College Courses Aim to ‘Queer’ God, Bible & Childhood

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At Swarthmore College, “queering” is the new survey class.

Queering God, childhood, religion, and even the history of emotions are just a handful of the courses focusing on queerness that Young America’s Foundation highlighted in their annual Comedy and Tragedy report at Swarthmore and several other institutions across the country.

Swarthmore offers four classes that explore “queering” in several subjects, including two dealing with religion.

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“Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology,” a religion studies course at Swarthmore claims to challenge the notion of God as masculine, with the course description saying “if we can point out places in traditional writings where God is nurturing, forgiving, and loving, does that mean that God is feminine, or female?”

The course description says that the class “examines feminist and queer writings about God” and it “explores the tensions between feminist and queer theology” while also seeking to ‘stretch the limits of gendering and sexing the divine.”

Another Swarthmore course “Queering the Bible,” students will read the Bible “with the methods of queer and trans theoretical approaches” and the class “destabilizes the long held assumptions about the Bible and religion.”

At Pomona College in California, “Queering Religion” is its own class, with the description claiming “religion is often queerer than one might imagine.”

“This course looks at religious practices, texts, and traditions that defy the usual assumption that religions insist on binary gender divisions and heteropatriarchal kinship models,” the course description reads.

The description says that students will “consider how religious traditions can push back on received norms and create space for queer gender expression, identity, and sexual practice.”

Pomona offered its own class on the Bible and queerness, as well as “Queering Childhood,” which “examines the figure of the child and how this figuration is used by politics, law, and medicine to justify continued cultural investment in reproductive heteronormativity and productive able-bodiedness.”

The gender and women’s studies course examines “the queer and crip children and childhoods against which the figure of the child is articulated,” according to the course description in the YAF report.

YAF spokesperson Spencer Brown, discussing the report on Fox Nation’s Starnes Country, noting that education about such things was usually limited to college campuses but “now just moving younger and younger.”

“This course attempts to sort of reject the idea that babies are born as boys and girls and then grow up that way into adulthood,” Brown said. “Now they’re basically saying that you should queer childhood in order to give children the opportunity to live how they wish, and identify however they want to.”

Brown noted that there is a double standard regarding classes on the LGBT community because “you’ll see that there’s never any room for conservatives in the class.”

“The straight white cis male, as it’s commonly demonized, is the most privileged class in society,” Brown said. “And so what you see is leftists, in their intersectional matrix of just absolute mayhem, basically suggest that since we have the most privilege, our ideas and our voices should be the least heard, and we need to get out of the way for those who are less privileged than us to speak.”

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