eo-Salvatif>nnLIBERAL CULTUREnAt a recent gathering in Sin fTanti.soj,nthe National Council of Churches considerednan application for mcnilicr^hip fromnthe Univeisal Fellowship ol’Miiro|i()IitaanCommunity’ Churches, which teachi’snthat homosexuality is “a jjilit from (iod.”‘nMost of the 27,000 members c if this churchnarc so gifted In championing Ihc cause ofnthis denomination, liberal Methodistntheologian Roy Sano calletl i.l< AMI tire andnbrimstone, warning that the (louncilnshould “fear for its soul” if it rqiudiateitnthe homosexual congregations. I le faileilnto mention that Moses ami the ApostlenPaul ran scared Llnnew heaven and new earth of feminismnare to be realized, both these institutionsnand their informing bellefe must be destroyed.nHow could this be accomplishednmore eflfectively than from within thosenvery institutions? Fiorenza unabashedlynannounces that her intent in reinterpretingnthe New Testament as “a history ofnoppression” is “to undermine the legitimizationnof patriarchal religious strucmres,”nundoubtedly including the Vaticannand the Catholic Church. And whennRuether declares that she “seeks to dismantlenthe institutional structures andnrefute the ideologies that incarnate alienation,”nshe undoubtedly has in mind Protestantnorthodoxy and the evangelicalnchurches who preach it.nIt is in this professed political intentnthat the chasm between these feministnidolators and traditional religion is mostnapparent. The worship of God the Fathernmay have helped foster a patriarchal society,nbut that is not the reason He isnworshiped. The Father is reverenced asnthe Father because the self-existent 1 AMnrevealed Himself as such, not becausen20inChronicles of Culturenpropatriarchal social engineers or activistsncontrived such an image. In contrast,nRuether and Fiorenza are quitenself-consciously involved in creativelynimagining a goddess who wiU serve theirnpolitical and ideological ends. As Fiorenzanadmits, “the revelatory canon” for feministntheology “cannot be derived fromnthe Bible itself’ or from any “timelessntheological ideas or norms,” but mustnadapt itself to whatever is “politicallynnecessary” to advance “women’s strugglenfor liberation.” Hence, no standard ofntruth is to be honored except “thencriterion of appropriateness” to currentnfeminist concerns.nThe real focus of worship, then, is notnthe reconstructed goddess (or “God/ndess”); she is merely a contingent instrumentnfor reaching a politico-social destination.nLike an Avis car, this goddess isnthe latest spiritual vehicle, not to benbought, but to be rented at nominal costnand conveniently left in the parking lotnjust as soon as we arrive at the feministnUtopia. (This goddess may still be #2,nbut her promoters definitely try harder.)nNor should feminists be singled out asnnnthe only practitioners of this kind ofnutilitarian idolatry: numerous liberationntheologians, homosexual apologists, andnsecular humanists have also become expertnat torturing Scripture as they manufacturen”usable” gods with sleek designsntested in the wind tunnels of modishnprogressive doctrine.nIts blasphemy notwithstanding, it is anbrilliant strategy for enemies of Westernnreligion and social order. They knownthat idolatry can have enormously disruptivenconsequences, as Paul and hisncompanions discovered in Ephesus.nShrewdly guided, it may destroy cathedralsnanrf courthouses. Indeed, Fiorenzanand Ruether express their fervent solidaritynwith everyone—^Marxists, lesbians,nhomosexuals. Third World revolutionaries,nsecularists, ecoradicals—engaged in then”liberation struggle” against all extantncivil and religious hierarchies in thenWest. The contortions necessary to denouncenthe gang-rapes common in “tribalnsocieties” while championing the superioritynof Third World values over Westernnones or to applaud the back-to-naturenmovement while insisting on the indispensabilitynof abortion mills and chemicalncontraceptives do provide comic reliefnin these tediously self-serious books,nbut it is ultimately quite sobering tonrealize that this is the corrosive essencenof the instruction given by professorsnpaid to teach religion at two majornChristian educational institutions. Oneneven fears that the publication of thesentwo works will be used to justify academicnpromotion and larger salaries for thefrnauthors.n1 hat school administrators and somenecclesiastical authorities passively permitnthis sort of internal contradictionnseems the most impenetrable of religiousnmysteries. Can it be that the prelate whonpresides over South Bend, Indiana, hasnnot noticed that one of his prominentnundershepherds has smashed the crucifix:^nand erected a feminist totem in the middlenof the sheepcote? Can the Protestantnministers of Evanston, Illinois, havenMed to detect that the sign imder wiiichn