It was incredible to read this comic again as though for the first time. It has every bit of the same power as sacred text. It accomplishes the same goals as sacred text -- it catapults the soul into new, rarefied, restored spiritual lands. By telling his story in such painfully honest detail, Green produces a method and means of salvation, a hermeneutic of emancipation from the mental slavery of oppressive religious indoctrination. The story of Binky Brown is the story of a man who found the power within to liberate his soul from evil and despair.
Sometime in the late 1980s, Green heard an interview on NPR with Dr. Judith Rapoport, author of The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing, the groundbreaking study on OCD. Suddenly, Green's -- and Binky's -- story took a sharp turn into completely new territory. Binky's sad torments took on a whole new sense and meaning, and Catholicism seemed less responsible for his suffering. Though we can now read Binky's story with sensitivity to the ordeals of those with OCD, Green's comic still has the power to help those struggling with the pain of religious indoctrination, and the sexual perversities of their leaders.
After all, communities and families around the world are reeling in shock and pain at the ongoing revelations concerning the monstrous sexual perversions of Catholic clergy in seemingly every corner of the world. Their cruelties hurt people. The pain they cause is real. While the cause of Green's struggles are now (rightfully) attributed to his undiagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder, we shouldn't allow that revelation to obscure the context of his suffering, created by a religion that apparently has been sickened for decades with sexual neurosis, and radically so.
Binky Brown is a pathfinder who reassures us that our own emancipation is possible, and that a soul at rest is in our sights. Would you like my prescription? Buy this book! Buy it for the extra large sheets. Tear it out of its binding. Tape the pages to your walls, or better, string a line across your largest room and clip the pages to it with clothespins (remember those?). Access its power. Conjure a vision of your own freedom. Conjure a door while you're at it, and don't forget to walk through. Live with this comic, while you gradually replace its pages with your own. Free yourself from evil and despair, and restore yourself to a better, happier spirituality.
And if you have a minute, let us know how you did it.
Beth Davies-Stofka teaches courses on comparative religion and the philosophy of religion. She has also been an online columnist and critic and contributes regularly to the Patheos site.