It takes a delicate touch to keep God from becoming problematic. The truth is that God is an amalgam of Eros and Thanatos, which merge to give life its creative force. But God can only be brought into politics if we emphasize Thanatos and paint Eros with the black tar of sin and decadence.
This is why our religious right harkens back to the God of the Old Testament with his fiery sword of death and destruction, and why anything that might hint at God as Eros is meant with the spittle-spray of Christian wrath.
An example of this surfaced in 1989 when the photographer/artist Andres Serrano put on display a photograph titled Piss Christ that showed a crucifix suspended in a gallon of the artist’s urine.
The religious right went bonkers! They had to attack the work because Serrano had done nothing less than produce a deeply profound work of religious art that opened up to the viewers a deeper understanding of the wholeness and unity of God’s creation. Here was Eros trying to kick in their door. The right had to barricade it.
Piss is a victim of bad press. We hide it in our toilets and pretend it doesn’t exist by never mentioning it in polite society. And this is as it must be, for the truth of the matter is that piss is a life-sustaining fluid. Piss nurtures life by carrying the poisons out of our bodies. Without it, we would die. Therefore, piss is an integral component of God’s creation.
And, this was the problem with Serrano’s Piss Christ. The crucifix was suspended in a life-sustaining fluid, a fluid that made God’s creation possible. The last thing the religious right wanted was the public popping a bunch of epiphanies in which they saw the all-embracing nature of God’s creation, how even the ugly and the despised are as important to life as the beautiful and the sublime. For in piss, Thanatos and Eros are a unified whole.
The religious right preaches that God’s creation is selective! The belief that it is all-embracing is a heresy that must be suppressed at all costs.
As always, God rides into politics on the Devil’s back.