News that the Church of Sweden will begin using gender-neutral language when referring to God -- abandoning "he" and "Lord" -- was greeted with anger and angst among Christian conservatives, with one website claiming the church leaders were "castrating God."
In an effort to update a 31-year-old handbook proscribing how services should be conducted in terms of language, the national Evangelical Lutheran church in Sweden dropped the terms after the church’s 251-member decision-making body met for eight days.
According to Archbishop Antje Jackelén, the decision was made because, "Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.” She added that the idea had been floated as far back as 1986.
While the change won't take place until May of 2017 for the church's 6.1 million baptized members, it was immediately attacked in the U.S. by non-members who took great offense on behalf of God.
Writing at Right Wing News, Sierra Marlee, who described herself as "not particularly religious," complained the language change was "ridiculous."
"I’m not particularly religious, but even I know this is absolutely ridiculous. The Social Justice Warrior culture has just gone way too darn far and now even the churches are starting to succumb to its influence," she wrote. "If you’re pinching the bridge of your nose right now in a desperate attempt to stave off the impending headache of reading the rest of this article and voluntarily exposing yourself to such idiocy, I’m right there with you."
Showing off her knowledge of English language prayers she added, "For those who are in the know, The Lord’s Prayer commonly refers to God as 'Our Father.' Apparently, Swedish Lutherans are being led away from such language, and are now encouraged to say 'Our Parent who art in Heaven.' That being said, it will continue to be called 'The Lord’s Prayer.'"
Conspiracy-mongering website Infowars had a unique, but not surprising take, with editor Kit Daniels writing, "Of course, there’s no coincidence the Church of Sweden’s shift away from traditional Christianity coincides with the rise of Islam in the Scandinavian country."
According to Blunt Force for Truth, God was "castrated" by the feminists.
"As feminism wormed its way across the cultural landscape in the 60’s and 70’s, Boston College professor Mary Daly spoke of her desire to castrate God," the website asserts. "It looks like her vision has come to fruition in the Church of Sweden, where clergy have now been urged to use gender-neutral language in reference to God, advising them to avoid terms like 'Lord,' 'He,' and of course 'Father.'"
As one might expect, Christian conservatives on Twitter didn't take the news very well either.
A sampling below:
The church of Sweden stopping clergy calling God “he“ or “the Lord” in attempt to crack down on gendered language. WOW! EVIL!— LORI HENDRY (@LORI HENDRY) 1511707454.0
Church of Sweden calls 4 gender neutral references towards God! Sorry Bishop the worlds most accurate history boo… https://t.co/gqcBUGhizO— Georgia (@Georgia) 1511519734.0
First the Nobel Peace Prize to OBM 4kowtowing... & now the Swedes introduce a new prayer: “God, Holy Trinity, Fathe… https://t.co/p3sZ5hixnj— 🇺🇸California Condor🇺🇸 (@🇺🇸California Condor🇺🇸) 1511487463.0
@KSouth4trump And before they know it...the Church of Sweden will be completely Sharia-compliant.— Joanna Stevens (@Joanna Stevens) 1511672898.0
@BlissTabitha If that’s the case, the Church of Sweden does not know God.— Robert❌ (@Robert❌) 1511502019.0
Dear Sweden: You are finished. To save your lives, you’d better plan on emigrating to the conservative West. We’l… https://t.co/9lUUAjhE3U— 🇺🇸✝️ RonWallace.win🗽✝️🇺🇸 (@🇺🇸✝️ RonWallace.win🗽✝️🇺🇸) 1511500146.0