The Bible Is Not Cut-and-Paste, kthx.

I was reading a post at Right Wing Watch (bringing me the best of wingnuttery daily since...whenever I RSS'ed them) about some jackhole (Rick Barton of Wallbuilders, if anyone cares) laying out a Biblical case for industry deregulation (for the love of all the gods, the Bible laid out rules for a tribal society in the Bronze Age.  We are not there anymore.  Can we stop trying to pattern our laws on that?)...and this bit caught my eye.  He was quoting the Bible, a few verses in 1 Timothy that describes who the laws should be applied to:
So it says "we know the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, and homosexuals, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine."
That caught my eye.  I haven't read the whole Bible, but I'm fairly well-versed in the arguments for and against a Biblical treatment of homosexuality, and one of the things I know is that the Bible is really, really nonspecific about homosexuality per se.  There's much talk of "sexual immorality" but it's not really defined as a homosexual thing.  It seemed odd to see it in this context, so I went to one of the many Bible-verse-lookup websites out there and searched.  This is the version of this passage that I found, 1 Timothy 1:9-10:
We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
Funny.  I don't see "and homosexuals" in there.  Even in a discussion of Biblical economic policy, the gay-hating was SO IMPORTANT that this asshole felt the need to insert homosexuality into the list of Bad People.  

Dude.  It's your holy book, which you believe was inspired by your omnipotent God.  If he'd meant for homosexuals to be on the list of Bad People, don't you think he would have put that there himself?  And since he didn't, who the fuck do you think you are to do it for him?  If you're going to claim the excuse of religion to support your bigotry, you could at least have the courtesy to work with the religious text as-is, not your edited version of it.  I seem to recall that the God of the Bible was not a huge fan of arrogance.  You might want to re-think yours.


The Ex said...

Canz we tellz them they lost the argument by cheating and go haz a celebration party nowz? :-(

Jadelyn said...

I wish. I think my favorite "you lose" against anti-equality Christians was delivered by a Jewish acquaintance, who said "Your holy book is based on our holy book. As a Jew, I'm renouncing your right to use our holy book, therefore you no longer have a holy book, you lose, the end."

Quercki said...

When my sister became a Christian, she used to quote made-up Bible verses at me, trying to get me to renounce my Pagan ways. I called her out on it until she stopped. (Now we try not to discuss religion too much, since she is so distressed that I'm going to Hell. Hel, or Mother Holde, has long been one of my favorite Goddesses.)

Jadelyn said...

Awesome. I've never gotten why Christians would alter the writ they supposedly believe in so fervently. It seems terribly disrespectful to me. If I had a holy script that I believed had been given me directly by my gods, I would consider it the height of blasphemy to amend it to better suit my purposes! If your holy writings don't support your purpose, you might want to either reconsider your purpose or your choice of religion.

Tejas667 said...

Don't worry about going to hell if it exists, it would be far better than spending eternity with most of the so called christians that I know. sorry this was so late but just saw your post

Jacob said...

"ALL WOMEN should have it that easy, if they decide abortion is the way for them to handle a pregnancy."

Once you were an enchanting child, as all babies are. Today you are an abortionist, a killer of babies. Do you not regret your wicked deeds? Do you not see the innocent blood of our children that stains your hands and cries out to God? Have you no shame as did our first parents when they sinned against God? Why do you not turn to Him today, seek His forgiveness and His strength never again to murder the innocent? Would you not rather bring children into the world than destroy them? Children you could raise with respect for life to take the place of those you robbed from God?

Jadelyn said...

Wow. Where to begin? There's so much fail here...

1. You're quoting a comment I made in a different context on another blog entirely. Either keep the discussion there - which you KNOW wouldn't work, Shakesville has very good moderators, and I suspect that's why you're baiting me over here - email me privately, or at the VERY LEAST, pick a post of mine that's actually about abortion to start this shit on, as opposed to a post about a totally different subject.

2. Not all babies are "enchanting". I certainly don't find them so. Check your assumptions.

3. I've only ever heard the term "abortionist" to refer to abortion providers, namely the doctors who perform abortions. By that definition, I'm certainly not an abortionist. Or are you people calling all women who choose to obtain an abortion "abortionists" these days?

4. I regret my wicked deeds, indeed. I'm not amoral. However, having had an abortion is not on my list of wicked deeds. My list of wicked deeds includes a time that I cheated on my ex in the heat of the moment, some of the nastier crap I said to my parents as a teenager, the way I badly mishandled breaking up with another of my exes, that sort of thing. I do regret those things. I do not, for a single second, regret making the choice to end my pregnancy and continue my life in happiness and strength, instead of martyring myself for a child I would have hated and resented.

5. What's this "our children" bullshit? Even IF I chose to take you at your word, there is precisely ONE abortion for which I bear responsibility, that being my own. I am not responsible for other women's abortions, nor some nebulous "blood of our children". Assigning-responsibility FAIL.

6. I have shame, for those things in my past which I feel I did poorly enough to feel shame for. Again, the abortion is not something for which I am ashamed. So no.

7. Um...because I'm not Christian, I don't believe in your conception of God, I have my own gods and guides and am plenty happy with them. I don't need to seek the forgiveness of your god, thank you very much, I have the love of my own gods and that's plenty.

8. Good fucking gods, no, I would not rather bring children into the world. Fuck that noise, x1000. I. Do. Not. Want. Children. Ever. I do not like children all that much, either. I am certainly not interested in bringing them into the world myself.

9. "...those [I] robbed from God?" Really? How utterly powerless must your god be, that a single mortal pagan woman can rob him of something he wanted. If you believe in the omnipotence of your god, how can you not believe that, if he'd wanted me to have that child, he would have found a way to make it happen? In which case, I can only assume I had his tacit blessing or at least his benevolent non-interference, and I "robbed" him of NOTHING.

Thank you for playing, pick up your consolation prize on the way out. Door's that way. *points* Find somewhere else to preach, cause this is your one warning: my blog will not be your platform. Further attempts to make me feel guilty/proselytize at me will be deleted, and you will be permabanned.

Ryan said...

While the translation you have doesn't include homosexuals in the list of "bad people" there are several respected mainstream translations that do. The NASB, or the ESV are a couple examples. I don't know which translation Barton uses, but it seems likely he uses one that includes the term, and he didn't add homosexuals to the list.

But the point of that verse isn't what specific people are considered "bad people" but that we're all on the list somewhere. Romans 3:10 says "there is none righteous. No, not one..."

Jadelyn said...

An interesting point, thank you. Honestly, at this point, there have proliferated so many versions with minor variations that it's hard to keep track of what the Bible supposedly does or doesn't say at any given time. So it's entirely possible that Barton is using a version which does include it, and didn't just add it on his own. However, I do think that the simple fact of there being so many translations with variations like that is a serious point undermining the usefulness of the document as a guideline for law, period. If it can't even be agreed-upon what's actually in there and what's not, how can it possibly be a stable enough document to create a law code around?

But I rather like your interpretation of the verse. The "everyone is a sinner" idea may be one of the major things that drove me away from Christianity personally, but it's at least a nice, even, across-the-board sort of thing. Much as fundie types may be fond of misapplying the theory.


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