DemWit’s readership, that I know of, is made up mostly of Christians, a few Jews, at least four atheists. I am certain that among my Middle East visitors there are Muslims. I do not personally know a Rastafarian, but everyone is welcome here.
All, I believe, will find this post of interest. Oh, I thought about being really clever and writing a conservative version of The Beatitudes – “Wretched are the peacemakers, for they shall not be called neocons” - and The Ten Commandments – “Thou shalt not commit adultery unless you are a televangelist or a holder of public office” – but the “Conservative Bible Project” is far too serious to make light of.
The Project is headed by attorney and teacher Andy Schlafly, son of conservative standard-bearer Phyllis Schlafly. Its goal is to expunge “liberal bias” from the Holy Bible. So help me, God!
There are a lot of articles via Google, and I might be one of the last persons on the planet to hear of this project, but I pass this article from The Huffington Post along to you, dear reader. Although I will have a few words to say following it, I cannot improve on this “just when you thought you’d heard it all” story:
Conservative Bible Project Cuts Out Liberal Passages
The Huffington Post Rachel Weiner
October 5, 2009
Lo and behold, the Bible has gotten too liberal, according to a group of conservatives. And it needs a little editing.
That's the inspiration behind the Conservative Bible Project, which seeks to take the text back to its supposed right-wing roots.
Yes, even scripture is not orthodox enough for the modern conservative. Not that it's the fault of the author(s), exactly. The group cites a few reasons why the Bible is too progressive: "Lack of precision in the original language ... lack of precision in modern language" and "translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one."
So how can the Bible be conservatized? The group has proposed a Wikipedia-like group editing project. Some of the ideas would only bring the translation closer to the original. But others would fundamentally change the text.
1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."
Among the words to be eliminated: "government." A conservative columnist at Beliefnet described the effort as "just crazy ... like what you'd get if you crossed the Jesus Seminar with the College Republican chapter at a rural institution of Bible learnin'."
In a post titled “Conservative Bible Project Draws Predictable Liberal Scorn,” the conservative media site NewsBusters warns:
“But whether the Conservative Bible Project is inspired or misguided, liberals should exercise some circumspection before piling on. Even Weiner explained that, ‘Some of the ideas would only bring the translation closer to the original.’ "
NewsBusters omits the rest of her quote: “But others would fundamentally change the text.”
I have had my own problems with the King James Version (KJV) translation, but it’s the version I grew up with and since I am not fluent in Greek or Hebrew, it suffices.
In instances where the original talks about “agape” (the love of God), “philial” (brotherly love) and “erotica” (sexual love), the KJV uses only the word “love.”
Churches base foreign mission work on “The Great Commission,” which in the KJV begins, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations. …” But, the original version means “As you go into the world. …” The latter challenges persons to witness by their daily lives. Two good concepts, two different meanings.
But, I’ve got a little news for NewsBusters: conservatives all over this country grew up with the King James Version of the Holy Bible, and they are not going to cotton to the removal of words like “Jehovah,” “Yahweh” and “Lord God.”
What these new translators really want is an American theocracy, while at the same time – in their zealotry – condemning theocracies like Iran.. Do we really want persons of such reasoning ability to interpret scriptures for us?
I would challenge any members of this project to read Matthew 5: 1-48 – The Sermon on the Mount – and tell me how they would improve this essence of Christianity, this passionate passage of great literature.