Introducing the Queer Bible to Switzerland

Mentari Baumann: "The Bible is for everyone".

On the occasion of Lucerne Pride, Mentari Baumann and Meinrad Furrer designed a "queer" Bible. In the Bible "there are many texts that can be read differently". The aim was not to rewrite the Bible, but to "show that there is something for everyone in the Bible".

What is a queer Bible?

Meinrad Furrer*: A queer Bible is a very normal Bible. In our case, a Zurich Bible that we have newly integrated. We wrote commentaries, interpretations or inspirations for selected texts and physically put them in.

"In the Joseph story, a man wears a princess's dress."

Meinrad Furrer

How can I imagine that?

Furrer: There are many stories in the Bible that can be read in terms of queer identity. For example, the Joseph story. There, a man is described wearing a dress that is usually attributed to princesses. We say that is a queer identity. Or the creation story, which has long been read as a heteronormative story. But it actually describes a constant in-between.

What do you mean by the "in-between"?

Furrer: There are many other states of aggregation between the poles male and female, between land and water, day and night. There is always a continuum, many grey areas between black and white. And it is the same with male and female.

Who of you came up with the idea of doing the project of a queer bible?

Mentari Baumann**: Meinrad and I brain-stormed a while ago what we could do at Pride in Lucerne. It was clear to us that we, as a religious group, wanted to do a stand together with other Christians. And then we asked ourselves what we would have liked to do in the past, as Christian-queer young people.

"There are many texts that you can read differently and that can then tell you a lot."

Mentari Baumann

A Bible reading lesson at Pride?

Baumann: Information on how to read these texts differently that have so little to do with queer identity in the traditional interpretation. And there are many texts that you can read differently and that can then tell you a lot.

"We are networked with other queer people in the church in Switzerland."

Mentari Baumann

How did you then come up with the texts that can also be read queerly?

Baumann: Meinrad and I are networked with other queer people in the church in Switzerland and we told them about the project and also in our surroundings. Very quickly we got a lot of ideas and also suggestions for comments on selected texts.

Have you queer-commented on the entire Bible?

Baumann and Furrer: (laughing) No, no!

Baumann: Maybe we'll be ready when we talk again next year before Pride.

"The project should always keep growing."

Mentari Baumann then asks again...

Baumann: Good! Because it is definitely the beginning of a project that should keep growing.

Furrer: Exactly, but we are still at the beginning. We have now designed a cover, tomorrow we will bind our Bible with it. In the passages where we have done something queer, we put the new texts over the old ones so that both are readable.

Baumann: Yes, that's important - we don't change anything, we don't paste over the biblical text, but add something.

No biblical cancel culture, then?

Baumann: No, not at all! We don't want to change or suppress anything. We want to open up and show that there is something for everyone in the Bible. The Bible is for everyone.

*Meinrad Furrer is the leader of the St. Peter's Chapel team of the Catholic Church of the City of Lucerne.

**Mentari Baumann is the executive director of the church reform movement, Credible Catholic Alliance



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