Queering 4:21 - 5:1  of
the Epistle to the Galatians
An adaptation of Paul's letter by Rev. Stephen Parelli
Queering Galatians
Chapter 1 verse by verse
Chapter 2 verse by verse
4:21 - 5:1 verse by verse
Photo at left:
Rev Steve Parelli, Lumut, Malaysia
August 19, 2009
 Photo by Steve Parelli
Chapter 4
21 Tell me, you who desire to be
subject to the law, will you not listen to
the law?

22 For it is written that Abraham had
two sons, one by a slave woman and
the other by a free woman.

23 One, the child of the slave, was
born according to the flesh; the other,
the child of the free woman, was born
through the promise.

24 Now this is an allegory: these
women are two covenants. One
woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount
Sinai, bearing children for slavery.

25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia
and corresponds to the present
Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with
her children.

26 But the other woman corresponds
to the Jerusalem above; she is free,
and she is our mother.

27 For it is written,

    “Rejoice, you childless one, you
    who bear no children,
    burst into song and shout, you
    who endure no birth pangs;
    for the children of the desolate
    woman are more numerous
    than the children of the one who
    is married.”

28 Now you, my friends, are children of
the promise, like Isaac.

29 But just as at that time the child who
was born according to the flesh
persecuted the child who was born
according to the Spirit, so it is now also.

30 But what does the scripture say?
“Drive out the slave and her child; for
the child of the slave will not share the
inheritance with the child of the free

31 So then, friends, we are children,
not of the slave but of the free woman.

Chapter 5
1 For freedom Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, therefore, and do not
submit again to a yoke of slavery.  
Chapter 4
21 Tell me, you in America who desire to legislate religion – to
write the precepts of your personal faith into our civil laws  – do
you not hear the story of your Puritan forbearers?

22 For history tells us Boston had two sons, the one, John Cotton,
tied to the old European mindset of a church-state paradigm, and
the other, Roger Williams, born of the spirit of liberty, in which the
church is free from the dictates of the state and the state of the
dictates of the church.

23 Now, the former was born out of the Reformation (in Europe)
which was still slave to the idea of church-state/ state-church
governments; the latter was born of the Enlightenment by which
the promise of liberty and equality for all was nurtured in the
thoughts and writings of men and women.

24 Now these two figures – Cotton and Williams – are a fair
representation of what is happening today in America with
marriage equality.  Cotton is from the old world and is fathering
children who become nothing more than slaves, surrendering their
liberties to a state-church/church-state society.

25 Cotton represents governments which make laws and rule
according to the beliefs and values of the dominant religion which
every citizen – the religious, the non-religious, and those of
different beliefs – must obey; which makes slaves of everyone,
even of the citizens who willingly hold to the dominate values.

26 But Williams represents that government which corresponds to
something which is higher – the idea that all human beings answer
to God according to the dictates of their own hearts without the
interference of any human institution, be it civil, religious, private,
public, local or national.  A society is free when, at every level and
in all of its dealings, it protects and guarantees each one’s liberty
in matters of conscience before God.  

27 And that’s why it can be said of Williams:

    “Rejoice, Rhode Island, you who bore no children in Boston,
    for now it is your turn to burst into singing.  Shout “His truth
    is marching on” you whose birth pains for religious liberty in
    Boston brought forth only still-born babies.  For the children
    of Rhode Island are – throughout the world today – more
    numerous than the children of 17th century Puritan Boston.
    The desolate, unsought-after town of Providence, where,
    among the exiled of Massachusetts, religious liberty was
    born, is by far greater today than the highly-esteemed
    Beacon Hill of yesteryear with all its shinning Puritan lights.”  

28 Now you, my dear American reader, are the children of
religious liberty – the promise of equality, freedom and individual
dignity in matters of religious belief and practice, like Roger
Williams was.

29 But just like then, John Cotton (whose belief-system was
mandated by New England law and forced upon all its citizens)
persecuted Roger Williams (whose belief-system guaranteed that
others could believe and act differently than him or Cotton), so it is
now with the repeal of marriage equality in some states, that the
religious right persecute the children of the spirit of Roger Williams.

30 But what does history teach us?  Though some colonies had
officially recognized an establishment of religion, the newly formed
Untied States would not.  The children of the free Rhode Island
would not share the inheritance of the children of the religiously
non-free Virginia and New England in the formation of the United
States of America.  The likes of Virginia and New England had to
yield to the likes of Rhode Island so that the first amendment was

31 So then, friends, we are children, not of John Cotton and the
Reformation and New England which failed to gave us religious
liberty, but of Roger Williams the father of religious liberty.

Chapter 5
1 It is this kind of freedom for which Christ has set us free.  A
freedom that respects all men and women equally as recipients of
liberty of conscience, whatever their creed, gender, race, age,
sexual orientation, sex, nationality, education, philosophy of life
and whatever else are the accidental differences shared together
by our one essence as human beings.  Stand fast in this kind of
liberty, therefore, and do not put yourselves ever again under a
legal system that makes you mere slaves to a view of God which is
not your own and which the state, or any institution, would
mandate against your will, without your free consent.
Which America are we -
the John Cotton America
or the Roger Williams
To what extent does our
American idea of liberty
come to us as a by-product
of the Reformation?
The Cotton-Williams
Controversy:  A question of
religious liberty and the
place of government in our
individual private lives of
personal beliefs and
We are, happily, free
children born of the spirit of
Roger Williams
Just as Cotton persecuted
Williams, so today the
religious right persecute the
children of the spirit of
The free spirit of Roger
Williams over the bondage
of John Cotton
Christ lived and died for
what kind of freedom?
Galatians 4:21 - 5:1
New Revised Standard Version
Queering 4:21 - 5:1  of
the Epistle to the Galatians
An adaptation of Paul's letter by Rev. Stephen Parelli
In matters of personal belief and practice, which America are we? - the John
Cotton America which enslaves us to the moral prerogatives of the state or the
Roger Williams America which deems each of us a free moral agent before God?
This paraphrase, a queer adaptation of Galatians 4:21 - 5:1, was written on the same day that "the military
ends its ban on gays in the military" ending its policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, September 20, 2011.
This web page was created in and published from the Bronx, New York on September 20, 2011.
    Visits to this web page since September 20, 2011: