Being Gay is Disgusting (or God Likes the Smell of Burning Fat)

By Edward Falzon
Daijin Publishing

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover… or in this case, its title. Still, you don’t have to look too far into Being Gay is Disgusting (or God Likes the Smell of Burning Fat) to see that the title is dripping with irony.

Part parody, part protest, the book is a rewrite of the first five books of the Bible. While this may seem sacrilegious, it is important to remember that the world’s best selling book (The Bible) has been rewritten and paraphrased many times throughout its history.

Most of the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, meaning that every version we know has been translated, allowing a wider range of people access to its messages. And that is in essence what Being Gay is Disgusting offers – an irreverent, reader-friendly rundown of the momentous happenings of the first 2,700 years of biblical history.

According to Falzon, it was after attempting to read the Bible from page one that he realised how inaccessible it was to readers and set about paraphrasing it chapter by chapter.

‘My intention was to write an unapologetic, but accurate paraphrasing of the Bible, hopefully providing a more entertaining but equally informative read,’ he said.

‘My goal is to raise consciousness about biblical content – whether or not that content is true or sacred, it should still be openly discussed and freely debated.’

And raise consciousness he does. As someone who has never made it past the heavy prose and begetting (of which there is a painful abundance in the Old Testament), I learnt some weird and wonderful stories I didn’t even know were included in the Bible. So many people quote from or reference the Bible but they pick and choose which parts are relevant, meaning that often the good stuff gets missed out.

This selective reading, and interpretation, of biblical content plays into Falzon’s decision for giving his book such a risqué title. For example, recent activism surrounding same-sex marriage has inevitably drawn criticism from religious groups who fall back on the reasoning that homosexuality is expressly forbidden in the Bible.

‘So many well-funded groups hark back to Leviticus for the moral turpitude of homosexuality,’ he said.

‘Homosexuality is mentioned exactly twice in 2,700 years, yet lobby groups focus on this “law” far more than any other biblical rule. They’ll never admit that the same biblical page also contains prohibitions on crossbreeding animals and wearing clothes of two different threads.’

‘These groups will spend millions on anti-gay efforts, but nobody is protesting the local zoo for breeding ligers or farmers for breeding mules, nor are these groups attempting to shut down the Gap for using poly-cotton blends,’ Falzon added.

‘And no one is lobbying to prohibit work on the Sabbath, yet that rule is peppered throughout the Old and New Testaments, and is even one of the Ten Commandments. It’s the cherry picking that annoys me.’

Not just informative, Being Gay is Disgusting is dry, witty and at times laugh-out-loud funny (not a great pick for the train commute… you don’t want to be seen sniggering into a book with this title!). I never knew the Bible could even be this outrageous.

Amy Henderson