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The Bible in Action

Nothing good Christians love to do more than to whip our their Bibles to try to prove whatever point they’re trying to make.

This is pointless. Who cares what the Bible says about this “homosexuality” thingy, whatever that is? The word did not exist at the time that the Bible dates to, so the claim is anachronistic nonsense.

It is also morally and politically irrelevant. Politically irrelevant because we do not use the Bible to govern the United States, much as some people might wish we did. It is morally irrelevant because the Bible is a huge, floppy, inherently corrupt text of dubious provenance that has everything in the world in it, so one can use it to justify anything.

“It is theorized there may have been an original document of sayings by Jesus known as the Q source, which was adapted into the narratives of the Gospels. All four Gospels were published anonymously, but historians believe that the books were given the name of Jesus’ disciples to provide direct links to Jesus to lend them greater authority.”

Jefferson Sessions whipped out his favorite Bible verse to justify arresting asylum seekers at the border and separating their children from them. As several observers pointed out, his choice of verse was surprising, since it was the same one slave owners often used to persuade slaves that the Christian god wanted them to be slaves and to obey their owners. Such a fine moral example.

Then we have multiple examples of good Christians wanting to treat women as second class citizens, whether referring to pregnant women as “host bodies,” or, as above, explicitly concluding from his favorite bible verse that this god guy wants women to shut up and have no rights at all. Hmmmm… sounds suspiciously like Saudi Arabia, that Muslim kingdom.

At sentencing, the judge accused the two men whom a jury had just convicted of multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, and endangering children for raping two girls under the age of 15, of having “distorted the word of god.” The defendants, who represented themselves, asked for a Bible during their trial and stated that the Bible is the only law book that matters. One man’s distortion is another man’s law.

He was a “fringe” candidate and he dropped out, but a Michigan state senate candidate used the Bible to justify grown men marrying twelve year old girls after he disparaged the judge who presided over the trial of Larry Nasser, the doctor who molested multiple students at a university there. It’s hard to see how the Bible is much use as moral guidance in our society. Every person their own Bible.

And here lies the crux of the biscuit. Outside of specific churches, no authority exists to control how any given individual chooses to interpret the Bible. In a nation that guarantees each individual the freedom of religious belief and practice, and that has a very rich history of proliferating flavors of Christianity willy nilly, nothing can stop two child rapists from invoking the Bible to justify their choices to rape girls they are related to, or any girl or other person, for that matter.

It is not necessary, and in some quarters it is controversial, that we allow our Supreme Court to be the final arbiter of what our Constitution means, but, whatever its flaws, the Constitution came into existence recently enough and has a consistent, well enough documented history of interpretation throughout the time of its operation that it provides a mostly consistent, predictable framework for evaluating the moral culpability of specific actions and deciding on the appropriate punishment. Nothing in the Constitution requires any state to prohibit adult men from raping children, but all states do prohibit that, and they do so broadly within a legal and political framework that the Constitution defines.

Any person who looks for a source for moral condemnation of rape will have much more luck using the Constitution and the laws we have enacted under its auspices than they will using the Bible.

The Bible is useless.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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