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Top theological college calls for gender-neutral phrases to be used when talking about God

Meka Beresford January 22, 2017

A top theological college has called for the use of gender neutral terms when referring to God in order to tackled gender bias.

Wycliffe Hall, which is an offshoot of Oxford university, produced a series of policies which promote inclusive language between staff and students.

Just some of the language changes that the policy sets out include avoiding calling God “He”, and using “the one who” instead.

The college has also said that “mankind” should be replaced with “humankind”, and hymns which reference “son” should be changed to “child”.

The document explained that “The patriarchal masculine has become a form of alienation for many women and indeed many men.”

Students and staff are urged to use ‘Todays’s New International Version’ of the bible as it includes gender-neutral language.

Professor of philosophical theology at Cambridge, Janet Soskice, said the introduction of inclusive language had pros and cons.

Soskice said: “You cannot dry-clean history. At one American university they have a prohibition on using the phrase ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ in the chapel. That means no holy eucharist service can take place there. Every gain has a loss.”

The move comes just days after a the former leader of the Free Church of Scotland claimed that LGBT-inclusive education is a ‘Trojan Horse’ for child abuse.

Church leader David Robertson, who is currently an associate director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, made the claims after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed inclusive sex and relationship education.

The Scottish leader responded last week to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, committing to bring forward legislation in the Scottish Parliament to make LGBT-inclusive SRE a statutory requirement.

But in a column published by The Scotsman, Robertson attacked the TIE campaign, insisting that “telling five year olds that they can identify as whatever they want, is at best, unwise, and at worst, a form of state sponsored child abuse”.

He said: “The Time for Inclusive Education programme is a Trojan Horse that seeks to indoctrinate all children into this ideology and not allow any diversion from it.

“It’s inclusive only in the sense that it wants to make this compulsory for all children, whatever their families want.”

More: gender bias, gender neutral, God, LGBT, Oxford, Religion, theological college

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