Politicizing the Bible

This can’t possibly be a surprise to anyone, right? The far right has spent decades using religion as a political weapon to divide Americans. But now the folks behind the Conservative Bible Project want to censor and rewrite the Bible to align scripture more closely with their fringe ideology.

We’re not making this up.

“Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations,” says Conservapedia, which is hosting the project. (The folks at Conservapedia call their Web site “The Trustworthy Encyclopedia.” Orwellian, yes?)

The project’s organizers say there currently “is no fully conservative translation of the Bible” that satisfies a list of 10 guidelines. Among those guidelines:

Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias

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

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.”

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.

Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

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.”

How can anyone take these people seriously?

We also wonder how much work David Barton will contribute to this project. After all, Barton already argues that the Bible forbids the progressive income tax and labor laws.

18 thoughts on “Politicizing the Bible

  1. Three comments:

    1) Yeah. Right. They want to rewrite the Bible so it will be just as nutty as they are and camouflage their sins in the process. Whenever any outfit wants to rewrite the Bible, you can bet it is because they do not like the mirror the Lord is holding up in front of them or the way they look in that mirror. Translation: We can’t kill him because its against the law—but wait a minute—if we change the law to make murder legal—then we can kill him and it’ll be all right. Let’s go Jed!!!

    2) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) Translation: Your train has already jumped the tracks before it left the station.

    3) “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelations 22: 18 and 20). Translation: Don’t tread on me or you’ll be turned into a roll of toilet paper.

    Have it yore way boys. You been warned.

  2. One more thing. I just had to share this with you. It is so outrageous, so fraught with falsehoods, and so utterly looney that I don’t think you would believe me if I simply described what was said. Read it here on your own—if you dare:


    It’s a full 3 months before Christmas and the fruitcake ingredients are already on the shelves!!!! If the men in white coats don’t come soon, Cytocop and I are moving to New Zealand.

  3. Here is an opinion piece on this subject by Mike Lux from the Huffington Post.com.


    Here is a brief excerpt…

    …Some folks I know have been surprised at the level of violent and vitriolic rhetoric they have worked themselves into since Obama took office. Bringing assault weapons to Presidential events, while wearing t-shirts referencing quotes about spilling the blood of tyrants? Talking openly about secession and armed rebellion? Saying that giving women the right to vote was a bad idea? Saying that Obama hated white people? It’s all been done in recent weeks by movement conservatives, openly, publicly. I haven’t been surprised, because as a student of history, and a staffer for Bill Clinton, I have seen all of these rhetorical flourishes before throughout history.

    But every once in a while, folks in the conservative movement surprise me and come up with something new. And this one is a doozy. Apparently the folks at Conservapedia are re-translating the Bible to make it fit better with conservative ideology.

    According to Conservapedia, there is no “fully conservative translation” which properly meets their guidelines, so the project is much needed. Among other things, they want to:

    Better explain how certain parables actually promote free market ideology, because apparently the actual language of the Bible doesn’t do a very good job of that.
    Exclude certain, “later-inserted liberal passages.” Given that there is a great deal of dispute among Bible scholars over what was original language in the ancient texts and what wasn’t, it will be fascinating to see what passages make their list as “later inserted.” I have some guesses.

    Identify pro-liberal terms in existing translations such as “government” and just get rid of them. It’s great how you can solve these inconvenient problems so easily.

    Conversely, of course, identify conservative words and phrases that have been mysteriously omitted from existing translations, and figure out cool ways to stick them into the Bible stories.

    Some of their examples are fun, too. When Jesus says, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing,” they are quite suspicious. That quote only appears once in the Bible, they say, plus it sounds way too liberal – it must be wrong. I guess they’ll just define that as “later-inserted.” And then there are certain words that just appear way too often, like laborer and labored – apparently, they will just get rid of/re-translate stuff like that, too.

    Now there are no suggestions about what this new translation might do with all those inconvenient references to the poor – feeding them, housing them, justice for them, etc. There are several hundred of those, so you would have a lot of editing to do to get rid of all that, or make it more “free market oriented.” And if you just got rid of it entirely by ascribing it all to “later insertions,” you would have a noticeably thinner Bible. And all those references to peace-making, the rich having trouble getting into heaven, etc.- all that would have to go, too.

    I find this kind of thing really fun, actually. I really do admire their creativity and pure chutzpah (oh wait, is that too Jewish a word?). And it’s a great principle: you find something inconvenient or tricky in a beloved text, just get rid of it. Next up: The Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg Address….

  4. Wow!!! I never so a URL go off the edge of a page like that. Is this some sort of miracle?

  5. Then perhaps we should wait on the Social Studies standards until they get their Bible right. Wouldn’t want to put the wrong one in!

  6. So, under this stalwart new biblical regime, obviously John 3:16 can no longer be the core message of the Gospel; instead it is Matthew 25:29.

  7. As I recall, the first time the bible was “dumbed down” they called it the “vulgate”. No doubt these folks would prefer the original
    greek or latin versions.

  8. How can the bible forbid labor laws? Isn’t much of Leviticus about similar rules? “Keep the Sabbath Holy” is widely regarded as the first labor law: before that nearly everybody worked 7 days a week.
    This is truly a “creative” bunch.

  9. Haven’t these folks ever heard of The Jewish Publication Society which publishes an accurate translation diretcly from the original Hebrew Torah?

  10. Well, Marvin. Best I can tell, there is a broad spectrum of things such people have never heard or seen. Maybe not.

  11. They would do well to get a Hebrew scholar to help them with the so-called “Old Testament.” Yeah, that’ll happen.

    Once they have tackled the Bible, next they’ll want to “conservatize” the Constitution. They’ll especially want to get rid of that pesky inconvenient phrase about Congress not making any laws establishing a religion to say that Congress SHALL make laws to establish a religion; namely, THEIRS.

    Charles, New Zealand sounds like a sensible and wise choice. Wonder if they need any cytotechnologists because, actually, I am looking to change my employer.

  12. Charles/Cytocop. Before you leave, perhaps you could do us this one favor, and return Ray Comfort* to NZ when you go? I’m quite confident that, should you accept, your travel costs would be more than covered.

    *And his little dog too! ( Kirk Cameron)

  13. I don’t know if there are too many people in NZ seeking Ray’s return trog.
    In fact Ray seems pretty much at home in the US. A lot of Kiwis end up in Australia and according to a New Zealand Prime Miniser, this migration raised the IQ levels of both countries.

  14. Ya know, I don’t even know who Ray Comfort is but NZ or AU sound equally attractive to this future Texas refugee.

  15. Ahhh, I can see it now. Ray is stopped from entering the NZ, and while he’s stuck in the airport the government passes a new law stating that you have to pass a basic evolutionary biology test in order to gain entrance. Nothing too difficult.

    “How’s he doing on that test?”

    “He’s still on number 2. He keeps grabbing his head and muttering “Lord Jesus, I really, really need your help on this one.”

  16. Cytocop, perhaps you’ve heard of the “banana-man”? Ray comfort did a short video a few years ago, with Kirk Cameron, using a banana as a prop. He then began explaining that because the banana was shaped so well for the human hand, had an easy to open ‘pop-top’, curved towards the mouth for ease of eating, and a color-coded method of determining ripeness, all these things prove that it was made for man by God. He still holds to this premise even after thousands of people have pointed out that a banana has been human-engineered to have the shape, etc. that it does, and that a wild banana looks nothing like that.

    I don’t believe for a second that he is anything but willfully ignorant, if he’s ignorant at all. He’s made a LOT of money through his BS apologetics. Now he and his co-hort are in the process of distributing something like 150,000 copies of “The Origin Of Species on college campuses-but they’ve put in their own 50 page forward, supposedly showing why evolution is false. Here’s his website, should you want a nice headache before bed:


  17. This Ray Comfort dude sounds like Ben Stein: knows what his fans want to talk about and see on the big screen, and how to make a big profit off of it.