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A new semester is starting and with it another litany of college courses that are more post-modern, post-colonial, post-gender and post-sanity than the last.
This year's highlights include courses that teach university students to read the Bible through the lens of homosexual, or queer, literary theory and another that promises to "queer" childhood. Childhood, of course, being a concept that the course instructors believe our hetero-normative society uses to normalize the concept of reproduction.
So here is a quick survey of a few of the college courses, and the schools hosting them, that promise to inject radical gender theories into thousands of years of religious tradition and sacred theological texts.
Not exactly Biblical in its focus, but "Queering Childhood" offered at Pomona College in Claremont, California tells prospective students in the course description that they "will examine the childhoods of queer and crip [crippled, not the street gang] children as well as childhoods against which the figure of the Child is articulated," and it goes on to promise that they "will examine the figure of the Child as this figuration is used by politics, law and medicine to justify continued cultural investment in reproductive heteronomativity and productive ablebodiedness."
In other words, how does our ideal of a healthy, sexually normal childhood oppress us and denigrate those who are different? Can you imagine, cultural investment in being able-bodied or starting a family?
If deconstructing theology, or decolonizing it, is more your area of interest, might we suggest "Queering and Decolonizing Theology" at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School in New York City. The course description predicts that the class "will explore the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community and transgender Christs."
Maybe you're asking yourself, what does S&M have to do with theology and what are transgender Christs? Well, the course description explains that "Christian theology is often depicted as a violent colonial force standing in particular opposition to LGBTQ lives.
However, over the last 30 years people of faith, activists, and theorists alike have rediscovered what is queer within Christianity, uncovered what is religious within secular communities and used post-colonial theory to decolonize lived (sic) religious practice and theologies."
Whereas this answers neither of the obvious questions, it does suggest that the instructor will be trying to use Christianity to support the LGBT lifestyle and reject every piece of theological scholarship older than 30 years.
For more of the same, but with even more focus on Biblical support of homosexuality, you may want to enroll in Swarthmore College's "Queering the Bible". In this course, students will read the Bible with the methods of queer and trans theoretical approaches in order to "destabilize" long held assumptions about what the Bible and religion say about gender and sexuality.
One would be safe in assuming that the Bible, when read with a "transiqueer" lens will reveal heretofore undiscovered support for the LGBT lifestyle in the eyes of God and hundreds, if not thousands, of hidden references in support of LGBT identity. Also available at Swarthmore, "Queering God; Feminist and Queer Theology".
If you have completed your coursework in Biblical LGBTQ theory, you may want to check out "Christian Feminist Theology" taught at The University of San Francisco. The course description does specify that students will "develop an understanding of how feminist scholarship provides one fruitful means towards re-appropriation of central Christian insights about God".
This is far from an exhaustive list, but it is illustrative of the level of scholarship insanity taking place in many universities that, in some cases, have replaced all Biblical studies courses and true theological lectures with courses that set out to de-construct, de-colonize and de-gender traditional religion, culture and texts.
Taught alongside traditional courses of Biblical history, Christian theology and comparative religion, such transgressive courses would be an anomaly to be sure, but when they have replaced actual instruction, and students are receiving theology degrees based only on such destructive readings, it is little wonder that society has a warped idea of religion today.