Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bible Bamboozlement

Have you ever noticed that although conservative religious folk whine incessantly about how supposedly persecuted they are, how they aren't being allowed to practice their faith to the fullest extent in the public square, how somehow they and their faith are slighted by elites abroad in the land in academia, in the media, in Hollywood, etc, that when someone actually refers directly to what the Bible literally says, these same uptight, conservative fundies just blow their stacks, as if quoting from their holy book is intolerable?

After referring to the book of Leviticus's condoning and provision for slavery (the book of Exodus blesses it, too; take a read through chapter 21), for the buying and selling of human flesh, for created human beings, the Christianist brigade goes into overdrive complaining, bizarrely, that Obama is "deliberately distorting" the Bible and "dragging Biblical understanding through the mud."

But what is Obama distorting? He's merely quoting from the Bible, which they falsely claim to rever.

What the Dobsonites really mean is that it is unfair for Obama, or anyone, least of all the sheeples in the pews, to dare to interpret the Bible for themselves, to read it just as it is written. Rather, it is insinuated, there is a grand tradition of evangelical Christian thought that is the only proper intepreter and guardian of the scriptures, and that unless we are party to this elite consensus on the holy book, then our views, our readings, are invalid. Only religious elites like Dobson can explain the Bible for us. This is an old argument, at least as old as the Reformation when the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy first tried to prevent the widespread printing and distribution of the Bible and then when that became impossible, amped up its supposed prerogatives to infallibility, meaning that for the simple lay person, they could read the Bible, but couldn't decide for themselves what the texts meant or how to apply them. But as literacy and education have spread, and just as importantly, as people have become more healthy and prosperous, the would be dictators in the Roman Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Convention, Mormon church, and in Colorado Springs lose more of their hold on the public imagination. The same old tricks don't work any more.

Put simply, Dobson and his ilk believe only they are fit to interpret the Bible. The rest of us are supposed to follow mindlessly like the most rabid ignorant fanatics.



2 comments:

DHSmd said...

"unless we are party to this elite consensus on the holy book, then our views, our readings, are invalid. "

In other words, biblical interpretation in the eyes of evangelicals is equivalent to lawmaking in the eyes of Senators and news in the eyes of pundits.

Same ol' same ol'...

Anonymous said...

Lord have mercy!