The "Christian" Millennium

An Editorial by Warren J. Blumenfeld

With increasing rapidity, we hear references to the coming of the "21st Century," the year 2000, and the dawning of "THE new millennium." In fact, the Human Rights Campaign and the Metropolitan Community Churches are proposing, as they state in a recent letter to the editor, a "Millennium March for Equality in the year 2000."

Among the definitions of "millennium" in the Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, definition #2a. is: "a period of 1000 years" Let us not forget, however, that the year 2000 is in reference to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and, therefore, it is actually the beginning of the next "CHRISTIAN" millennium. In fact, definition #1a in the same dictionary defines "millennium" as: "the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 during which holiness is to prevail and Christ is to reign on earth."

For me, current references to the next millennium are examples of what I have termed "Christianism" or "Compulsory Christianity," which I define as the system of advantages bestowed to Christians; it is the institutional response to religious oppression which assumes that all people are or should be Christian, thereby excluding the needs, concerns, life experiences, and cultures of non-Christians.

Therefore, I ask that we view the year 2000 A.D. as ONE significant benchmark, though, for many of us, it also marks a heightening of our cultural and religious invisibility.

The Human Rights Campaign and the Metropolitan Community Churches need to acknowledge the Christian assumptions underlying their proposed march.

As a gay man, I attended the first three marches on Washington in 1979, 1987, and 1993. In all likelihood, I will be there again next time, for I see the value of visibility actions on the local as well as the national level. However, if the march takes place as proposed, I will be forced split loyalties, to split my social identities, marching for heightened visibility on one hand while simultaneously heightening my own invisibility on the other.


Warren J Blumenfeld is editor of the Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity, editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price, and co-author with Diane Raymond of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life. He can be reached at blumenfeld@educ.umass.edu

©1998 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.