Trueman On Queer Imperialism

The anti-Western left has been exposed for its sexual imperialism over the last few months. Evidence is all around. American Muslims have led protests against the imposition of LGBTQ policies and curricula in schools, leaving American progressives uncomfortably caught between two pillars of their favored rhetoric of political thought-crime: transphobia and Islamophobia. The Washington Post opined that anti-LGBTQ moves in the Middle East were “echoing” those of the American culture wars—as if Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan had been listed by the Human Rights Campaign as favored vacation destinations until their ruling elites started reading the website of Moms for Liberty.

It is, of course, the nature of imperialism that everything, everywhere, is always to be measured by the imperialists’ standards. And that is also what makes them so impervious to spotting their own imperialism. “Queering the Mary Rose‘s Collection,” an article on the website of the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, England, is a recent example of this. The Mary Rose was a Tudor warship that sank in 1545 and was raised from the seabed in 1982 in a groundbreaking act of marine archaeology. The museum is dedicated to displaying artifacts retrieved from the wreck, some of which are now being analyzed “through a Queer lens.”

…Two things are striking about the article, in addition to its lack of any intellectual merit. First, the absence of any historical awareness is striking. For example, the category of “practicing Christian” is essentially meaningless when applied to the early sixteenth century. Everybody, bar a few underground Jews, Anabaptists, and radicals, was part of the Catholic Church by baptism. The question of how the crew might have understood themselves, whether in terms of mirrors, rings, combs, or Paternosters, is never asked. To be fair, a short blog post cannot ask all the relevant questions, but this does not even nod in the direction of suggesting that the differences between yesterday and today might be remotely interesting or instructive.

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Carl Trueman | “Queering A Tudor Warship” | August 10th, 2023


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  1. This is (a less significant part of) what’s so great about Historic Protestantism (P&R / Confessional Lutheran / Evangelical Anglican). It is catholic in time and geography without being relativistic.

  2. “As a self-identifying middle-aged bald man, let me offer my own reading of the artifacts through an “alopecia interpretative tool.” The mirror is a constant reminder of the hair I once had and now is gone, causing feelings of nostalgia, regret, and occasional melancholy. The ring speaks of my wedding day when my head was indeed as hirsute as befits a man in his twenties and thus makes me sad for lost glory. The Paternoster reminds me that Henry VIII had the monasteries dissolved and with them the monastic tonsure—a genocidal move that erased with a stroke of the legislative pen a significant section of the bald community. And as for the combs, do not even ask. It is just too painful a subject to speak on. I have not owned one for over a decade.”

    I really enjoy reading Pastor Trueman. His insight, knowledge, wit and sincerity keep me sane.

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