after the sleeping comes the waking up.

Posts Tagged ‘church and state’

Texas execution and the Bible

Posted by c. wagner on November 10, 2009

Texas (“Famous for Executions”) killed another man November 5. I’m not bringing this up because there was evidence the guy was innocent (haven’t heard of any) or because I have a serious problem with the death penalty (I do), but because of how jurors arrived at his sentence. The jury consulted the Bible to choose the sentence for the convicted murderer.

And what passage out of all of the Bible did the jurors close in on? Not the bit about “turning the other cheek”. Not the bit about “forgiving seven times 70 times”. Not the bit about casting the first stone. Nooooo. They picked Numbers chapter 35, verse 16:

And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

That’s right. They chose the death penalty, not necessarily because of the nastiness of the crime (a shooting during a burglary), but because a line of the Bible said it was the fitting penalty for killing someone with “an instrument of iron”, like a gun.

One of the jurors was interviewed later by a Danish reporter.

He told the journalist he believed “the Bible is truth from page 1 to the last page”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. He said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom”.

I’m officially terrified. Where is my separation of church and state? Why didn’t this get thrown out on appeal? Is there a loophole here that I don’t know about?

I’m also glad that I don’t live in Texas. Of course, I was already glad about that.

Read the article from Amnesty International.

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Is there no bottom to this pit?

Posted by c. wagner on October 23, 2009

Just when I thought I couldn’t be more disgusted with right-wing Bible-thumpers, I find this on‘s Twitter stream. The people behind the Conservapedia (who think Wikipedia has too much of a liberal bias, which makes it interesting that they use Wikipedia’s software to run their site) have started working on a new translation of the Bible. From their website:

Thus, a project has begun among members of Conservapedia to translate the Bible in accordance with these principles….

Benefits include:

  • mastery of the Bible, which is priceless
  • mastery of the English language, which is valuable
  • thorough understanding of the differences in Bible translations, particularly the historically important King James Version
  • benefiting from activity that no public school would ever allow; a Conservative Bible could become a text for public school courses
  • liberals will oppose this effort, but they will have to read the Bible to criticize this, and that will open their minds

The blood boils. Any version of the Bible in public schools? Hell. No.

And speaking of hell, one of the guidelines for this translation is

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.

Great. Just great. Let’s open people’s minds with stories of eternal torture! That’ll do the trick!

I wish I could say I was making this up. But I’m not. Those quotes come directly from the project’s website (which I can’t bring myself to link to).

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Prosperity for whom?

Posted by c. wagner on October 20, 2009 brought this one to my attention.

As Easter approached, the ad ran repeatedly on the Inspiration Network: David Cerullo, clutching a Bible, told viewers they, too, could receive prosperity, physical healing and other blessings God gave the ancient Israelites.

All they had to do, the televangelist said, was send $200 or more.

This is called “prosperity theology“. It boils down to “give a preacher money and Jesus Christ will give you even more money than you gave originally”. I didn’t realize Jesus could act as an investment banker or money manager. Doesn’t this “theology” run counter to the Bible? What was that about rich men and camels and the eyes of needles?

It gets worse, though.

Much of the money sent by people … is now funding the City of Light, a 93-acre campus in northern Lancaster County, S.C., where the network’s plans include a sophisticated training and broadcast center.

Taxpayers also are helping to pay for it. Eager to bring jobs to a county with 19 percent unemployment, South Carolina offered the network incentives worth up to $26 million to land the campus – a deal that has been questioned by economic development experts.

Whoa, horsey! Tax dollars are paying for a religious institution? Isn’t there something in the Constitution about this?

Does this mean that the Pastafarians or followers of the Invisible Pink Unicorn can get cash to build research centers and television networks? That would only be fair.

Read the story at the Charlotte Observer.

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