SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2008 




New to email
updates? Then click here to find out more.

email address
I have read and agree to our terms
and conditions



Sound Off about this article

Printer-friendly Version

E-Mail this story

Search the Blade


How Do Gay Couples Fall in Love?
Answer: The same ways straight couples do! (Though you won’t learn that from mainstream media.)

ENDA Origins
What started as a good thing went bad—thanks to HRC and Barney Frank.

Lessons From Syphilis Stats
The New York Health Department reported a 62% spike among MSM. Those numbers have a lot to teach us.

Turn Down the Stereotype
Hold a mirror up to gay generalizations and you’ll see the humor in it all.

The Strange Thing About ‘Normal’
A New York Times story on young gay married men presented dry stereotypes.




Burn the Koran? It’s Gay Artwork

Friday, August 03, 2007

Gay artist Charles Merrill, peace be upon him, is a most intriguing figure, socially engagé in the fine tradition of Albert Camus. He says: “The role of the artist is to fix unjust laws in the fabric of society that need to be fixed.”

Back in the summer of 2006, a Muslim member of the Israeli Knesset, Ibrahim Sarsur, of the United Arab List party, warned gays that “if they dare to approach the Temple Mount during the World Pride 2006 parade in Jerusalem they will do so over our dead bodies.” In response, Charles Merrill, at the time 72, said: “I will be approaching the Temple Mount out of love and forgiveness to those who hate us. If the three major religions in the Middle East want us stoned to death as it dictates in their ancient scriptures, then our gentle innocent blood will be on their hands. Gays are the meek in society and love all of humanity.”

More recently, Merrill took ink and scissors to a copy of a Bible, editing out the anti-gay passages. He followed that up by burning a rare copy of the Koran with a reported value of $60,000 that had been given to his late wife by the King of Jordan. You can hardly find a reference to Jordan that doesn’t claim it is a “moderate Muslim” country. Funny, though, that you don’t just as often get a reminder that no Jew may be a citizen of Jordan, or buy land there. There are elements in Jordanian society that regularly assert the notion that all homosexuality in the Middle East is Israel’s “fault.”

Merrill edited the Bible in the open, but he burned the Koran at “an undisclosed location in Chicago.” What does that tell us about the reactions to be expected of Muslims as opposed to those of non-Muslims on such occasions?

GAY BLOGS HAVE been abuzz with commentary on Charles Merrill’s gay-positive artistic statements. Some of those comments irk me, especially those that suggest respect is automatically due religious texts and traditions. Just what about anti-gay religious texts should be respected? The Bible is dead wrong to call homosexuality an abomination, and the Koran and the Hadith are even more dead wrong to call for human beings who engage in same-sex intimacies to be killed.

As Americans, we shouldn’t suffer any naïveté regarding the thoughts of the Muslims within our borders. The recent Pew Research study with the misleading title “Muslim Americans; Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream” found that only 40 percent of those American Muslims surveyed believe that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Arabs. Furthermore, 69 percent of all American Muslims said that society should discourage homosexuality, and 59 percent believe that government should do more to “protect morality in society.”

There’s a very important point to be made here. Islam by its nature as defined in the Koran is a religion that demands to be an integral part of human political organization. People following what the Koran says believe that the laws of a land and indeed the world should be Islamic laws, the original Islamic laws as dictated by Mohammed. If they don’t believe that, they aren’t following the Koran. Muslims are engaged in a struggle—a jihad, sometimes violent, sometimes political—to bring about a worldwide Islamic system. Never mind that they will enthusiastically slaughter each other in the fight over whether that system should be Sunni or Shia. Non-Islamic countries, by contrast, do not base their laws on religious texts. They are, rather, pluralistic, and tolerate people of all religions, with the understanding that all must follow the society’s civil laws.

ANOTHER ARGUMENT I see some gay people advancing in blog comments is that of moral relativity. According to the illogic of that position, because Christian and Jewish religious texts call homosexuality an “abomination,” those two religions are as bad toward gays as Islam.

I recommend anybody stupid enough to believe that to buy an airplane ticket to Iran. They can save themselves the need for and the expense of buying a round-trip ticket by standing in downtown Teheran, kissing another gay man. The Koran is choc-a-bloc with absurdist and often vicious fairy tales; but what’s happening to gay people today in Iran is literally bloody murder—it’s real, and it’s inspired directly by the Muslim murderers’ devotion to Islamic religious texts.

Look, Charles Merrill burned the Koran specifically to protest the horrendous anti-gay crimes of Muslims. Some gay people commenting on blogs get it. But enough don’t for me to find their attitudes extremely disturbing.

 Between the Koran and the Hadith there is no question but that Mohammed, fatuously and ridiculously claiming to be speaking the thoughts and words of a Supreme Nincompoop called “Allah,” believed that two men caught having sex with each other should be put to death. The Koran and the Hadith continue in our day to inspire Muslims to murder gay people. So in the name of reason, how could any gay person criticize Charles Merrill for burning a Koran in protest of that?

The Koran is today’s “Mein Kampf.” By the way, “Kampf” and “jihad” are, respectively, the German and Arabic words for “struggle.” If enough Germans had burned Hitler’s book before the Nazis overpowered Germany, perhaps the Germans wouldn’t have wound up having to rebuild their entire country over the ashes of countless millions of dead.

So I salute Charles Merrill for his artistic and social bravery in burning a Koran. I encourage you to show your support for him by attending his exhibit “Gay Activism Into Art Form,” which will be shown August 16–31 at the Broadway Gallery.

Michael Lucas is the president and CEO of You can read more about his thoughts and his XXX movies at Editor’s note: We would like to point out that op-eds are not necessarily the viewpoint of The New York Blade, but rather are viewpoints of individuals in the community we think will spur discussion among our readers. We invite all readers to respond via a Letter to the Editor or an opinion piece for us to consider publishing. We can be reached at

about us

© 2008 |  HX Media, LLC  | Privacy Policy