This past July 4th weekend, I had the pleasure of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the LGBT Civil Rights movement at Independence Hall.
Being patriotically gay is an understatement. Philadelphia was a proud example of the red, white, and blue – and rainbow, too – as the two events immersed into what makes me proud to be an American: promisingly progressive with the potential to be even more.
But last weekend also brought us a local embarrassment. His name is Mike Grant, better known as “Philly Jesus.”
The compelling recovered drug addict, widely publicized for his mock-up interpretation of a Michelangelo-esque version of Jesus Christ, decided that he should cast the first stone … on social media.
Some local media outlets have went rampant over his public reversal of LGBT support.
Grant – I personally refuse to refer to him as anything near Jesus – chose to recant the previous positive messages he once posted in favor of the recent Supreme Court’s granting of nationwide marriage equality. He added fuel to the fire by posting those positive messages he had been "justifying sin” and “justifying homosexuality.”
He then devoted a great deal of time posting homophobic religious propaganda on his social media accounts in replacement for the once progressive and positive LGBT support he had espoused.
With all due respect, Mr. Grant, but you’re just a costumed attention seeker who feels self-righteous enough to take your “job” – which is virtually vapid – too far.
Where did we go wrong here, Philly? Since when did non-talented celebrities feel as though they had the right to make ignorant statements about the very people who gave them the buzz they craved so desperately?
Don’t blame Kim Kardashian, blame yourselves. The constant underserved selfies, video shoutouts, news stories, and essential hype has gotten to this man’s head enough to feel as though he should have an audience actually listening to his bigotry.
I immediately unfollowed Mr. Grant from all my social media accounts, both personally and spiritually. And I would also appreciate if he removes the “Philly” from his now bogus pseudonym -- because the city I have come to love and call home doesn’t tolerate a false sense of religious misrepresentation, nor does it seek to capitalize off its namesake to promote homophobia.
In my opinion, Mike Grant doesn’t represent Philly. If anything, this is what the nasty side of self-righteousness and fame can do to someone who receives it disingenuously.
So collectively, I call for a social crucifixion – one that is non-violent or hateful, something more possibly “Christ-like” than what Mr. Grant has displayed on his social media.
Beyond the unfollows and social media isolation, choose not to engage with him in public nor should you encourage your friends to do so either. For such bigotry and small-mindedness doesn’t deserve the attention of the already busy lives of Philadelphians in Center City.
You can find me at the LOVE Park fountain, where, like Pontius Pilate, I will be washing my hands of this debauchery for good.