"What if I told you God is gay? / Do you think belligerent Bible-belters / Would still holler hate speech to the hilltops / In his name?"
So begins the poem "God Is Gay," by a straight, Christian college student whose slam performance of the work has become a hit on YouTube, with nearly 80,000 views so far.
Elliot Darrow, a student at the University of North Carolina, performed the poem in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in April, and video of his appearance was posted to YouTube in May, but it's had a recent spike in viewings.
Darrow, who grew up Presbyterian but is not affiliated with a specific denomination now, says he wrote the poem to challenge antigay religious views. "I've seen so many people, in my mind, misuse the Bible to preach not necessarily hatred, but just ignorance toward people who are of other preferences," he told Time magazine's Swampland blog. "I want to show that regardless of how someone identifies, God wants to love them, and God does love them."
He added, "I personally believe that God is not a sexual being, but at the same time, to make a statement, what if he were, was all in attempt to show people that even God, who we all see as infallible, still has human traits, such as sexuality, or loves people of a specific gender or identity."
Some other provocative lines from the poem: "Keep in mind Jesus had two dads and turned out just fine / In fact, Jesus had two dads and a surrogate mother / That never had sex with either of them / Maybe Mary was a lesbian."