Just when one thinks, “people can’t act any nuttier,” nutty-acting people prove that statement to be nutty in itself.
Case-in-point, the recent “Pride Worship Service” held at Duke Divinity School.
Hope Rawlson reports for Juicy Ecumenism, the blog for the Institute on Religion and Democracy:
Praying to ‘the Great Queer One,’ students at United Methodist-affiliated Duke Divinity School proclaimed God’s acceptance and support for LGBTQ relationships in a Pride worship service March 22.
And if that seems like something which, as one friend of mine noted, “sounds like an adversary from an HP Lovecraft tale,” you might not be too far off. Lovecraft is, of course, called “the father of cosmic horror” for his early Twentieth Century tales hinting at a pantheon of gods hiding behind the veil of our metaphysics: a group of powers called, “the Great Old Ones” who reveled in twisting and corrupting mankind.
And, according to the Bible, reckless pride is one of those corruptions. As Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," while Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to YAHWEH; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”
Indeed, within Christianity, pride is considered a deadly sin, since it does not give credit to God but focuses on oneself.
So, even on the most rudimentary level, these sentiments -- expounded with such fervor at Duke Divinity -- don’t seem to comport with the raison d'etre of Duke Divinity itself.
Divinity Pride, a student group affirming the ‘dignity, faithfulness, and strength of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and gender/sexuality non-conforming Christians,’ sponsored the worship service.
But, one might ask a Christian, how can a person be “dignified” and “faithful” in sin?
Since the Bible warns about lustful acts outside the bond of holy matrimony, homosexual acts – like any sexual acts outside of matrimony – are sinful, and not to be seen as providing dignity. All such activities certainly aren’t acts of “faith,” whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.
And, as St. Mary of the Seven Dolors, a Catholic church and Catholic school in Osmond, Nebraska, observes:
Although it remains to be determined if homosexuality is a genetic, social or personal stigma, homosexual acts are condemned by God and can NEVER be approved by the Church (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Genesis 19:1-29, Romans 1:24-27 and CCC 2357). If homosexuals are born with the condition, then they are called to live a life of Christian purity and chastity for the greater love of Christ. Such people can experience a life of trial, which all others must treat with compassion and sensitivity.
This is mentioned here not as a method of telling others how to live. It is merely to point out hypocrisy in these supposed Christians at a Divinity school, where all of this information should be very evident and understood.
And, clearly, it is not.
’Strange one, fabulous one, fluid, and ever-becoming one,’ prayed second-year Master of Divinity (M.Div) student Caroline Camp in opening the service. She stated that God is ‘mother, father, and parent’ and ‘drag queen, and transman, and gender-fluid.’
No. God has told us who He is, and He is not what Ms. Camp claims.
Tirzah Villegas, an M.Div student, encouraged listeners to accept their sexuality because ‘You are never called to abandon yourself. Abandoning the self is negating the truth of who you are, and that is always a lie,’ Villegas stated. God is a ‘queer God’ who loves ‘every part of us,’ according to Villegas.
And it gets even more childish.
A self-identified trans woman, C.J. Surbaugh, a first-year M.Div student, defended gender transition as biblical.
‘I would like to suggest this as a trans text,’ Surbaugh proposed about Genesis 32:22-31. The passage details Jacob wrestling with a stranger until daybreak. The man harms Jacob’s hip and commands Jacob to, Let me go, for it is daybreak. Jacob responds, I will not let you go unless you bless me. As a result, God blesses Jacob and gives him the new name Israel.’
You got it. Surbaugh is ready to liken this Biblical encounter to physically mutilating one’s own body through surgery and hormone injections.
In this passage, Surbaugh sees ‘an example of a negotiated body, a trans body, which has been both momentarily injured and fundamentally blessed.’ Surbaugh compares Jacob’s struggle to the experience of taking testosterone to transition from a female to a male identity. Surbaugh wonders ‘how Jacob felt after the angel had gone’ and if ‘he felt the same way I did on the clear October morning when I learned to give myself a hormone shot.’
And, to raise this absolute confusion and religious LARPing to a new level, Rawlson reports:
Transition, according to Surbaugh, ‘can be framed as a choice,’ but ‘transition is better framed as a calling. It is a calling to wrestle with God and not let go until we receive a blessing in our own bodies.’
The point of both Judaism and Christianity is that one is not supposed to “wrestle” with God. One is supposed to recognize, love, and obey God the Creator, and to act accordingly, in one’s own mind and in one’s interpersonal relationships. Both the Old and New Testaments stress these precepts.
To see a big event at Duke Divinity discard these precepts is shocking and utterly dismaying – as dismaying as it is to see people who, in their own lives, struggle with sexual and emotional stresses that appear to have driven them to misread or disregard Biblical strictures, even as they shamelessly claim feeling “pride” for their hypocritical transgressions.
The burden on others -- on those of us who observe the misguided play-acting -- is to stand firm for Christian love and the hope for their redemption through behavioral and soulful changes.
But, of course, as with nearly all “places of higher learning,” we are not left to observe this behavior at Duke Divinity.
Thanks to federal grants, we have subsidized Duke Divinity.
Piling sin upon sin, the federal government steals our money, then attaches us to schools that take God’s word and further twist it.
Let it stand as a lesson, not merely in how low some “divinity schools” have sunk towards completely misreading clear Biblical strictures, but also in the larger matter of the polis, which is wholly a machine of theft.