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Posts for April, 2008

Michelle Shocked: Born Again Fundamentalist, Fornicator and Honorary Lesbian

Jim Burroway

April 18th, 2008

Michelle ShockedThere is a fascinating and often confusing interview with Michelle Shocked in the latest Dallas Voice. To the half-dozen of you who remember, Michelle Shocked was the “skateboard punk-rocker” folk singer from Texas. In 1988, her first album, “Short, Sharp, Shocked” scored several hits, including “Anchorage” and “When I Grow Up”. But after the 1990’s she pretty much disappeared from the scene, but not before declaring herself a lesbian at one point.

Or so I had always thought. I could have sworn she did, but maybe she didn’t. In her interview with the Dallas Voice, she said nope, it never happened:

“You know about the politics of identity — of outing people. If I’m guilty of one thing it’s a type of sexual McCarthyism. We’re going to forget what identity politics were like in the mid-’80s — how heavy and intense it was. I felt like it was not a shameful thing to be a homosexual. So I would never sit in front of that congressional committee and say, ‘I am not, nor have I ever been a homosexual.'”

…Okay, what if we called you an “honorary lesbian?”

“I would be honored,” Shocked says.

Whatever she was or was not, she was always all about the controversial. So its no wonder that today, since she found religion at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in South Central while studying traditional African-American gospel music (“As they say, I went to church one Sunday too often”), her take on Christianity would be a bit unorthodox.

“There are some inconvenient truths that I’m now a born again, sanctified, saved-in-the-blood Christian. So much of what’s said and done in the name of that Christianity is appalling,” she says. “According to my Bible, which I didn’t write, homosexuality is immoral. But homosexuality is no more less a sin than fornication. And I’m a fornicator with a capital F.”

As if to prove her point, Shocked described how she broke up with her boyfriend after coming to the conclusion that their unmarried relationship was sinful. “After four weeks of hell,” they got back together. They’re still not married and apparently don’t have any plans or ambition to change that. Instead, she concluded that her experience taught her that even though she was a big fat fornicator, it just doesn’t matter. It’s all about the mystery of reconciliation:

“Right now, the evangelicals are staking out a ground. And they are saying there is reconciliation between God and man for every human being on this earth — except for gays. And I don’t know who gave them that right!

“I’m here to say, not that homosexuality is wrong. I’m here to say that there is reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ for every human being on the face of this earth. And no one is entitled to speak on God’s behalf and say who does and who doesn’t have that right. Because that price was paid — purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.”