Queer(y)ing the Epistemic Violence of Christian Gender Discourses
In this chapter, Jo Henderson-Merrygold discusses the historic significance of the church as arbiter of morality and decency, influencing the creation and perpetuation of what Michel Foucault calls epistemes and discourses: the network of beliefs, ideologies, social practices, and power relations that shape people’s understanding of their world. Henderson-Merrygold considers Christian heteronormative discourses of gender and sexuality, which prescribe the recognition of others’ humanity in light of their gender identities and sexual preferences. Building on Gayatri Spivak’s work on epistemic violence and Judith Butler’s notion of “undoing” humanity, she explores how these Christian discourses render queer lives and experiences unintelligible and not human, and the implications of this for the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans(gender) (LGBT) people. Specifically, she argues that these discourses may sustain certain forms of epistemic violence against LGBT people, denying recognition to their full humanity and thereby rendering them increasingly marginalized and vulnerable.
- ———. 2003. The Queer God. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- ———. 2004. From Feminist Theology to Indecent Theology. London: SCM Press.Google Scholar
- Beaty, Katelyn. 2017. Why Even Conservative Evangelicals are Unhappy with the Anti-LGBT Nashville Statement. The Washington Post, August 31. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/31/why-even-conservative-evangelicals-are-unhappy-with-the-anti-lgbt-nashville-statement/?utm_term=.ef6137dceb25. Accessed 4 Sep 2017.
- Butler, Judith. 1993. Bodies that Matter. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- ———. 1999. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- ———. 2004. Undoing Gender. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Church of England. 2005. House of Bishops Issues Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships. July 25. https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2005/07/pr5605.aspx. Accessed 31 Oct 2017.
- Coalition for Biblical Sexuality. n.d. Nashville Statement. https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement. Accessed 4 Sep 2017.
- Farley, Harry. 2017. Vicky Beeching Tells of the Vile Abuse by Fellow-Christians that Forced Her off Social Media. Christian Today, April 21. https://www.christiantoday.com/article/vicky.beeching.tells.of.vile.abuse.by.fellow.christians.that.forced.her.off.social.media/107726.htm. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Foucault, Michel. 1979. The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Jackman, Josh. 2017. Shaving Your Beard Makes You Gay, Says Russian Religious Leader Backed by Putin. Pink News, June 19. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/19/shaving-your-beard-makes-you-gay-says-russian-religious-leader-backed-by-putin/. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Keating, Fiona. 2017. Ramzan Kadyrov Says There Are No Gay Men in Chechnya—But If There Are They Should Be Deported to Canada. Independent, July 16. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/ramzan-kadyrov-says-there-are-no-gay-men-in-chechnya-but-if-there-are-take-them-to-canada-a7843466.html. Accessed 8 Sep 2017.
- Lewis, Daniel K. 2015. The History of Argentina. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.Google Scholar
- Merritt, Jonathan. 2017. Eugene Peterson on Changing His Mind About Same-Sex Issues and Marriage. Religious News Service, July 12. http://religionnews.com/2017/07/12/eugene-peterson-on-changing-his-mind-about-same-sex-issues-and-marriage/. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Shellnut, Kate. 2017. Lifeway Prepared to Stop Selling the Message over Eugene Peterson’s LGBT Comments. Christianity Today, July 12. http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/july/lifeway-prepared-to-stop-selling-message-over-eugene-peters.html. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Sherwood, Harriet. 2016. Bishop of Grantham First C of E Bishop to Declare He Is in a Gay Relationship. The Guardian, September 2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/02/nicholas-chamberlain-bishop-of-grantham-c-of-e-gay-relationship. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 2010. Can the Subaltern Speak? In Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea, ed. Rosalind Morris, 26–76. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Strudwick, Patrick. 2014. Vicky Beeching, Christian Rock Star: ‘I’m Gay. God Loves Me Just the Way I Am.’ The Independent, August 13. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/vicky-beeching-star-of-the-christian-rock-scene-im-gay-god-loves-me-just-the-way-i-am-9667566.html. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- The House of Bishops. 1991. Issues in Human Sexuality. London: Church House Publishing. https://www.churchofengland.org/media/445118/humansexualitych5.pdf. Accessed 17 Oct 2017.
- ———. 2003. Some Issues in Human Sexuality: A Guide to the Debate. London: Church House Publishing.Google Scholar
- ———. 2013. Working Group on Human Sexuality. London: Church House Publishing.Google Scholar
- Thiem, Yannik [Annika]. 2007. No Gendered Bodies without Queer Desire: Judith Butler and Biblical Gender Trouble. Old Testament Essays 20 (2): 456–470.Google Scholar
- ———. 2014. The Art of Queer Rejections: The Everyday Life of Biblical Discourse. Neotestamentica 48 (1): 33–56.Google Scholar
- Tornielli, Andrea, and Giacomo Galeazzi. 2015. This Economy Kills: Pope Francis on Capitalism and Social Justice. Collegeville, MN: Order of Saint Benedict.Google Scholar
- Vorster, Johannes N. 2012. The Queering of Biblical Discourse. Scriptura 111 (3): 602–620.Google Scholar
- Walker, Shaun. 2017. Russia Investigates ‘Gay Purge’ in Chechnya. The Guardian, May 26. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/26/russia-investigates-gay-purge-in-chechnya. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Weedon, Chris. 1987. Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Westen, John-Henry. 2015. Pope Francis Condemns Gender Theory for a Third Time: ‘The Family Is Under Attack.’ LifeSite, March 23. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-condemns-gender-theory-a-third-time-the-family-is-under-attack. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Williams, Janice. 2017. Russian Religious Leader Wants Men to ‘Protect Themselves from Homosexuality’ by Not Shaving Their Beard. Newsweek, July 17. http://www.newsweek.com/russian-religious-leader-protect-homosexuality-shaving-beards-627328. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.
- Wooden, Cindy. 2016. Pope Francis Criticises Gender Theory ‘Indoctrination.’ Catholic Herald, October 3. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/10/03/pope-criticises-indoctrination-of-gender-theory/. Accessed 9 Sep 2017.