Conservative Bible Project Draws Predictable Liberal Scorn

As NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd noted in an October 5 post, some conservatives have undertaken an online Conservative Bible Project to rid the Good Book of “translational bias” and correct the “lack of precision” in both original and translational language. As Shepherd also noted, Time Magazine's Amy Sullivan wasted no time heaping derision on the effort.

Unsurprisingly, others on the left have joined the fun. Harpers Magazine titled a blog post on the project, “From the Department of Self-Parody.” “Lo and behold, the Bible has gotten too liberal,” wrote Rachel Weiner at the Huffington Post. “And it needs a little editing.”

And the hooting could be heard in many of the lesser precincts of the left-wing blogosphere – most of it a variation on Weiner's sneer: “Yes, even scripture is not orthodox enough for the modern conservative.”

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.”

MSNBC's David Shuster took Sullivan and Weiner's derision a step further in his October 6 discussion of it with MSNBC contributor Rev. Joe Watkins. Shuster mocked the idea of living Biblically by pointing out Old Testament laws that would drastically change society if we were required to live by them.

“Here's a couple passages in the Bible conservatives like to cite for example. Leviticus 18:22: 'Homosexuality is an abomination.' If they also believe that, shouldn't we also go back to slavery?” Shuster asked Watkins.  “Because Leviticus 25:44 talks about us being able to possess slaves, male and female.  Exodus 35:2: 'The neighbor who works on the Sabbath should be put to death.' Leviticus 19:21 forbids men from getting their hair trimmed. I mean, if you want to go back to the original word, the country and our society is going to change a lot, right?”

Watkins tried to explain that Christians who believe in the New Testament have been “freed” from those laws “under the law of love,” but Shuster quickly interrupted him to insist that love does not extend to homosexuals but that it “only extends to heterosexuals.”

Earlier in the discussion, Watkins expressed concern over the politicizing of Scripture: “The Bible ought not be politicized. It ought to speak to people and tell people what God says and what we're supposed to do in response to God … the Bible speaks to everybody, whether you're a liberal, whether you're a conservative, whether you're a moderate, whether you have no political party standing at all. It speaks to everybody. That's that beauty of God's Word.”

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