Some American Colleges Are Teaching Students to 'Queer' the Bible

Source: Scott Slayton | Contributor to

An increasing number of colleges and universities in the United States are training college students to read the Bible from an LGBT perspective. The details of these courses became public through the Young America Foundation’s annual report on the state of college education in America.

Spencer Brown, the spokesman for YAF, wrote in his introduction to the Comedy and Tragedy Report that, “Many of the courses and descriptions listed in this year’s report may seem comical at first glance, but the situation that continues to unfold on America’s campuses is hardly a laughing matter.”

The report examines course offerings from each school in the Big 10 Conference, Southeastern Conference, Big East Conference, Ivy League, and US News & World Report’sTop 10 Liberal Arts Colleges. YAF says the list, “is by no means exhaustive of every biased or leftist course offered by the schools sampled, but should serve as an overview of the most egregious offenders.”

Several courses listed in the report seem to train students to approach the Bible and Christianity from an LGBT perspective. Swarthmore College offers a coursed called “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology.” The course’s description reads, “The God of the Bible and later Jewish and Christian literature is distinctively masculine, definitely male. Or is He? 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? This course examines feminist and queer writings about God, explores the tensions between feminist and queer theology, and seeks to stretch the limits of gendering-and sexing-the divine. Key themes include: gender; embodiment; masculinity; liberation; sexuality; feminist and queer theory.”

Students at Swarthmore can also register for “Queering the Bible,” which “surveys the queer and trans readings of biblical texts. It introduces students to the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times. By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and transtheoretical approaches, this class destabilizes the long-held assumptions about the Bible—and religion—says about gender and sexuality.”

Pomona College also offers classes on reading the Bible through LGBT lenses. In “Queer Theory and the Bible,” students “will look at how the Bible can be read productively through queer theory. We will examine biblical passages that are central to prohibitions on homosexuality and the larger discourses of heteronormativity (constructed around gender, sexuality, class, national identity, state formations, kinship, children, etc.) in which homophobic readings of the Bible emerge. We will also look at the ways in which these discourses and the identities they shore up can be ‘queered,’ as well as at biblical texts that can be read as queer friendly. This process of queering will allow and require us to approach the biblical text in new ways.”

Brown acknowledges that the courses offered at some of the schools sound preposterous, but he also encourages Americans to recognize the intention behind them. Brown warned, “Beyond the inane, identity- and intersectionality-obsessed topics, these classes advance a liberal agenda, malign conservatives and their values, and shut out ideological diversity.”