Maybe We Should Stop Letting Crazy People Interpret the Bible and the Constitution

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Republicans on the far right love to talk about how they’re supporters of the Constitution over and over again as they wrap themselves in the flag, point to the Bible and proclaim their opponents as freedom-hating godless socialists, commies, etc.

When you break it down, much like a lot of conservative Christians, they’re just cherry picking the parts out of it that they can twist to justify their ideology. They like to say that the Constitution is like the Bible, infallible and something to make laws by.

However, like the Bible, the Constitution has had revisions (amendments) made it over time. The Bible they like to refer to is the King James Version, which was translated in the 1600’s — ┬ájust short of 16 centuries after the life of Christ, for those keeping score at home. It was written not by a divinely inspired person who knew Christ in their lifetime, but by scribes on the behalf of the King of England, and it was yet another revision of the original translation into English after being run through the filters of Greek and Latin. On top of that, it leaves out a number of books and chapters that are in the Catholic Bible, including the Book of Maccabees.

Much like the Constitution, they interpret the Bible to justify their positions, while conveniently ignoring and/or trying to revise out the things they don’t like.

I know some of us, including myself, view the Bible as historical fiction based in some facts, but mostly a whole lot of myths, legends and so on. I’m using it to make the argument, not endorsing it. Personally, I come from a heritage that is mixed with Catholics, atheists, Calvinists, and Jews on both sides. The overall experience has allowed me to view the spectrum, even though I don’t wholly subscribe to any of it.

The first part of the Bible was written prior to the birth of Christ. The second half of it was written after his death, partially by Paul, who never met Christ in his life.

The Constitution was written at a time when women couldn’t vote, there wasn’t a professional army, black people were considered to be 3/5’s of a person when the census was taken and the interstate system was almost 2 centuries away.

The point is that if you cling to the text of the Bible, or the Constitution, you miss out on a lot of progress and common sense. Neither are, or were, perfect documents then or now. At the time of their original writing they were reflections of the needs of their times. If you ask most Christians about the revisions, they’ll either shrug them off or say that they were needed because Christ came to change the law.

With the Bible and with the Constitution, amendments were made over time to adjust to the reality of the era, or the whims of those who controlled the political and religious dialogue at that point in history. In this day and age, it’s even more important to let rational people interpret, represent and apply these two documents to our daily lives. There’s a lot of good in them if applied properly, and a whole lot of evil and exploitation if they are not.


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