David Rimmer of After Stonewall says that running a gay bookshop allows him to meet interesting people. But Rimmer recently received a letter from someone a little out of the ordinary: Jesus.
The letter — with no return address — is signed “The Lord Jesus The Christ.” It warns of “The continuing judgment on politicians, bureaucrats, police officers, media and others who facilitate, finance and endorse the sin of homosexuality.”
Rimmer put the letter in his window.
The letter condemns gays for mocking the Last Supper. A cheeky parody was part of an Ottawa Wolves gay-friendly rugby team calendar, where the team posed nude in a manner reminiscent of da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Rimmer had it in his window for about two weeks.
Rimmer is not convinced the letter is the authentic word of God. It’s more likely a crank, he admits.
“I hate to generalize, but the people who go around writing letters of this nature are obsessive. You have to have problems to waste your time this way,” he says.
All the same, the letter is not going to change the way he does business.
“We get offended by things in our daily lives. Just because the offence is tied to a religious identity, does it make it any stronger?” asks Rimmer.
The same letter was also sent to the Ottawa Sun, Metro News, 24 Hours, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ontario Human Rights Commission, Attorney General of Ontario, PFLAG Canada, Ten Oaks Project, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, the Ottawa Police Service, Scotiabank, La Petit Mort Gallery, as well as the “homosexual press, bars, lounges and bathhouses.”
Sun publisher Rick Gibbons says he has no desire to respond to “kooky” letters.
“I don’t want to provoke anyone. I just treat [letters of this nature] with the credibility they deserve and throw them in the garbage,” he says.
“I’m still waiting for my letter from Jesus,” says Wilde’s owner Rob Giacobbi, who has run a sex shop and bathhouse across the street from Rimmer for 13 years.
Wanda Cotie of Wicked Wanda’s, a neighbouring sex-shop owner, says Jesus didn’t sent her hate mail. But she agrees with Gibbons: the best thing to do with people who send letters of this nature is to not give them any attention.
“In this business, you’re always going to have some bent, twisted fucker wanting to judge you. The best thing to do is just say to them ‘Whatever, you crazy,’ and carry on,” says Cotie.