catholic faith because of his gayness, the Pope replied, “We are all human beings and have dignity. … There are people that prefer to select or discard people because of the adjective. These people don’t have a human heart.” And they’re not great readers either. The best meme going around is a cartoon that says, “So if the Bible says we should help the poor, welcome the foreigner, heal the sick, respect others, not lie, not commit adultery, and not steal, then why do we support Donald Trump?” “Oh, Billy. We don’t actually practice these things, we only preach them.”

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But let’s talk about me for a second. I’m a tax-paying citizen (despite the fact that my taxes seem to go to walls, cages, and tanks these days). I don’t break laws. I’m a dependable employee who’s professional and thorough. I don’t lie or cheat. I’m a loyal friend. I was such a good son that I took care of both my parents to their dying day, and even moved my mother in with me for the last two years of her life because she didn’t want to go into a home. But angry people holding some ancient book think I’m a bad person? Hilarious. Let’s look into your closets before we decide that I’m the heathen here. And if you notice, your beloved Bible’s messages are making you furious, while I’m out there succeeding and scoring. You seem to be fuming all the time, so what happened to the Bible giving you solace? Your warped reading of it is making you very, very upset.

Let me lay on one more reminder that your “good book” should rule your life, but not mine. If you still insist that being gay is a choice and you don’t like it, then fine, don’t choose to do it. (And certainly not in bathroom stalls, ba dum pum.) And by all means, don’t marry someone of the same sex, even if you want to! In Haterstown, it’ll be impossible for you to get a cake anyway. Just please stop trying to devalue my existence with your distastes, while claiming it’s your holy right to do so. My aunt the nun has never done that in our many years together; we respect each other—and yes, she speaks in church. She and I know that the concept of God is a being who’s loving and accepting of decent, honest people. And if there really is a hell for sinners, you’d better start packing.

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Update: Since making the aforementioned compassionate remark about gays, the Pope then declared that the existence of trans people goes against nature. Oy. You could go crazy trying to find some consistency in these alleged teachings. And as usual, there’s hypocrisy involved. A lot of the people who say trans people go against God because they’re changing what He created regularly wear contacts, dye their hair, get tattoos, and submit to a lot of the same surgery trans people get. And the Pope basically wears a dress. So just keep your mixed messages off my lawn and try to be nice, oh Christians, before someone drops a house on you, too. And by the way, your queer kid, whom you kicked out into the street because God told you to, says hi.

Thoughts and prayers,
Michael Musto

Pandora Boxx and Piers Morgan Battle It Out

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Let me stick with the subject of haters and talk about how the Republicans seem to have such a hard time with Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez having worked as a bartender. Is it that she watered down their drinks? And don’t they usually deride people of color for mooching off the system? What’s the problem with making a decent living serving something legal? Bars and clubs pump billions of dollars into the economy while providing entertainment and creativity, and alcohol is certainly no stranger to many Repubs.

And since that party seems to spend about 20 hours a day trying to belittle AOC, she obviously is quite accomplished, having made gigantic waves in such a short time. Gee, she must have something going on! Besides, they love a president whose primary qualification was being a reality star and a financially murky casino owner, but a bartender is just too below the bar?

Well, Pandora Boxx (Drag Race, Season 2) is not having this attack. In a Twitter discussion of AOC’s credentials, someone noted that Ivanka Trump is hardly qualified to handle international diplomacy, seeing as she was born rich and had everything handed to her by daddy. That caused “journalist”/“TV personality” Piers Morgan to tweet, “Could be worse…Ivanka could have been a bartender 18 months ago.” So some honest employment would have been worse than bratty entitlement?

In chimed Pandora, who replied, “Yet another rich white straight man trying to shame people making an honest living. I mean literally you’ve gotten rich from being an utter tool. Deluded asshat.” As the feud progressed, Morgan called Pandora an abusive racist who was playing the victim. But she had been calling him a racist first (and also later admitted that some of her words could have been better chosen, an admission you won’t hear from a Trump supporter). Anyway, a drag queen basically took down a real drag. Score another one for us. Cheers.

While I’m immersing myself in Twitter battles, when Kamala Harris was belittled by Donald Trump Jr., who retweeted (then deleted) something claiming she wasn’t a real black American, she should have responded: “I’m touched that the folks who feel there are some fine people in the Klan and who generally think diversity is overrated suddenly think someone isn’t black enough. Well, I didn’t choose my racial identity, but I happen to be proud of it, and as for you, Junior—didn’t your grandfather used to be a Nazi?” You’re welcome.

Invaders of the Lost Ark

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Now that Pride month is over and we’ve heard an earful about how we fought against our oppressors, how about a reminder of one way we were horrible to ourselves? In 1976, a boite in the uppity Fire Island Pines refused service to a drag queen from neighboring Cherry Grove, stating that men had to dress like men or not come in. The offended person and others, led by a gussied-up queen named Panzi, then invaded the Pines on a speedboat, a happening which has grown to the point where every July 4th, ferries full of queens disembark from the Grove to the Pines, as Panzi sarcastically announces them. Today, you’re practically refused entry if you’re not in drag!

And sure enough, last Thursday, as Trump was invading D.C. with masturbatory tanks, the drag queen “Invasion” hit the Pines, with Shangela hosting the pre-show (“I’ve been invaded twice in the last three days!”) and Panzi announcing queens like Camilla Porker Bowles, Areola Grande, Annie Cockledoo, Donatella U. Husband, and Iva Johnson. I asked Panzi how the event has changed through the years. “The drag queens have gotten older,” she said, “and the crowd has gotten younger.” Ain’t that always the way?

But back to Pride: I’ve mentioned that FX is planning a docuseries on that subject, produced by Christine Vachon. Well, each decade will be covered by a different director or directors, so Yance Ford will do the 1990s and Anthony and Alex the ‘80s. The latter two were going to focus on videographer Nelson Sullivan, but he got a lot of exposure in Wig, so they might switch gears to another late video artist, Tom Rubnitz. Rubnitz—who once told me he was influenced by everything from the ‘60s sitcom That Girl to JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald—spoofed pop culture from a downtown point of view. He would have made mincemeat of Piers Morgan.

Leslie Jordan vs. Joan Collins and Lady Gaga!

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Facing his own battles—including with his Southern Baptist upbringing—Leslie Jordan spills all in his delightful show, Leslie Jordan Exposed, which I caught at The Green Room 42 at Yotel the other night. The hilarious pixie truly has the gift of gab, as he unearths remembrances about working with people like John Ritter (“He was not gay. He was a puss hound. He’s chasing pussy all through heaven”) and Billy Bob Thornton (whose penis is hung like a pipe, though he’s loathe to show it on command).

More triumphantly, Jordan reveals that he got his Emmy winning role of socialite Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace—which he’s returning to later this month—only because Joan Collins had originally been cast and was supposed to get into a Dynasty-like fight with Karen, only to have her wig pulled off. Well, Joan refused to lose the wig, so they canned her, rethought the role, and got Leslie for Mr. Leslie. “Allegedly,” he adds. That’s because he got a letter from Joan’s husband saying, “Please stop telling that story. It diminishes her chance for employment.”

Leslie’s chances to work only grew when he co-starred with another diva, Lady Gaga (or Stefani, as they called her on the set), on American Horror Story: Coven. He describes Gaga as polite and lovely, “but nutty as a fruitcake. The lights are blinking…but the train isn’t coming.” Gaga pulled Leslie aside during one scene and said, “I usually sexualize my roles, but I don’t want to do that with this.” And yet, he found her riding him and rubbing her hooha against him as she howled at the moon. Allegedly.

Best of all is the story of how Leslie once had to recite the line, “It’s hard to be a good Christian and a cocksucker, too” as the devout Reba McEntire sat in the audience. As usual, the actor is racy and adorable, and he made me a believer all over again.

Michael Musto is the long running, award-winning entertainment journalist and TV commentator.