Böses Christentum

Ich hab mich jetzt entschlossen öfter mal was zu recyclen, da das eh keiner mehr kennt, was ich vor zwei, drei Jahren auf X-berg.de gepostet habe. Im Folgenden daher ein Auszug aus dem Buch Homosexuality and Civilization von Louis Crompton, einer Universalgeschichte der „Homosexualität“ aus dem Jahr 2003. Es geht darin um die ersten katholischen Missionsversuche im China der Ming-Dynastie und passt recht gut in die Folge von Stories über Kolonialismus, Rassismus und den christlichen Anti-Sodomie-Diskurs, welche ich in den letzten Tagen veröffentlicht habe. Die Mühe, es aus dem Englischen zu übersetzen, hab ich mir allerdings nicht gemacht:
Beijing Hand Scroll: Young men engaged in erotic play

Under the Ming dynasty China developed its first important contacts with the West, and two civilizations learned about each other with amazement, admiration, and disgust. In 1557 Portuguese traders established a settlement at Macao, and Western missionaries made their first systematic efforts to proselytize China. These Catholic missionaries, chiefly Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Jesuits and Dominicans, came from countries where sodomites where still routinely burned at the stake. Chinese tolerance left them profoundly shocked. To these devout priests, the fires of the Inquisition seemed infinitely preferable to the fires of lust, or even to love or affection in so heterodox a form.

Together with the new science of the Renaissance, European visitors brought European superstitions: the Dominican Gaspar da Cruz, in a book published in 1569, ascribed the earthquakes that had shaken China twelve years earlier to Chinese indifference to sodomy. The most famous scientific missionary to China, the distinguished Jesuit astronomer and mathematician Matteo Ricci, shared his compatriots‘ concern for such derelictions almost to the point of obsession. A few weeks after his arrival in 1583 he wrote to his superior lamenting „the horrible sin to which everyone here is much given, and about which there seems to be no shame or impediment.“ When he translated the Ten Commandments into Chinese a year later, Ricci had no compunction about revising Exodus. „Thou shall not commit adultery“ became „Thou shalt not do depraved, unnatural, or filthy things.“ On being asked in 1606 to contribute samples of Western art to a Chinese book on calligraphy, he chose three works illustrating the life of Christ, but the fourth depicted the destruction of Sodom, with Ricci’s comment: „Depraved sensuality and vileness bring on themselves the heavenly fire.“ Shortly before his death in 1610 he lamented once more that unnatural lust was „neither forbidden by law, nor thought to be illicit, nor even a cause of shame. It is spoken of in public, and practiced everywhere, without there being anyone to prevent it.“

When East and West met in lands under Spanish dominion, the results could be tragic. In 1598 an attorney-general in Manila wrote to Philip II that sodomy was rife among Chinese traders in the Philippines: „An investigation was carried out. Fourteen or fifteen culprits were caught.“ The Chinese, however, defended themselves by saying the practice was quite common among men in China. Despite their excuses two of them were condemned to die at the stake, the others were flogged and condemned to the galleys. Notices in Chinese were put up in the Chinese quarters warning against this great offence under pain of capital punishment and confiscation of property.“ In 1617 the Ming geographer Zhang Xie took note of these burnings „on a pile of firewood“ in his Study of the Eastern and Western Oceans. To the Chinese, such drastic measures must have seemed a sign of Western barbarism.

Wer den Ausschnitt im Ganzen lesen möchte (dies sind nur die letzten drei Absätze), kann noch mal in meinem alten Journal auf X-berg.de vorbeischauen.