Holy Family Coitus Act at Drag Ball Angers First-year

To the Editors:

I entered the night of April 6 filled with built-up anticipation for a fun-filled night that I had heard about numerous times since having enrolled at Oberlin College this past fall. However, I feel it is my duty as a concerned student with ties to both the LGBT community and the religious community not only here at Oberlin but also in my home city of Atlanta, to comment on a disturbing aspect of Drag Ball 2002.
I know that I am not alone in my struggle as a gay Catholic even though at times, I feel as if I am the only one in the world. This hyperawareness of these two seemingly mutually conflicting identities has always been with me, but it has particularly been heightened while attending Oberlin. What took place on the stage of Wilder Main at Drag Ball is a travesty! Of which one, I do not in the least bit find either humorous or tasteful.
One of the “acts” featured two Oberlin students dressed up very obviously to look like Joseph and Mary of the New Testament of the Bible. Very early on in this scene, the baby Jesus was chucked into the crowd. Gee, I thought to myself, there goes the core of my faith being tossed out like a piece of garbage. I know I am bold in saying this, but I cannot help but thinking that this solitary act echoes to the mass lack of concern for human infants (born and pre-born) on this campus.
These two actors then preceded to strip off their first century garb and dance sensuously in what was virtually mock-sex on stage. Now, I have had many discussion about whether or not Jesus had brothers and sisters, and I conclude that it is still a very much debated issue within Christianity. But at least out of respect for the Catholic tradition which holds that Mary was EVER virgin and that Joseph was her celibate spouse, these two students did not need to make this kind of statement that the parents of Jesus engaged in coitus.
I am well aware that many view the history of Christianity as very patriarchal, but is this really the method that you want to take to effect change? I can point out very easily a more positive, less offensive alternative. Just last Thursday, Queers and Allies of Faith (QUAF) of which I am the Secretary, brought a speaker, Daniel Helminiak, to campus who eloquently lectured on the topic of what the Bible really says about homosexuality. Looking through a historical-critical lens, Mr. Helminiak systematically delved through the various passages in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament which have been inaccurately utilized in the subjugation of the LGBT communities. His methods were very academic and pointed strongly to the conclusion that nowhere in the Bible is there strong evidence to condemn homosexuality, but to myself and many others, his talk was also thought-provoking, life-affirming, and even spiritually uplifting. His lecture left me with a renewed sense of passion to go back to my Catholic community and work for change within the system. On the flip side, after seeing the gross display of a paucity of respect for the Christian communities on campus at Drag Ball, I left hurt and angered enough to where I felt that I had to write this letter.

–Rick Hoffman
College first-year

April 19
April 26

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