Friday, January 11, 2008

Bible Bandaging: Huckabee tries to repair Ephesians

During Thursday's debate in the South Carolina debate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is asked about a 1998 ad in USA Today that he signed along with around twenty other evangelical leaders. In the ad affirmed to the Southern Baptist Convention, "You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives. You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership."

When asked about this statement, Huckabee began on the defensive ("everybody says that religion is off limits but I get asked all the religion questions"), then went to the personal (anyone who thinks my wife "will sit by and let me do whatever I want to, that would be an absolute total misunderstanding of Huckabee"), then clarified the context (that ad was aimed at "believers"), and finally went on a rambling piece of biblical scholarship (around a minute and a half in):

Huckabee says that the "submit" passage comes from the book of Ephesians which says that husbands should also submit themselves. Huckabee would be of the hook--if he were right.

As a number of sources have already pointed out, Ephesians has nothing to say about husbands submitting to their wives (English Standard Version):
5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...

Baptist ministers and GOP presidential candidates... it is just too tempting not to Bible bend.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Bible bending goes to court

"Jurors with Bibles have created an ongoing controversy over the death sentence of a Waco man convicted of killing an East Texas farmer during a home burglary nearly a decade ago."

I almost fell off my chair when I read this sentence as I perused the first morning newspaper of the year 2008. Juror's with Bibles are causing a stir? in a nation where everyone from presidents to congress persons (with a notable exception) to state witnesses swear on the Bible? Could this be true?

Thankfully, it is.

The lawyers for Khristian Oliver, the only assailant of the three who received the death penalty, are arguing that the jury members improperly consulted the Bible, specifically Numbers 35:16, when determining the appropriate punishment for Oliver's crimes.

"This is headed toward a showdown on a very fundamental question on the use of the Bible," said Winston Cochran, Mr. Oliver's lawyer.

In other words, this is a case about Bible bending--deciding how we as a nation are going to address the way we use and understand the Bible. Wow. Happy New Year.