Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Conservative Christians and the Absolute Word of God

“We’ve got serious problems.” said the *Very Reverend Pat Robertson at a staff meeting for the Christian Coalition of America back in 2006. “Those damned liberals keep using Bible verses against Christians and conservatives. They keep coming up with stuff in the Bible to confound us and make us conservative Christians look ridiculous and stupid.”

“How do you mean, Pat?”  asked Roberta Combs, CCA’s president who chaired the meeting. “How can we possibly look ridiculous and stupid? I mean there was that time you got your picture taken with Rudy Giuliani in his beautiful dress . . . ”

Angrily Robertson responded: “Dammit Roberta!  I told you not to bring that up again!  Oh but to answer your question, they are coming up with all kinds of things based on our own verses in our holy scripture. For example, they always throw out that bit about to be perfect, Christians must sell everything they have and give it all to the poor - every last bit - that’s in Matthew 19, verses 16 to 21. Now you and I all know that’s not gonna fly with conservative Christians today. In fact, we much prefer it the opposite. But there are dozens of other verses which they throw at us and we don’t have good answers for, since we claim every last word in the Bible is the literal truth.”

“Yeah, I’ve run into that myself many times.” said Combs. “But, what can we do?  The Bible is what it is, isn’t it?”

“Well I’ll quote a former colleague of mine, old Harry Emerson Fosdick.” replied Robertson. “Fosdick always said, ‘Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it’. So, that’s what we’ll do. We’re gonna change the Bible.

“Change the Bible?” Sputtered Combs. “That’s heresy!  We’ll be accused of heresy!”

“Not at all,” responded Robertson. “Our conservative Christians are just as uncomfortable with the Bible as I am. Besides, the Bible’s been changed  thousands of times, ever since day one. Christians have always had to make changes in the Good Book. Times change, and sometimes the Bible must change too, or otherwise it’ll become just another book of ancient myths and fairy tales written by bored sheepherders.”

“But, isn’t the Bible the absolute word of God, and every last word is the literal truth?” Combs asked.

Robertson smiled.  “Oh Roberta. You’ve still got a lot to learn. Of course it is. But we, as good Christians get to decide how to interpret it and to use it!”

“We do?” asked a puzzled Combs.

“Of course.” said Robertson. “I do. And, I don’t need to remind you who I am. I speak for God. Directly. And, you work for me. Don’t ever forget that.”

“No, Sir.” said a chastened Combs.

“Anyway,” Robertson went on. “I’ve worked out a way. A good way, and a way which will easily fly within our Christian brotherhood - and sisterhood too, of course.  We’re gonna go back and reinterpret the Bible. And, we’re gonna call it the ‘Conservative Bible’. Hell, we’ll make millions on it, just by selling our new version, which will be a must have for all good Christians. We’ll tell them they have to have it and they’ll go out and get it. Works every time.”

“But, how will we do that?” asked another staffer. “Who’s going to do the actual work - and it sounds like an awful lot of work. Who’s qualified to reinterpret the Bible - and make it conform with conservative Christian ideas?”

“Well, actually that part is pretty easy.” said Robertson. “I’ve got a guy, Andrew Schlafly, a lawyer and a good Christian and a conservative with the best of credentials. He’s the son of Phyllis Schafly, the anti-feminist you know, who’s a particular heroine of mine. Andrew is setting up a ‘Conservative Encyclopedia’ to publish true facts to make sure they conform with conservative principles - which also makes them conform with evangelical Christianity, I shouldn’t have to tell you.  It’s a web site modeled on a popular informational web site called ‘Wikipedia’.  Only this one will be called the ‘Conservapedia’. Andrew is going to go through the Bible verse by verse to either get rid of all those pesky problem verses the liberals keep finding, or make sure they conform to conservative ideas.”

A murmur of amazement and incredulity ran through the staff at the meeting.  “Wow!” said one.

“Yeah! Robertson agreed. “Andrew will say a new translation is needed since the current Bible is full of errors and we must use conservative principles to reduce and eliminate them. Our new conservative Bible will illuminate the intellectual force and wonderful logic of Christianity. Our conservative Bible will explain the economic parables in the Bible within the context of their full free-market meaning. We hope it can even become a text for public schools.”

“And, it goes without saying most liberals will criticize our new Bible.” Robertson continued. “But, they’ll have to read it to criticize it, and that will open their minds. I am convinced we can win many converts from the liberal world. Conservative principles are the truth and they can not fail to see that when they read our Bible.”

“Wow, Pat!” gushed Roberta Combs. “The ideas you come up with never cease to amaze me. They’re absolutely unbelievable!”

* This is a playful spoof of an imagined staff meeting at Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition of America.  However, the new ‘Conservative Bible’ is all too real and most definitely not imagined. This spoof is about a real and serious effort by Andrew Schlafly and Conservapedia to do just that: To reinterpret the Bible to conform with conservative principles!

The Conservapedia web site is now a fact and the reinterpretation project is well underway.  Conservapedia has three books of the Bible’s Old Testament, and eight books of the New Testament reinterpreted to conform with conservative Christian ideology. Work has begun on many of the remaining books. INCREDIBLE!

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