I went through some gay western history (here, here, and here). This little bit comes in with the inquisition (the last post in that series). I also noted how the Sodom story was transformed into a gay story (here) and used to further the political and theological aims. But Sodom wasn’t enough for some.
Jesus was a problem. He was silent on the subject, strikingly to some of those wanting to act against gays. He also had all that “resist not evil” and “love your enemy” stuff, and backed up the inhospitality angle of Sodom. The best excuses for killing gays were in the Old Testament (along with laws most, even in the Church, were happy to ignore), and in the purported words of Paul, a non-perfect human, who advises against even heterosexual marriage. Something more was needed to justify the actions of the inquisition; Jesus needed to be tweeked.
That sort of extra something may be found in the Diccionario de los inquisidores (Translation from Compton’s Homosexuality and Civilization) (1494):
“The day of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ was prefigured according to Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome by the fire of Sodom, since all the sodomite in the world were annihilated on that night. The light was so potent that it destroyed all those who had engaged in that vice. It was the work of Christ.”
So why didn’t Jesus say anything about gays? Simple, because He killed them all the day of His birth, and there were little to no gays on which to comment. And, of course, now the Church of the time was justified in His example.
Odd no historian mentioned the immolating end of all those gay Romans ;-); even more odd and terribly sad that the inspiring image of the savior Christ child would be used in such a way.
The author, of course, couldn’t rewrite the Bible at this point and so it’s attributed to two revered saints, second best at the time I suppose. But no modern scholarship has found such opinion in the writings of either saint. Yet, this story was used to further justify the killing and torture of gays and was used in theological treatise as late as 1860.
Ugly Christmas story, to be sure, and I apologize for the image, but I think it’s important to remember such past. It's illustrative of how people claiming the moral high ground can make the most vile of sins shine like morality by wrapping them in such imagery. It’s happened in our recent past, and it certainly will happen again.