Catholic University Student Marked Down on Paper for Describing God as Male

Stanza della Segnatura, Musei Vaticani; July 2019 Slices of Light license:Creative Commons

An anonymous student at a California Catholic college was forced to explain her reasons for using the male pronoun to refer to God by her theology professor if she wanted to correct marked down points on a paper.

The College Fix obtained screenshots from the student that show her professor’s note that she’d received a credit deduction for using “male-gendered language for God repeatedly” and the subsequent emails explaining how she could correct the grade.

“Your comment that I referred to God as a male, I should not have gotten any points off for that,” the student wrote in an email to professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, Cecilia González-Andrieu.

“MULTIPLE times throughout the Bible God is referred to as a ‘he.’ I feel targeted by your comment, as I was raised in the church with the belief that God is a male.”

The professor replied, “As I indicated to the class community several times, in the footnotes you can have a conversation with other scholars. This gives you a way to highlight and support the reasons for your choices regarding multiple questions. Please resubmit your paper and add a footnote stating your reasons as a scholar to opt to preserve male language for God. I am sure you can do this well. That’s all you need to do and I will then review your paper once more.”

The student belongs to the California College Republicans, who say that while she added the footnote and resubmitted the paper, she ought never to have been put in the position to do so in the first place.

“I am appalled by this blatant heresy coming out of the theology department,” says Will Donahue, chairman of the California College Republicans and president to Loyola Marymount University College Republicans.

“This was a personal attack on one of my member’s freedom of religion, at a ‘Catholic’ school no less. This type of compelled speech cannot be tolerated by LMU.”

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