Queer theology

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Queer theology is theology being undertaken from the perspective of "queer theory".[citation needed] The term queer is a neologism, originating in the 1990s.

A "pro-feminist gay theology" was proposed by J. M. Clark and G. McNeil in 1992, and a "queer theology" by Robert Goss in Jesus acted up: A gay and lesbian manifesto (1993).[1]


Queer theology begins with an assumption that gender non-conformity and gay and lesbian desire have always been present in human history, and were present in the Bible. It is also a way of understanding the Bible as a source of stories about radical love.[2]


Marcella Althaus-Reid[edit]

One proponent of queer theology is Marcella Althaus-Reid. She draws on Latin American liberation theology and interprets the Bible in a way that she sees as positive towards women, queer people, and sex.[3] She proposed a theology that centered marginalized people, including people in poverty and queer people. For Althaus-Reid, theology ought to be connected to the body and lived experience.

She put it this way:

″Indecent Sexual Theologies…may be effective as long as they represent the resurrection of the excessive in our contexts, and a passion for organizing the lusty transgressions of theological and political thought. The excessiveness of our hungry lives: our hunger for food, hunger for the touch of other bodies, for love and for God… [O]nly in the longing for a world of economic and sexual justice together, and not subordinated to one another, can the encounter with the divine take place. But this is an encounter to be found at the crossroads of desire, when one dares to leave the ideological order of the heterosexual pervasive normative. This is an encounter with indecency, and with the indecency of God and Christianity.″[4]

One theme in the theology of her "The Queer God" (Routledge, 2003) is the holiness of the gay club, as she explores the intersection and essential non-contradiction of a strong, vibrant faith life and sexual desire.[5][6] An example of finding otherness and desire in Biblical texts is her reading of Jeremiah 2:23-25 from the Hebrew:

"...a young camel deviating from her path: a wild she-ass accustomed to the wilderness, sniffing the wind in her lust. Who can repel her desire? And you said, No! I love strangers, the different, the unknown, the Other, and will follow them."[7]

Several theology schools offer courses in "Queer Theology" including Boston University School of Theology, Yale Divinity School, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Vancouver School of Theology, Pacific School of Religion, Chicago Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ cited after Gary D. Comstock and Susan E. Henking, eds. Que(e)Rying Religion: A Critical Anthology. Continuum International Publishing Group (1997). ISBN 9780826409249
  2. ^ Patrick S. Cheng. Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology. Church Publishing (2011). ISBN 978-1-59627-136-4
  3. ^ "Dr. Marcella Althaus-Reid", Religious Archives Network (on line).
  4. ^ Marcella Althaus-Reid, Indecent Theology, Routledge (2002) p. 200. ISBN 0203468953
  5. ^ Marcella Althaus-Reid. The Queer God. Routledge (2003). ISBN 041532324X
  6. ^ Jay Emerson Johnson. A "Queer God"? Really? Remembering Marcella Althaus-Reid". Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, Pacific School of Religion (March 5, 2009) -- on line.
  7. ^ Marcella Althaus-Reid. Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics. Routledge Chapman & Hall (2000). ISBN 0415236045

Further reading[edit]

  • Clark, John Michael (1997). Defying the Darkness: Gay Theology in the Shadows. Pilgrim Press. ISBN 9780829811636. 
  • Cornwall, Susannah (2011). Controversies in Queer Theology. Controversies in contextual theology series. Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. ISBN 9780334043553. 
  • Hedges, Paul (2011). "Guanyin, Queer Theology, and Subversive Religiosity: an experiment in interreligious theology". In David Cheetham. Interreligious Hermeneutics in Pluralistic Europe: Between Texts and People. Rodopi. pp. 203–230. 
  • Loughlin, Gerard, ed. (2009). Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470766262. 
  • Johnson, Jay Emerson (2014). Peculiar Faith: Queer Theology for Christian Witness. Church Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781596272514.