Leftist Ideology and Heterophobia in Biblical Studies

On exhibition here.

[After all, if we want to be fair we all have to play by the same rules.  Hence, if it’s appropriate to call Mike Bird a homophobe (which he isn’t) then it’s perfectly fair and justifiable to label Oscar a heterophobe (which he may or may not be- I don’t know him and have, before today, never heard of him)].

I find it passing curious that leftist ideologues who regularly smear anyone and everyone who raises legitimate questions about the theological propriety of homosexuality are not themselves treated to the same campaign.  And if they protest that questioning homosexuality is itself homophobia than they really do have a distorted notion of what academic theology is all about.  After all, even a mere glance at any systematic theology will make it quite plain that the relationships between men and women are regular fare of theological investigation.

But perhaps the ‘everyone who raises the issue is a homophobe’ crowd doesn’t actually read systematic theology.  Perhaps they only read comic strips.

Furthermore, what’s even more interesting here is the fact that the constant demonization of the views of others by the use of derogatory labels is part and parcel of an awful lot of discussions these days.  So, rather than actually discussing the issue our comic strip writer demonizes; rather like those who reject the cause of the Palestinians regularly heap the label ‘anti-semitic’ on anyone who happens to hold the opposing perspective.

It’s easy to call someone a homophobe; it’s not quite so easy to show, from a biblical and theological point of view, that homosexuality is a legitimate demonstration of being human.  It’s simple to call someone an anti-semite.  It’s not quite so easy, from a biblical and theological point of view, to demonstrate that God loves the Jews and hates the Palestinians.

Comic strips may make an amusing point- but without substantive argument based on reason and logical cohesion, they remain mere entertainment.  And in this case, red meat for the agreeing pack.

Ergo, if Oscar and the Dunedin school really believe Bird is wrong on the issue, they owe it to the world to prove their perspective persuasive, theologically and biblically.  Otherwise, they simply resemble the child on the playground who calls names because that’s all she knows how to do.

I await their reasoned and reasonable exegetical demonstration of the rightness of their position.  Else I await their declaration that the biblical text is meaningless to them in their pursuit of their goals.

[NB- Bird and I are not exactly BFF’s.  It isn’t from some sense of loyalty that I stand to defend him- it’s from an unwavering sense of fair play.   Fair is fair.]

2 thoughts on “Leftist Ideology and Heterophobia in Biblical Studies

  1. Pingback: Jim West on Heterophobia and Homophobia - Gentle Wisdom

  2. Thanks, Jim, for raising attention to this farce.
    My initial problem with this simple reversal is that it doesn’t acknowledge the power relations that undergird the sentiments of homophobia. The critique here is that violence is perpetuated towards LBQT because of their grounding in academic arguments. It simply doesn’t work in reverse – or have the same effect – because of the dominant place hetersexuality has in society and its regulating apparatus. But, moreover, I think the point here is not to dwell on the throwing around of labels (“he called me a what!??”), but the substance of James’ initial critique: Why is it that what might be constituted as “bigoted” in any other academic discipline is able to become mainstream in biblical studies? I agree with you, Jim, that the issues of sexuality and gender are indeed “fair game” within academic theology. The problem here is the use of the qualifier “academic”. As you point out, a comic strip isn’t a conventional medium through which to formulate an academic argument. But neither is telling “pastoral stories”, resorting to caricatures and straw opponents (those nasty totallitarian secularists!), and neglecting (a.k.a. complete non-engagement) entire bodies of interdisciplinary literature on the constructedness of gender and sexuality, as we find in exhibit B, that is, Mike Bird’s blog.


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