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Germany’s ‘zombie’ Grand Coalition staggers on

Merkel remains Chancellor, heading a government of ghosts

Alexander Mercouris

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As expected, the SPD leadership in Germany has now completed its U-turn by reversing the decision it announced after Germany’s September elections – that it would go into opposition and would not agree to another coalition with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU – by agreeing to a new ‘Grand Coalition’ with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU.

The explanation for this total reversal is set out in an article in the Guardian which supports the deal

……in last September’s general election, [the SPD] went down to historical defeat. As of writing, they are polling a risible 18% or so, not much more than the far-right newcomer Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Now you can argue that this is precisely because the SPD has been in government for so long – since 1998, with a break of only four years between 2009 and 2013 – and that a spell in opposition would do it good. And this is what the SPD’s youth organisation wants. They gaze with envy at Jeremy Corbyn’s populist appeal and dream of a rejuvenated party with a hard-left approach winning big in 2021 or 2025 and giving them lots of career opportunities, maybe in a coalition with the Greens and the radical Left party.

If I were a budding career politician in the SPD, I might think the same way. But for the present middle-aged leadership, four to eight years in opposition watching the rise of a new generation is hardly an attractive option. 

(bold italics added)

In other words, the primary support for the new ‘Grand Coalition’ deal from within the SPD comes from its veteran establishment, which wishes to perpetuate its leadership and its place in government even if this puts the SPD’s future in jeopardy.

There could not be a more straightforward admission that this is indeed an establishment stitch-up by Germany’s centrist political establishment against the SPD rank and file and Germany’s voters.

The Guardian article does say that one other reason why the SPD leadership prefers a coalition is because since the September election the party’s poll rating has fallen further, to a disastrous low of just 18% (I believe the actual rating is 17%), putting the SPD at risk of being overtaken by the AfD.

However the reason for that is surely that the SPD is not doing what it said it would do, and which is what its membership and electoral base want, which is oppose Merkel and the CDU/CSU, but is instead doing the opposite by going into coalition with her.  Given that that is so, it is hardly surprising that its voters are deserting it in droves.

In return for agreeing to go into coalition with Merkel the SPD has secured the Finance Ministry and its erstwhile leader Martin Schulz will now become Germany’s Foreign Minister.

Whether control of the Finance Ministry really is the great prize it is being presented as being is another matter.

Given that in my opinion the mini-boom the German and EU economies have been experiencing – which in my opinion is largely the result of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme – has now peaked, possession of the Finance Ministry could easily turn out to be for the SPD a bed of nails, with the SPD being blamed for any economic downturn, and exposed to criticism if demands for further bailouts from Greece, Spain and Italy follow.

As for Schulz himself, possession of the Foreign Ministry now gives him the opportunity to advance together with Macron their joint hyper-ambitious agenda for further European integration.

That – far more than the future of the SPD – seems to be Schulz’s overriding priority.

Whether at a time when opposition to further integration within the EU is increasing throughout Europe – including within Germany itself – Schulz and Macron really can ride roughshod over all opposition as they jointly pursue this goal remains to be seen.  With the AfD and the Free Democrats breathing down the CDU/CSU’s neck, I would expect much of its membership to be opposed.

Nonetheless Macron has emerged as the one clear winner from the political machinations which have been underway in Berlin since September, which was not how it appeared would be the case when the results of the elections were first announced.

Schulz’s emergence as Germany’s likely future Foreign Minister also reduces the prospect of Germany agreeing to lift sanctions on Russia – increasingly unpopular within Germany and Europe though they are – and probably also means that Germany will take a harder line against Britain in the Brexit negotiations.

However it is important to say that neither the sanctions nor Brexit are where Schulz’s priorities lie.  EU integration is the subject which truly interests him, to which all other considerations – including it seems the SPD – must be sacrificed.

It is difficult to see how anyone comes out well from this affair, except possibly the AfD, which is now confirmed as Germany’s main opposition party and which will therefore gain further publicity as well as control of several of the German parliament’s committees; and Die Linke, which now looks well positioned to attack the SPD from the left.

Possibly if Merkel’s CDU/CSU poll rating continues to drift downwards – as I expect – then the Free Democrats will in a strong position to capitalise on that, especially amongst centre right voters in the former West Germany.  However I am not sufficiently well informed about political opinion in Germany to say that with any confidence.

What I can say with confidence is that the ‘Grand Coalition’ deal has been agreed without enthusiasm in order to perpetuate an exhausted government bereft of ideas which is obviously past its sell-by date.

The result is that the same gaggle of politicians who in September visibly lost support – Merkel, Seehofer, Schulz, Gabriel and the rest – are still there.

Even Alan Posener, the author of the Guardian article, admits that Merkel looks tired and stale, and is unlikely to remain Chancellor for very long

…..the loser in the poker game of the past weeks and months is Merkel. The only party that honestly wanted to govern with her were the Greens. The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) walked out of negotiations, and the SPD had to be enticed back with a deal that leaves Merkel’s own party without a single key ministry. Horst Seehofer, who is being forced out of his office as prime minister of Bavaria by his own party, the CSU, is being rewarded for his constant sniping at Merkel’s refugee policy with the thankless job of interior minister, where he can take responsibility for future terror attacks.

Everyone expects the chancellor to leave in the middle of her term and hand over to a successor. As the leader of a so-called Jamaica coalition between the Christian Democrats, the FDP and the Greens, she might have gained a new lease of life. As the leader of her third Groko, she looks tired. The concessions she has made to the SPD give superficial credence to the claims of the AfD that it is the only truly conservative force in the country and that it has stepped into the shoes abandoned by the CDU under Merkel.

If Merkel had accepted that the outcome of the September elections meant that she could no longer continue as Chancellor, and had resigned, then the outcome would have been better for her, and for her party and for Germany as well.

She would have left office with her record and reputation intact, whilst the CDU/CSU would have a chance to pull together around a successor.

As for Germany, following another election it would have had a good chance of gaining a strong and renewed government.

Instead Merkel’s decision to cling on, and the decision of the CDU/CSU and SPD leaderships to help her do so, has left Germany politically speaking adrift, with a Chancellor lacking credibility and authority, ensuring that Merkel’s last years as Chancellor will be unsuccessful and unhappy.

How that helps either Germany or the CDU/CSU I cannot see, but the key point is that at a time of growing international tension and instability, and of growing discontent within both Germany and Europe, it has left Germany with an exhausted and unwanted government which – save for Schulz’s integrationist dreams – has no idea what to do.

The result is that as in late Habsburg Austria and Theresa May’s Britain, in Germany administration is about to replace government.

As for the AfD, whether it really is the ultra right wing crypto-fascist anti democratic party which some say, or is simply a conservative party with a more right wing and radical edge, I do not know, though I suspect that it contains elements of both those things.

However if the priority of Germany’s centrist establishment is to prevent its rise, then the proper way to do it is to take it on in an election.

Instead, by pulling out all the stops to avoid an election which polls show most Germans want, Germany’s centrist establishment is giving every impression of running scared of it.

That – taken together with the decision to cede to AfD the opposition role in the Bundestag and the chair of important committees – ensures that the AfD will continue to gain credibility, popularity and support, rather than lose it.

The ‘Grand Coalition’ deal Schulz has just forged with Merkel still has to be approved in a ballot by the SPD’s membership.  There remains an outside chance they may reject it.

For Germany’s and the SPD’s sake it is to be earnestly hoped that they do.

POSTSCRIPT: No sooner had I finished writing the above then news came through that Martin Schulz, the SPD’s erstwhile leader, has been forced by what the Financial Times calls a “furious backlash” in his party to abandon his plan to become Germany’s Foreign Minister.

Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz said he will not serve as foreign minister in Germany’s new coalition government, after coming under intense pressure from his own party to give up the role.

Mr Schulz faced a wave of anger from across the SPD after taking the job, despite vowing never to serve in a cabinet led by Angela Merkel. Senior Social Democrats said the volte-face left the party with a huge credibility problem just as it launches a nationwide poll of its 460,000 members over the coalition agreement clinched this week with Ms Merkel’s conservatives.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Schulz said the discussion of his role was “endangering a successful vote”, and said he hoped that by giving up the foreign ministry, he could bring an end to the personnel discussions inside the SPD”. “We all do politics for the people in this country,” he said, “so it’s appropriate that my person ambitions should take a back seat to the interests of the party”.

His move comes after he was subject to a blistering attack from Germany’s serving foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, who accused him of a breach of faith by taking his job.

Mr Gabriel told the Funke media group that he had been a successful and popular foreign minister, but “the new SPD leadership clearly didn’t care a hoot about this public appreciation of my work”.

Berlin has been in uproar since Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Mr Schulz’s SPD unveiled their new coalition agreement on Wednesday, amid widespread fury over the way ministerial posts were divided up between the two parties.

The 177-page agreement is designed to end the political deadlock left by the inconclusive elections in September, in which both parties lost votes to the far-right Alternative for Germany. But the deal has been overshadowed by the row over who got which ministry.

Conservatives are incandescent that the SPD, despite winning only 20.5 per cent in the election — its worst result in postwar German history — was awarded the critical finance ministry, which for the past eight years has been a fiefdom of Ms Merkel’s CDU.

In the SPD, the anger over Mr Schulz’s appointment at foreign minister was, if anything, even greater……

This row and Schulz’s decision to give up the Foreign Ministry underlines the fact that trying to perpetuate the ‘Grand Coalition’ government which lost so much support in September is an extremely bad idea.

The fact that Schulz has been forced to go, and the angry reaction to the ‘Grand Coalition’ deal on the part of many within both the SPD and the CDU/CSU, may be a sign that the deal is starting to unravel.

If the deal does go ahead and a ‘Grand Coalition’ government is patched together nonetheless, then all I will say is that Schulz’s departure robs the government of the one individual who did at least have some genuine goals and ideas – utterly misguided and unrealistic though I think they are.

That will leave the government even more a ‘government of ghosts’ than it was before.

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The Discarded Wisdom of America’s Founders

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.

Eric Zuesse

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A good example of the discarded wisdom of America’s Founders is George Washington’s Farewell Address to the nation, delivered by him not orally but instead solely in printed form, published in Philadelphia by David C. Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser, on 19 September 1796, and distributed to the nation. The following extended excerpt from it is the most famous part of it, and is being blatantly raped by today’s U.S. Government, and therefore it might indicate the necessity for a second American Revolution, this one to disown and throw out not Britain’s Aristocracy, but America’s aristocracy. America’s Founders had done all they knew how to do to conquer Britain’s aristocracy, and they embodied in our Constitution all that they knew in order to prevent any aristocracy ever from arising in this nation; but the Founders clearly had failed in this their dearest hope, because a domestic U.S. aristocracy has arisen here and destroyed American democracy, as this nation’s Founders had feared, and as Washington in this document effectively affirms — and, by these words, proves — to have happened (they’ve taken over this country, in and by both of its Parties, and so we have here a profound and scathing, blistering, criticism of today’s American Government):

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Bruce Ohr Texts, Emails Reveal Steele’s Deep Ties to Obama DOJ, FBI

There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application.

The Duran

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Authored by Sara Carter via SaraCarter.com:


A trove of emails and handwritten notes from Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr exposes the continuous contact and communication between the DOJ attorney and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, according to notes and documents obtained by SaraACarter.com. The emails and notes were written between 2016 and 2017.

The notes and emails also reveal that Ohr was in communication with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the embattled research firm Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to hire Steele.

In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.

Steele is also extremely concerned about a letter sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Comey for information on his involvement with Steele. Grassley sent 12 questions to Comey regarding the bureau and Steele’s relationship and wanted all information on any agreements they had during the investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion. Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI ever verified any of the information in Steele’s reports.

In Ohr’s notes from May 10, 2017, he goes onto write that Steele is concerned about a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, writing:

“Asked them 3 questions:

  1. What info (information) did you give to the U.S. govt (government)?
  2. What was the scope of yr (your) investigation?
  3. Do you have any other info that would assist in our question?”

SaraACarter.com first reported this week text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified.

Those text messages in March 2017 were shared only two days before Comey testified to lawmakers.

The House Intelligence Committee revealed in their Russia report earlier this year that Steele–who was working for the FBI as a Confidential Human Source (CHS)–had shopped his dossier to numerous news outlets in the summer of 2016.  According to the report, the FBI terminated Steele after discovering that he was leaking to news outlets, breaking a cardinal rule by the bureau to not reveal ongoing investigations and information to the media.

However, there is growing concern that the FBI was well aware that Steele was in contact with media outlets about his dossier before the FBI applied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for its first warrant in the fall of 2016 to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign volunteer advisor, Carter Page.

There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application…

“There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application and that question needs to be resolved,” said a congressional official with knowledge of the investigation.

The documents from March 2017, reveal how concerned Steele is with Grassley’s committee and the letter from the senator’s office seeking answers from Steele on the dossier.

In June 2017, Steele tells Ohr,  “We are frustrated with how long this reengagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking.  Anything you can do to accelerate the process would be much appreciated.  There are some new, perishable, operational opportunities which we do not want to miss out on.”

In October 2017, Steele notes that he is concerned about the stories in the media about the bureau delivering information to Congress “about my work and relationship with them.  Very concerned about this.  People’s lives may be endangered.”

And in November 2017, Steele, who is trying to engage with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, writes to Ohr saying, “we were wondering if there was any response to the questions I raised last week.”

Ohr responds by saying, “I have passed on the questions (apparently to the special counsel) but haven’t gotten an answer yet.”

Steele then says,  “I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC (special counsel) colleagues on the issues you kindly put to them from me.  We have heard nothing from them either.  To say this is disappointing would be an understatement!  Certain people have been willing to risk everything to engage with them in an effort to help them reach the truth.  Also, we remain in the dark as to what work has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work.”

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College offer courses on ‘queering’ children, the Bible

US Colleges are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general.

Campus Reform

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Authored by Celine Ryan via Campus Reform:


This school year, students across the country will attend courses on “Queering the Bible,” “Queering Childhood,” “Queering Theology,” and similar topics.

Students at Pomona College in Claremont, California, for instance, will have the opportunity to enroll in a brand new course titled “Queering Childhood,” which will examine “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 ablebodiedness.”

The course description explains that students will examine the childhoods of “queer and crip children,” as well as “childhoods against which the figure of the Child is articulated,” with reference to work related to “gender studies, childhood studies, disability studies, and queer theory.”

Colleges are not only attempting to “queer” childhood, they are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general, as well.

This fall, Eugene Lang College will offer a course titled “Queering and Decolonizing Theology,” where students will explore topics such as “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community,” and “transgender Christs.”

“Christian theology is often depicted as a violent colonial force standing in particular opposition to LGBTQI lives. However, over the last 30 years people of faith, activists, and theorists alike have rediscovered what is queer within Christianity, uncovered what is religious within secular queer communities, and used postcolonial theory to decolonize lived religious practices and theologies,” the course description asserts.

According to the college, the course “explores secular philosophies of queer and postcolonial theory as well as their critical and constructive application to religion,” focusing on topics like “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community, transgender Christs, and the mestiza (or mixed) cultures of Latin America.”

Similarly, students at Harvard Divinity School will be able to attend a course on “Queer Theologies, Queer Religions” this fall, which will explore the “project of ‘queer theology’” and how it relates to “larger aspirations of queer religion or spirituality in America.”

In this course, students will begin by “sampling the efforts to revise traditional Christian theologies in order to accept or affirm same-sex loves.” After that, they will move on to examining “forgotten possibilities in historical engagements between advocates of homosexual rights and established religious bodies (chiefly churches and synagogues).”

“We will consider the boundaries between queer theology and queer theory or between it and other political theologies,” the course description explains.  “We will test the boundaries of ‘Christianity’ while considering the varied forms of queer religion outside familiar religious institutions—in spirituality or spiritualism, in magic or neo-paganism, in erotic asceticism.”

Swarthmore College students, meanwhile, will survey “queer and trans* readings of biblical texts” during a course titled “Queering the Bible,” which will introduce them 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 trans* theoretical approaches,” the description promises, “this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the [B]ible—and religion—says about gender and sexuality.”

The University of San Francisco is also getting into the act with a course on “Christian Feminist Theology” that aims to “develop an understanding of how feminist scholarship provides one fruitful means towards reappropriation of central Christian insights about God.”

The course will facilitate “critical reflection upon the experience of God, and insights from feminist thought,” according to the description.

In a similar vein, students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s “Gender, Sexuality, and Religion” course “will read religion through a variety of feminist and queer theory lenses- exploring the key characteristics of diverse feminist analyses of religion, as well as limits of specific feminist approaches.”

“In this course we will learn about women’s and men’s rituals, social roles, and mythologies in specific religious traditions,” the course description explains. “We will also look at the central significance of gender to the field of religious studies generally, with particular attention to non-binary genders.”

To that end, the course will address questions such as “How important are the gender differences in deciding social roles, ritual activities, and spiritual vocations?” and “How does gender intersect with nationality, language, and politics?”

Campus Reform reached out to each of the schools mentioned in this report for additional comment on the courses in question, and is currently awaiting responses. This article will be updated if and when any of them provide a statement.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan

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