I couldn’t help overhearing the quarrel in the locker room on Monday. Quarrels are a real rare item there, most of us genuinely like each other or just silently come and go. Apparently a teevee show or news story had mentioned that ministers, preachers and politicians habitually twist and misquote Bible verses. Often, they’ll just make up something that seems “biblical” to make some sort of political point from authority.
I’ve been amused and miffed at the same time because some people use holy scripture, not just the Koran and the christian Bible, to hammer their opinions into other people. The same type of authoritarian tactics are used to try and railroad discriminatory legislation through our state and national legislative chambers. This sort of stuff happens every year, more and more so the past few years.
It’s not just political, either. Political activity is just the tip of the iceberg where public opinions are concerned. Politicians stay in office by pandering to public viewpoints. People like to justify their strongest opinions by quoting scripture. It might be the Koran by muslims or the Bible by christians. Whichever book they quote, much of it is done with the intent to bamboozle the listener. Unless the listener has a copy of the holy book in his hands as a reference, he must take, on faith, that the quotation is accurate and is germane to the discussion.
Since most of my readership is more familiar with Christianity than Islam, I’ll use these gems that are touted as biblical quotes. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” This is often quoted, but is nowhere to be found in your holy book. How about this one? “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” This is not to be found in the Bible nor the Koran. It was in a sermon given by John Wesley, the man who founded the Methodist Church. Here’s a real whopper. “God helps those who help themselves.” You won’t find that in the Bible nor the Koran either. If you look in Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanak”, you’ll see it.
Even if the quotation is authentic, it’s often used out of context or to validate a harmful opinion. These opinions would be laughable in the west especially when spread by guys like Ted Haggard. But when inauthentic and incomplete scripture/propaganda is planted in third world countries, horrible repercussions result.
A case in point. In Nigeria, lawmakers are debating legislation that would imprison gay people, even if they’re only roommates. Further, the law would somehow allow for the imprisonment of anyone who didn’t disclose any knowledge that gays were living together. This law was seeded and endorsed by spiteful clergy using tainted “scripture” to make their case. These are not only inhumane laws, they foster a climate of hate and death. Gays and suspected gays in nations like Iraq and Uganda are being murdered as an indirect result of this sort of “scriptural evidence”.
So, yes, this is serious. Gays are not the only victims of this deceitful hate mongering. Women and other minorities are being threatened daily. Where are the good moderate Christians and Muslims when they should be speaking out against bigotry and hate?
This sort of thing is what bearing false witness leads to. It’s what happens when people use the name of god in vain. People who claim to speak for their god are using the name of their god in vain. That is why it is so wrong to do so. I will be blogging more on this subject.
People are getting slaughtered.
The Blue Jay of Happiness wants the hate and bigotry to vanish now.