Ahead of Christmas this year, the Swedish Church in Västerås released an advertisement in the Swedishnewspaper, Västerås Tidning, inviting Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. Residents of the city were invited to celebrate his birth at the church, which offered mass, and a Christmas crib.
However, the ad referred to Jesus using the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun of “hen,” which is an alternative to “hon” (she), and “han” (he), according to Expressen.
The church’s female vicar, Susann Senter, said that the decision to refer to Jesus using a gender-neutral pronoun was to respect the progressive view that gender is not determined at birth.
“We did not want to decide on the sex of the child right away,” Senter said.
Right, because referring to a child as the scientific name that they are biologically assigned would just be terrible.
“Welcome Jesus! On Christmas Day, December 25, Jesus was born, a long-awaited child. Hen was born when the happy parents Mary and Joseph were traveling,” the ad said.
It received mixed reactions. The move prompted outrage from local Swedes on social media who said “it feels stupid,” while others supported the progressive message.
Senter told the newspaper that the whole Swedish church in Västerås has an extensive gender equality program, which was recently implemented for its employees, who are provided with two working days per week to discuss equal treatment.
Senter told Expressen that while Jesus Christ is historically a man, her theological interpretation of the figure makes him “beyond man or woman.”
So she admits that he is a male, but that he “feels” more like he might be beyond man or woman to her. Her interpretation of something does not change the facts.
“If I’m a little provocative, most 19th and 20th century depictions of Jesus are quite feminine. He is gentle, has curly hair and is not very masculine in physique,” she added, “We cannot change the text in the Bible, but we can change our way of highlighting this.”
She is playing with fire if you ask me.
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