Duke & Vandy Refer To God In Gender Neutral Language

Duke and Vanderbilt University divinity schools instruct professors to “start using more inclusive language when referring to God” according to National Review, though it conflicts with the God of the bible.

In an attempt to enact a form of social justice, Vanderbilt asks that its professors “give consistent attention to the use of inclusive language, especially in relation to the divine, because the school commits to include gender as an analyzed category and to mitigate sexism.”

According to Law Newz, the two schools seek to “balance what they feel are sexist institutions in the church’s history.”  To do this, they are “pushing for gender-neutral terms and pronouns to be used, especially in reference to the divine” in an attempt to “counteract gender bias.”  For, according to Vanderbilt, “male privilege in a patriarchal society stems from sexism.”

It goes on to say that Duke believes “that the language can be harmful and exclusionary,” and gives “a plethora of examples of gender-specific terms that can be replaced with neutral ones.”  Further, “When referring to God, Duke says that people shouldn’t exclusively use male or female pronouns.”

Referencing Vanderbilt’s 2016-2017 catalog, Heat Street says, in an attempt to mitigate sexism in its teachings, the school is asking its professors to include “consistent attention to the use of inclusive language, especially in relation to the divine.”

In an emailed statement sent by Melissa Snarr, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Vanderbilt’s Divinity School, she says, “Masculine titles, pronouns, and imagery for God have served as a cornerstone for the patriarchy,” and an “exploration of fresh language for God” is recommended.   She says that the faculty’s views on the expression of the divine vary, and, “it is up to the individual professor’s interpretation for their classes and is suggestive rather than mandatory.”

Duke suggests that the divine be expressed without gender-specific pronouns like “God” and “Godself,” and instead of saying, “God is a father to us all,”  say, “God is a parent to us all.”  Mixing gender in metaphors is another option given to professors.  For example, “God is the father who welcomes his son, but she is also the woman searching for the lost coin.”

Duke’s guidelines state that it is “in a transitional period with our use of language,” and “imagination, patience, and diligence are required to use language that expands and enriches our understanding of God.”

National Review points out that the idea “may sound fair, but in many cases, it’s really not up to the professor.”  It goes on to say that when speaking about the “Christian God, every single reference to Him in the bible uses masculine pronoun,” indicating that their God is male.  Lastly, it says, “Teaching anything else would be giving inaccurate information…”

Image via MorgansLists


Duke Student: USA’s Obsession With The First Amendment Is Expression Of White Supremacy

Duke University student says America’s “obsession with the First Amendment” is an “expression of white supremacy,” according to the Daily Caller. Graduate student Bennett Carpenter in the university newspaper The Chronicle says that a conversation about racism on the Duke campus and across the country is “urgent and overdue.” However, he says it has been “derailed by a diversionary and duplicitous obsession with the First Amendment.”

The article points out that the graduate student is “apparently unaware of the irony of using a newspaper column to call for restrictions on free speech.” The graduate student says that Americans “give too much deference to the First Amendment and should focus more on censoring violent speech.”

The Daily Caller points out that Carpenter, who appears to be white, devotes much of his column to the subject of white fragility. He says that the conversation has “shifted from white supremacy to white fragility—and how this shift is itself an expression of white supremacy.”

The Duke graduate student in his article says white frailty “refers to a range of defensive behaviors through which white people (or more accurately people who believe they are white) deflect conversation about race and racism in order to protect themselves from race-based stress.”  He says that this is because “white people tend to live in environments where whiteness is both dominant and invisible,” and as a result, “they grow accustomed to racial comfort, as a result of which even a small amount of racial stress becomes intolerable.”

In the United States, according to Carpenter, “free speech seems more important than black lives.” Meanwhile, he says, “Students describe—with utter unintentional irony—how being called-out by anti-racist activists makes them feel upset and hurts their feelings.” For whom, there is no real protection beyond the confines of the campus.  He says, “The very government, quite literally built on white supremacy could somehow save us from its effects.” As a result, the students are left to “construct safe spaces” for themselves “where hate is barred at the door”

“Words hurt as much as actions; indeed, words are actions.” He illustrates this by saying, “Within the context of white supremacy, any distinction between a defaced poster, a racist pamphlet and legal or extralegal murder can only be of degree.” He equates current First Amendment-protected speech on the subject of racism with hate speech.

He uses the example of the prohibition of walking into a crowded theater and shouting “fire!” The student says, “How is this any different from walking into a white supremacist society and shouting racial slurs?” He goes on to say that this is perpetuated because “it has become almost a truism that there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment.”

He quotes the National Center for Human Rights and Education as saying that this has only been allowed by the courts in recent years, that “privileged white racists” are left to express themselves at the “expense and safety of African-Americans and other people of color.”

The Duke graduate student’s sentiments are the latest in a wave of political correctness emanating from college campuses in the United States. The Daily Caller quotes Pew Research Center as saying, “40 percent of Americans aged 18-34 are in favor of government censorship of speech that is offensive to minority groups.”

As this movement to gains momentum, one wonders, what will our society look like a decade from now? Will this continue to bring about a shift in culture to restrict free speech?

George Orwell said, “If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”

Image of Duke University Chapel via Legal Insurrection