Since her death in January 2022, the tributes have been pouring in for Betty White. Here at Yass, Jesus! we believe Betty – racial justice advocate, faithful Christian, LGBTQIA+ ally, and badass bitch – deserves the true title of Queer Saint Betty White.
Yass, Jesus! is hosted by Danny Franzese and Azariah Southworth. Our producers are Ross Murray and Meredith Paulley. Sound, music, and post-production by Chris Heckman.
Daniel: [00:00:00] Hello, Kings and Queens and in-between sinner saints, and I don't know if I is or ain'ts. Welcome to another cheese-cakey episode of Yass, Jesus! I am Daniel Franzese and as always, I'm here with my gal pal...
Azariah: Oh, don't you know, it's Azariah Southworth.
Daniel: Well Azzie, listen, gal you're golden in my book because here at Yass Jesus, we believe...
Azariah: Olaf, Minnesota wasn't the only Saint.
Daniel: Thank you for being the friend, Jesus. We want to give thanks today, and to beautiful Saint Betty White. So sit down in the pew, pew, pews and relax, and we will get right back to Betty White after [radio beep] Gay Christian News.
Azariah: Okay, before we get to Saint Betty White, I want to tell you about another unlikely gay icon and author who has passed from this earthly realm into God's great kingdom. Yes, I'm talking about Marlon Bundo, who is Marlon [00:01:00] Bundo?
None other than former vice president, Mike Pence's pet rabbit.
Daniel: Now Azzie, I know all dogs go to heaven, but what about homophobic rabbits? So is the jury still out on that one?
Azariah: I think so here's the thing. Mike Pence's daughter, Charlotte wrote a series of children's books that were told from Marlon Bundo's perspective, including...
living in Washington, DC hopping around the vice president's residence...
Daniel: And going to carrot conversion therapy. No, but John Oliver of last week tonight and England, and of England, published a parody version where Marlon Bundo fell in love with another male rabbit. Now, of course, this was done because Mike Pence is a well-known homophobe. That's why we're making all these jokes folks. We do love rabbits. But, um, but he's a well-known homophobe who has opposed LGBTQ rights and protections. And the joke [00:02:00] was meant to highlight his hypocrisy. And of course , the Marlon Bundo gay parody sold very well, actually better than the original. Both the original series and the gay parody profits went to charity. The gay version benefited LGBTQ charities in the U.S.- Thank you, John Oliver.
Azariah: And how did Charlotte Pence handle a gay bunny on bunny action parody of her book? Well, at least publicly, she was pretty chill about it. Here's what she wrote on Insta.
'The only thing better than one bunny book for charity is two bunny books for charity.'
Daniel: Oh, that's nice. That is a good attitude. And I just want to say, if you're a gay bunny out there, somebody loves you and that is God, so don't worry about it. Um, and that's something to be thankful for. Speaking of which I love my segue's Azzie, I'm a segue genius. Um, we're getting into the praise report and prayer request portion of our pod.
Uh, this is where if you have a little something that you want to say a little [00:03:00] extra hallelujah to God for, we will do that here, live on the air. And if you have a little something extra that you want us to pray for, with you, and you want our listeners to pray for, with you, then why don't you to send it over to our prayer request? And we will put it on our list.
Azariah: Yeah, we're just going to hop on over to the praise report.
Daniel: Honestly,, do you care at all? Do you care at all about just these puns?
Azariah: Let us praise the Lord.
Daniel: Oh, this I'm all ears.
Azariah: This comes all the way from Denmark.
'Hi, I'm Lou from Denmark. A lot of things are good in my life right now. Except the COVID situation of course, I'm surrounded by a lot of amazing people, including my friends and family. I've made a lot of new friends in 2021, and I feel a lot more confident than I used to. Overall, I'm very happy with my life right now. The only things that still kind of bother me is the fact that I'm not out to my mother yet.'
Daniel: Familiar tale, but you [00:04:00] have so much to be grateful for. I think you have the right attitude, Lou, like you're coming at this with, these are all of the things that I see that are wonderful in my life. I have so much gratitude feeling with me. I'm surrounded by a loving tribe. You know, I think that you're in a perfect position to spread that love and hopefully one day, uh, you know, reveal your true self to your mom.
And mom's always know, so it's probably easier than you think, but you never know your situation. But I am saying that this is a praise report, so I'm feeling some good energy coming from you. And I really think that I'm happy for all the things that you have gratitude for, because the best way to get something that you want us to be grateful for, what you have. And you're doing that. Lou, you're living a life of gratitude right now, right, Azzie?
Azariah: Yes. And Lou, when you're ready to share the praise report of coming out to your mother, get back at us at yassjesuspod.com, ok?.
Daniel: Yes please share with our community because we're so excited about all these other wonderful things that are going on in your life right now.
Yes. It really lifted us up and I'm sure it's lifting up our listeners. There's somebody who we need to lift up right now, listeners in our prayer requests. And this is Peggy and [00:05:00] this is what Peggy says. 'In 2022. I need to open my mind to new possibilities and imagine a future for myself in the world. A few examples I'm thinking about right now: I want to improve my painting skills and I'm already taking some steps to improve myself, but I also want to improve my communication, and for me, this means both listening and sharing. So I'm asking for a prayer to open my mind, my imagination and my motivation to make a new reality for myself.'
Thank you, Peggy. Peggy, that's a great thing to pray for. Um, you know, some people think that God's not listening when you're asking for something. Like, I want my painting skills to be a little better. But you know what, that is exactly the type of thing to also pray for it. God is always listening. And I think that using your skills is such a great honor to God, because God gave you some talents and by you using them, you are reflecting the light that he shown on you so other people can bask in it with their skills. So just keep at it and keep doing the work. Um, I think God meets people halfway and you have to really just do the work and do the practice. And, um, you will be so [00:06:00] surprised, um, how everything, um, on that spectrum will improve.
But, you know, when I ever see someone asking God for, uh, or just praying in general, just asking in life to improve communication and realizing that they need to listen more and shit, you know, um, I think that that is a wonderful quality in a person. It's very, uh, heartening to see, when, you know that you have something that's wrong about you or something that you dislike about yourself and you want to work on it, uh, that is the first step to achieving those goals.
So we are going to have a big prayer of growth for you. Um, and, uh, we're really thankful for you sharing that with us.
Yeah, yeah. As the, uh, we'll be right back after this with the, yeah. The scripture of this with the scripture of the day.
Daniel: It's time for the scripture of the day. Scripture. The day scripture, it's soul food. It's food for your soul, Azzie. What does it say?
Azariah: It sure is all you cool cats and kittens. It's John 15: [00:07:00] 15. 'I do not call you servants any longer because a servant does not know what the master is doing. But I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my father, whose name is none other than Sophia.
Daniel: Thank you for being a friend, Jesus. You guys, we have had her for so long, uh, but we lost her too soon. We are still wearing black and singing dirges for the lost of Saint Betty White. That's right, saint Betty White. She was a mother loving Saint. Uh, we Saint people here, um, at Yass Jesus and Betty White's the next one because she was awesome.
Uh, you know, someone said, uh, that, you know, you've, you've lived a great life when you live to be a hundred and it's too soon, too soon to go. And that is the case with Betty White.
Azariah: My mirrors are covered and still to this day, and since her death in January, the tributes have been pouring in and we wanted to add our own.
Daniel: [00:08:00] We'll tell a few stories about what a racial justice advocate, LGBTQ ally and faithful Christian woman, and just all around badass bitch betty White was.
Azariah: So in case you missed all the news, all the memes, all the tributes, here's your gay Christian news. Betty White died on December 31st, 2021 just days shy of her hundredth birthday.
Daniel: Yeah, she was a trailblazing actress, talk show, host and professional game show contestant. I mean the golden girls and gay men, there is a special bond between us and it's not poly grip.
What was that, that made golden girls, such a special show for the gays? I was listening to John Colucci on Ebony and irony lady bunny and money exchanges podcast.
And he wrote not one but two books on the golden girls. And he was just saying women of a certain age, have a certain allowance and a certain license to be able to say whatever they want and be brash and bold. And you know, that older women, especially in American culture [00:09:00] are often forgotten in society. And this came out at the time where they took some of the best actresses, the most beloved actresses from television and theater and put them all in one show and let them run wild, you know?
And they said that the writing room must have been filled with gays, and over the years there were several gays that did write on the show like Mark Cherry, creator of desperate Housewives, and devious maids, and other shows, but for the most part, it was a lot of straight men, like honestly, like, and I think women who were writing, uh, you know, these, they were writing reads, they were writing reads and the library was open at, uh, the golden, the golden girls house.
Yeah, that's fantastic. Um, I, you know, I think that's awesome. I never got to meet, uh, Betty White, but B Arthur did send me an autograph picture when I was 15.
Azariah: Oh, that's fun. I, you know, I always connected with, uh, the golden girls because the, the humor and the reads and the openness and the sensitivity, the vulnerability that they [00:10:00] showed between each other, you know, as their characters. Um, but there's also a lot of storylines that came up that were gay storylines.
Daniel: There were a lot of good stories. As a matter of fact, one of the original characters was a gay man. They had a character of Coco who was their butler. They're living like houseboy, and he was originally a series regular, and he would have been the first gay series, regular on TV.
And after the pilot, it was hard for them to write them out of the pilot. If you ever watched the pilot, it doesn't make much sense. He just stops appearing after the second one, but Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, was such a good actress on the show, and she had such great chemistry that they decided to up her to a series regular. She was only supposed to be a guest star, and then they phased out Coco, so RIP to our first gay character series regular on television that we could have been. Uh, but you know, I think we still got all these awesome gay storylines that happened in the show, um, that they were very, not only tolerant, but progressive in conversations, uh, surrounding everything from aids to adoption, to other [00:11:00] things.
And, you know, we'll talk about this later in the episode, but first I would like to talk about Saint Betty. Did you know that she was she was a Christian gal?
Azariah: Well, she was a member of the unity church.
Daniel: What is the unity church?
Azariah: So I'm glad you asked that Danny. Unity is a global, inclusive spiritual community, and this is the way they describe it on their website:
'We offer practical, uplifting resources to help people of all faiths apply positive spiritual principles to their lives.' It's a very LGBTQ inclusive community and they have some LGBTQ resources available on their website as well.
Daniel: Yeah. In fact, listeners, you can check that out on their website at unity.org. Now it's got resources for prayer, money, relationships, and so much more, uh, definitely worth looking at. Anyway, back to Saint Betty. What can we say?
Azariah: Well, we can say this. Betty White hosted a talk show in the 1950s, the Betty [00:12:00] White show, one of the first only to have her own production company. She hired a dancer named Arthur Duncan to be on the show which launched his career. And Arthur was a black man, which was a problem for some viewers and stations in Mississippi threatened to boycott the show if she kept him on. So how did Saint Betty respond?
Daniel: Oh, I love this. Go ahead. Tell him that.
Azariah: He said, I'm sorry, but he stays. Live with it.
Daniel: Love that. That is fierce saint Betty bitch energy. Like she she's like, I'm sorry. I'm one of the first women to have my own production company. This is my show, and, uh, the man stays. You know, and I think that that is definitely..
Azariah: I own 100% of this production company production company.
Well, her stance did get her show [00:13:00] canceled, but we think she definitely made the right choice and yes, Saint Betty was a big LGBTQ ally. Pink news rounded up some of her best allyship moments. Let's go over some of those quotes here.
Daniel: Uh, Betty White said...
'oh, I don't care who you sleep with or whom you sleep with. It's what kind of human beings you are?'
Azariah: Yes. Amen, Betty.
'If a couple has been together all that time, and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones, I think it's fine if they want to get married. I don't know how people can get, so anti something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs and don't worry about people so much.'
Well, Betty white also helped golden girls tackle HIV as a storyline, as we mentioned earlier. In a 1990 episode title '72 hours,' Betty's character Rose Niland finds out she may have been exposed to HIV through a blood transfusion. It was one of the first [00:14:00] sitcoms to ever mention HIV and AIDS.
Daniel: And that was so important, it means, so much to me, you know, I played a character with HIV on HBO's looking and so many years later it was still so uncommon. At the time that I played that role, I was the only HIV positive character on television in 2015. And so what's interesting about this is since we found out about HIV and aids, the number of infections started going down as they started telling more stories on television. But once they stopped telling stories on television, there was a rise in infection, so it was stories like this episode, episode 72 hours of golden girls that really helped, um, curb, some infections of HIV during the most heated part of the pandemic.
Azariah: Well, that episode wasn't Betty's only AIDS activism. She famously recorded a public service announcement urging drug users to avoid sharing needles to prevent HIV transmission when the aids epidemic was at its height.
Daniel: She was also a firm supporter of the Elton John AIDS foundation and other [00:15:00] LGBTQ plus rights groups. In 2013, she changed her name to Betty Purple for a day to mark spirit day and anti LGBT plus bullying awareness day alongside with her co-stars on the show Hot in Cleveland.
Azariah: If you want to watch something really fun, watch Betty White's music video 'I'm still hot.' She recorded the video as a fundraiser for the lifeline project. The song is spectacular and hilarious with a lot of golden girl references, but the music video is what really seals the deal. Betty is seated on a golden throne as she should be with a gaggle of muscled, mostly naked men dancing around her.
And it is, uh, Danny, it's a sight to behold.
Daniel: I'm sorry, I can't hear you. I'm watching the Betty White music video 'I'm still hot' right now. This is totally wild and a little hot.
Azariah: It is , it's a cute video.
Daniel: It kind kinda throws it off when you got a granny in the mix, but we do Betty White.
Azariah: She can stay.
Daniel: She [00:16:00] can stay at the orgy.
Azariah: I can see her passing out the condoms- 'be safe, be safe honies.
Daniel: Put your clothes in this bag. All right.
Azariah: Here's your number.
Well, we've been calling her Saint Betty, but did you know that Betty White was the patron Saint of your Eureka Heights in Houston, Texas.
Daniel: So we're not the first. That is wild.
Azariah: Yeah. The owners and founding team of Eureka Heights brewing are all big fans of golden girls and Betty White herself.
When they created the brewery's social media accounts, the platforms require them to follow at least one other account. And that account, that single account that they follow is Betty White.
Daniel: A framed picture of white has been proudly displayed in the taproom. The brewery donates to animal rescues, which is one of Betty White's favorite charities.
Azariah: Well, also tell the story of the time saint Betty visited St. [00:17:00] Olaf for real. St. Olaf was the fictional home of Betty's character Rose, but Saint Olaf is a private Lutheran college in Northfield, Minnesota. The Saint Olaf choir, which is a really, really good choir , they're nationally known for their music was doing a west coast tour in 1989. And since they are the St Olaf choir, they got a tour of the set of golden girls. I'm so jealous.
So cool. So it was also Betty White's birthday and they, the choir sang happy birthday to her in a four part harmony, and Betty loved it so much that three years later in 1993, she went to Northfield to visit the St Olaf campus.
Daniel: Now, and at that visit, um, that visit in particular had a major impact on Betty White. She said she was a little nervous about visiting campus since Rose was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier as Betty put it. Uh, but she ended up taking [00:18:00] inspiration from the trip. Listen to how she described it.
'I feel like I've been seeing St. Olaf from the inside. It'll make a whole difference in my Rose characterization I can assure you. I won't be as tentative. I will, I will be sure footed because you really understand where Rose is coming from and she's really coming from your values.'
Azariah: I love these stories. She found a way to keep her career going and advance love and justice. She was living out her values, which is what I hope and pray we can all do.
Daniel: Yeah, girl, be more like Betty. Stand up for your values. Advocate for love, use your platform to do as much good as you can. That is the example saint Betty is leaving with us.
Azariah: You know how Trump's wife? I forget her name. I don't care to remember either, uh, you know, how she had the be better program. I feel like Biden's wife should start a 'Be [00:19:00] Betty' program.
That would be, oh, be best. It was B best program to see Jill Biden do a, a Be betty.
Daniel: Yeah. Be Betty, be best than Betty. Oh my goodness.
Azariah: God bless you, Betty White. And thank you for being a friend, sweetie.
Daniel: And being are beautiful, queer saints. We appreciate having you be a part of that. You guys fear for your thai love offering charity act of good this week. Betty White's favorite cause was the wellbeing of animals. What would have, on what would have been her hundredth birthday, pet shelters and animal rescue centers got a flood of donations and it's not too late. Mega donation to your local animal shelter and give a donation in Saint. Betty's holy name.
Azariah: Or you could also adopt a cute little pet.
Daniel: Yeah, do that. I mean, just make sure that you have the resources to do so. Um, songs or acts of praise you guys, like we want to spread the love to other queer Christian music and artists out there. So if you're a queer Christian musician and you want [00:20:00] us to play one of your songs, just send us an email to email@example.com with a link where we can find an MP3 file of the song that you want us to consider.
Azariah: Let's hop on over to the closing prayer.
Daniel: Let's hop on over. Let's bunny hop over to the closing prayer. Uh, God, we want to give you thanks for a fierce Saint, Betty White, and for her steadfast courage and hope that it would be an inspiration to us all. We want to thank you for the way that she used her fame and platform to reach people in character and in real life. It should be a guide for how we live our lives in our values in every aspect of our life. And we want to just pray for everyone who is mourning the loss of Marlon Bundo and especially those who turned to him into an unlikely queer icon.
Azariah: And God, we continue to pray for that Pence family. Heavenly father turn their hearts away from the [00:21:00] hatred of the LGBTQ community. And we also give you thanks for Lou. Help them find the right time to come out to their mother and to continue to recognize all the blessings in their life.
Daniel: And we wanna pray for Peggy. Let her envision the life and plan that you have for her life. We should thank you for Peggy's painting gifts and we also want to hope she can improve and just continue to, to use the gifts that you've given her. Thank you. Amen.
Daniel: Thank you all for listening to another episode of Yass, Jesus! You can find us on social media @ yassjesuspod or on our website at yassjesuspod.com. Now, if you like the show, would you please consider becoming a monthly sponsor already? What's it going to take to get you into this gay Christian podcast? You can find the link to do so in the show notes. And if you haven't yet, please leave us a review or share us with a bunny friend. Doing so helps us reach new people and keep this show hoppin.
Azariah: I mean, I still have an alt Twitter that hasn't been [00:22:00] used by anybody.
Azariah: All right, Twitter handle ready to go for those sponsors. You can leave an audio prayer request or appraise report on our website, yassjesuspod.com. We would love to share your voice and your prayers on the show. So drop us a line or send us a recording on yassjesuspod.com.
Daniel: Yeah, same as your praise reports, your prayer requests, episode ideas, guest ideas, or even just a, ooh, I'm hot in Cleveland. We'd love to hear from you . Yass, Jesus is hosted by me, the king bunny, Danny Franzese and...
Azariah: Princess Azariah Southworth. Music, sound, editing, and all things audio are done by Chris Heckman. Our show is produced by the freaking deacon, Ross Murray and Meredith Pauley. Special thanks to Sophie Serrano and Sam Isfan.
Daniel: Yes, Jesus is brought to you by Audity. Audity execs are Ryann Lauckner, Jessica Bustillos, Bun-stillos, and Steve Michaels. We are streaming, screaming and hopping on apple podcasts, [00:23:00] Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.
Azariah: And remember, God loves you just as you are.
Daniel: So keep praising the Lord. Y'all.