8 July 2019 from 16:15 to 17:15

PhD defence Marco Derks: 'Constructions of Homosexuality and Christian Religion in Contemporary Public Discourse in the Netherlands'

Sol Lumen, artwork by Yvette Mattern, photo by Ivar Pel
Sol Lumen, artwork by Yvette Mattern, photo by Ivar Pel

On 8 July Marco Derks will defend his PhD thesis Constructions of Homosexuality and Christian Religion in Contemporary Public Discourse in the Netherlands at the University Hall.

This thesis analyses the way homosexuality and Christian religion are discussed in contemporary public debates in the Netherlands. It looks in particular at the interactions between secular and Christian voices, among others in newspapers, tv programmes and policy documents and on websites.

Marco Derks
Marco Derks

four articles

The thesis consists of four articles. The first analyses responses to speeches by Pope Benedict XVI that were perceived to be about homosexuality. The second concerns debates about civil marriage registrars with conscientious objections against conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies (so-called 'weigerambtenaren'). The third analyses public debates by and on the Dutch Evangelical health care organisation Different, which has repeatedly been accused of offering reparative therapy. The fourth looks at how homosexual identity is frequently conceptualised in opposition to religious identity – et vice versa.

rhetorical success and secular panics

This study shows the rhetorical success of secular discourses promoting homosexuality or sexual diversity, while also pointing to secular panics in response to news about religion and homosexuality. It argues that certain secular and Christian groups are each other’s favourite enemies: for both, their stance towards homosexuality has become an identity marker. At the same time, the Christian tradition is also used by different secular persons to criticise either Islam or the Church itself. Two risks are being addressed. First, presenting religion as the main obstacle towards a positive appropriation of homosexuality risks overlooking homonegative tendencies in non-religious circles. Second, the strong juridicalisation of public debates about religion and homosexuality – who is the ‘real’ minority: LGBT persons or Christians? – complicates a fruitful dialogue.

Start date and time
8 July 2019 16:15
End date and time
8 July 2019 17:15
PhD candidate
Marco Derks
Dissertation
Constructions of Homosexuality and Christian Religion in Contemporary Public Discourse in the Netherlands
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. A.J.A.C.M. KorteProf. R.R. Ganzevoort