Southern Baptists and anti-gay fundamentalists might not like to hear it but just listen to what King James wrote to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham: "I naturally so love your person, and adore all your other parts, which are more than ever one man had." James also wrote that "I desire only to live in the world for your sake."
Lest there be any doubts among Southern Baptists investigators about this being erotic as opposed to platonic affection, the far older James called angelic young Villiers "my sweet child and wife, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband." In return, Villiers, the subject of the nursery rhyme, Georgie Porgie, wrote James that "I cannot now think of giving thanks for friend, wife, or child; my thoughts are only bent on having my dear Dad and Master's legs soon in my arms." Villiers wrote as a man who "threatens you, that when he once gets hold of your bedpost again, never to quit it." James wrote to Villiers that "whether you loved me now . . . better than at the time I shall never forget at Farnham, where the bed's head could not be found between the master and his dog."
James' sexual activity can be traced back to when he was 13 and king of Scotland, a title he had gained after his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had been removed from the throne. James was an only son and grew-up with rumors that his mother had his father killed so that she could have the throne. Like Georgie Porgy, Mary was the subject of a nursery rhyme:
Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Mary's garden was a graveyard. Silver bells referred to thumbscrews while cockle shells were a similar torture device which corresponded to the anatomical part with the appropriate sounding name. The pretty maiden was the name for an early form of the guillotine, a device devoutly Catholic Mary freely used in persecuting Protestants.
However, James became king of Scotland when he was only thirteen months old. As he had no father, James relied on male courtiers. One such courtier was his thirty-seven-year-old French cousin, Esmé Stuart d'Aubigny, who introduced the thirteen-year-old James to gay sex. The young James became so enamored of Esmé that Scottish nobles kidnaped the king and would not release him until James expelled his cousin back to France.
James did marry but was said not to have been affectionate, although he sired several children. His wife and he lived apart after the birth of their daughter Sophia. After he became king of England in 1603, James fell in love with a seventeen-year-old poor Scotsman named Robert Carr who would become his Groom of the Chamber. James met him when Carr fell off a horse during a jousting contest. James ran onto the field and cradled the nimble, somewhat effeminate and not so bright teenager in his arms. James ensured Carr received the best care. King James eventually was to "treat Carr in public with the same exaggerated, gross affection as in private." Many were shocked by a middle-aged, paunchy, balding and unclean man kissing and hugging on a pretty young boy. Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, wrote that James "leans on his [Carr's] arm, pinches his cheeks, smooths his ruffled garment, and when he looks upon Carr, directs his speech to others."
One historian wrote that "This slobbering, lolling King, who never washed his hands least the delicacy of their skin be inured, who was unable to stand upright without leaning on the nearest courtier, who wore padded clothing for fear of stabbing, who was a glutton and a spendthrift (of other people's money), had a keen and devious mind . . . he came to England as a man comes to a banquet; he left government to others and occupied himself with processional visits, routs, and masques. And freed from the firm hand of Elizabeth, the courtiers ran riot, and provided under James' influence one of the most corrupt and dissolute courts in English history."
When Carr finally broke away as Groom of the Chamber, James wrote him that "I leave out of this reckoning your long creeping back and withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnest soliciting you to the contrary . . ."
As to James' relationship with his last significant other, Georgie Porgie Villiers, in 1617 there was a debate in the Privy Council. Sir John Oglander testified that
"The King is wonderous passionate, a lover of his favourites beyond the love of men to women. He is the chastest prince for women that ever was, for he would often swear that he never kissed any other woman than his own queen. I never yet saw any fond husband make so much or so great dalliance over his beautiful spouse as I have seen King James over his favourites, especially Buckingham [Villiers]."
Before the Privy Council James boldly defended their relationship by saying that he was "neither a god nor an angel, but a man, like any other. Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had John, and I have George."
Somehow I don't think that Southern Baptists would tolerate someone, not even a Republican king, favorably comparing his gay relationship with that of Christ to John. Then again, as one religious right site states it: "The morality of King James has come under attack from a number of groups. Among the most vociferous are sodomites and apologists who defend modern Bible versions like the NIV." Another religious right site says that anybody that tries to tell you that James was gay or bisexual is hoping "that vilifying King James, would tarnish the Bible that bears his name so that Christians would turn away from God's book to a more 'modern' translation."
How ironic it is that gay unfriendly Southern Baptists are the biggest proponents of the King James Bible. Then again, given that King James was remarkably arrogant, out-of-touch and torched "sodomites" and "witches" in the name of God while all the time being a sanctimonious hypocrite engaging in gay relationships, he could blend right in along side Ted Haggard putting the heat on gays and feminist abortionists.
Richard can be heard frequently live on the Bob Kincaid Radio Show (7-10 pm EST) on Head-on Radio