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October 05, 2009


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Sir Charles

I am glad you saw this madness. As soon as I read it, I thought that you had to post about it.

Do you remember the parable of Jesus and the venture capitalist?

It keeps reminding me of some the brilliant "Republican Jesus" posts by Jesus' General.


I do remember the parable of the workers hired at different times of the day, each getting the same wage no matter how long they worked in the field. I remember the parable of the wealthy farmer who built new barns to store his grains and was called a fool because he was going to die that very night.

BTW, I'm going to be posting quite a bit more on this. Looking through the proposed "translation" is an exercise in vocal self-control and blood pressure regulation.

Unbelievable what they're doing. Just unbelievable.

big bad wolf

and what about that prodigal son thing, we can't tolerate that. in a conservative version, he will be aptly punished. :)

i like the rev. robert wilkin's reading of the prodigal son story. a great version is captured on the blues at newport album on vanguard.


Rod Dreher can't believe it:

...More seriously, the insane hubris of this really staggers the mind....

(Hat tip, Sully.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Stephen: If this isn't a 'Poe' hope you post a lot about it -- but when 'Conservapedia' came out it was immediately overwhelmed by hoaxsters, and I'm suspicious of anything coming from there -- I had even thought it was shut down.

If it is real, I have a site you might find useful -- actually you'll probably enjoy it anyway. It's Bible Gateway and includes 20 different translations of the Bible, set up so you can call up a verse, passage, or chapter, then go from translation to translation. I think they used to have more translations up, including the Douai (Catholic) Version, but I can't find it this time. Oh, and the 20 are just the English, they have translations in about 40 0ther languages.

Another site you -- and other people interested in religion -- would enjoy is The Internet Sacred Text Archive -- but WARNING it will not be sufficient to set an alarm clock to get you out of it. You will need to order your spouse, child, or cat to physically drag you away from the site. These people not only have every available (public domain) translation of every sacred text findable, and books -- many early 20th Century -- that are studies of the various beliefs, they have a v e r y broad definition of 'sacred texts' including not only all extant Greek and Roman plays, the complete works of Shakespeare, and the fantasy novels of William Morris, but if you search very carefully you will discover a watcher-made transcript of MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. Not to mention everything from Dionysius the Areopagite to a feminist version of the Qur'an, Books on Sikhism to the founding books of the Atlantean myths, grimoires to a brilliant article on how LGBT topics are handled in various religions.

Much worth knowing -- and even supporting.


I routinely use Bible Gateway when I'm in need of a particular citation. It's easy for me to remember parts of verses with phrases particularly meaningful to me, but since I haven't regularly read the Bible since I was 22 or 23 I confess to being rusty when it comes to full verses, passages, and correct citations. Bible Gateway solves that for me.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Btw, they do have one thing right. The adulteress story -- or the 'story of the woman taken in adultery' ("Let he among you who is without sin...") is almost universally considered a later addition, as beautiful as it is.

Ironically, the mere fact that they are willing to concede this makes it more likely this is a hoax, since most Christianists will not concede any part of the Bible is a 'later addition.' It is the sort of thing a hoaxer would add to show how ugly they were, not something a real Conservative Christian would include.

Sadly, there are other hints in the article that this is a hoax. I'm not certain, but if somebody offered to give me 80-20 odds on it being a hoax, I'd take them. A very good one, but ...



I've been using Bible Gateway for years. It's a wonderful resource. I've also found the Oremus Bible Browser which has the NRSV since BG doesn't. And then there's the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, which is another great public domain collection, though narrower in scope than ISTA.

As for the story of the women caught in adultery, it's far too simplistic to merely state that it's not present in the oldest manuscripts. While true, that doesn't allow for the fact that the story was known among Christians from the 2nd century on. No less than St. Augustine suggested that the story was removed by people offended at how Jesus forgave a woman. At any rate, even if it is an addition to John by another hand, it's not like it happend in the Middle Ages or something, and it's certainly in keeping with the character of Jesus as found in John and the other Gospels even if it breaks the flow of that section.

Whoever did write it did a way better job keeping in the style and character of John than the schmucks who kept writing in Paul's name. But that's a whole other thing.

I don't think it's a hoax. It's been up there for quite some time, and the links go to active pages that show quite a bit of work.


Interesting your comments on John. I find the John gospel kind of exclusionary, although some of its passages (eg., Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane) to be the most beautiful writing in any of the four gospels. The Johanine epistles I can barely stand to think about. Even when I read them as a fundy I thought they seemed shrill.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Err, there Prup goes with the HTML -- get rid of that mess above, will you please.

Let's see if I can recreate the original -- which even copied Greek.

Actually, there's an interesting comparison of the NIV and the NewConservativeVersion at Right Wing Watch which links to the original. They do quote the original Greek, but it still seems like they are, in truth, merely rewriting the KJV.

Actually, the changes are coming so fast that I can't keep up with them. An hour ago I found the following note: "κορασιω is typically translated simply as "girl" or "damsel",[4] but we use the term "temptress" to convey the context better.[5] The Greek language may have been inadequate to convey the immoral overtones." It is now gone, a tpyo I caught has been corrected, and there is now a third rendering of "Pharissee' in Mark 3:2. (RWW has it as "Intellectuals" earlier it was "self-proclaimed Elite" and now (as of 12:14) it is just "Elite.")

But as I said above "Sadly, they haven't gotten to Matthew yet. I can't wait to see how they handle 27:52-53, my favorite quote to throw at 'inerrantists.' (Somebody woulda noticed, y'd think.)


As far as I can tell, they're mainly just rewriting the KJV, with the few people who have any knowledge of Greek weighing in here and there in an attempt to grant it legitimacy.

I mean, it's not a new translation; it's not even a paraphrase.

I'm surprised they would remove "intellectuals," since this is a completely anti-intellectual enterprise: "The committee in charge of updating the bestselling version, the NIV, is dominated by professors and higher-educated participants who can be expected to be liberal and feminist in outlook." So the answer is of course to throw the task of translating holy writ to people who took a Greek class in college.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Actually, they make one 'innovation' that I like, and wonder if you do. Using 'Divine Guide' seems to capture the essence of the Christian belief far better than "Holy Spirit" or the by now laughable 'Holy Ghost.'

Sir Charles

C'mon -- Holy Ghost was great when you were a mystified little Catholic kid --- it's so evocative (yet baffling).

I always pictured the HG as looking like Charlie Brown in the Peanuts Halloween show -- a sheet with way too many holes cut in it.


I don't like 'Divine Guide' because it elevates one characteristic into a definitive name. Most Catholics - Roman, Eastern, Anglican and others - would consider saints and angels to be a sort of divine guide. As a way to express one part of the Holy Spirit's character, though, I have no problem with it.

This shows how they really don't know what they're doing; they have no thought for context or history, taking each word or phrase on its own and dreaming up ways to make it sound clearer in their own heads. They want to change 'Holy Ghost/Spirit' to 'Divine Guide,' but leave 'God' and 'Lord' alone, even though those words, of themselves, are less descriptive of their ostensible subject than Holy Ghost/Spirit.

Another thing they do is complain about "Lord God," saying that it reflects "liberal wordiness." Never mind, I guess, that Lord God is used to refer to the Hebrew construction of "Yahweh Elohim." That's an entirely different name for God than "Lord Almighty" which refers to the Hebrew "Yahweh Sabaoth," but presumably these shining lights of conservative intellectual achievement would change them both into "Lord," destroying enormous amounts of meaning in the process.

And don't get me started on Yahweh or Jehovah. The former is about as close to God's proper name as we can get; it's not wordy or elitist. Jehovah is nowhere in the Bible and should be stricken from our vocabulary, and may be the one word on which I can agree with them.


I have been reading this thread, after reading over at the Conservapee-a-thon, and all I can say is, these people have not just jumped the shark, they've pole-vaulted a freaking tyrannosaurus.

The Bible is too liberal so let's doctor it up a bit, they go. So what next, then--put Jesus in Wall Street pinstripes instead of the robes and sandals we grew up imagining him in? Alter the narrative so the temple-invading money-changers don't get thrown out on their asses but rather, decide to leave of their own accord because someone mentions that there's a new temple on the upper east side that serves artisan loaves with the fish of the day and besides, the women are hotter and rumor has it they'll rub oil on your feet for a price? Lose the mules and mighty steeds in favor of shiny black Hummers festooned with Support Our Gladiators bumperstickers?

Jesus isn't weeping. He's doubled over with laughter, gripping His sides and trying to decide whether he should tell Dad to go ahead with the standard lightening bolts or, instead, look into those newfangled Taser things ol' Lucifer was buying stock in last month.


The Bible is too liberal so let's doctor it up a bit, they go.

When I was a dutiful fundy undergrad at Penn State 30 or so years ago I learned, and was immediately horrified, appalled, and infuriated by the Bible President Thomas Jefferson created in his spare time.

I have never read it (now I'd be intrigued); at the time I only heard of it, but I know such a thing exists.

Man of the Enlightenment, Rationalist, and Deist that he was, he went through the New Testament cutting out all the parts he was convinced were myth so that he could read the parts he himself approved of without having to bother with the myths and nonsense (as he saw it).

He really did do that.

I wonder if any of these good conservative folks have noticed the similarity between what they're doing and what our most openly heretical president did?


So what next, then--put Jesus in Wall Street pinstripes instead of the robes and sandals we grew up imagining him in?

Reading this I suddenly realize this whole topic is a total gift to Jesus' General. I wonder what he's going to do with this?

Winston Smith


It is requested that the reader engage in the popular childhood game of Let’s Pretend. Let’s pretend that Jesus Christ’s first ministry did not occur 2,000 years ago but rather in recent times and centered in the United States of America.
Let us pretend…..

Anticipation smothered Assembly Hall like a rapacious fog oozing from a Poe novel. Over 20,000 members of the We’re Messiah’s Disciples organization had packed the auditorium to hear the words of a Man who had captured the hook, line and sinker of their imagination. Overwhelmingly, members of the American Political Right had been the first to embrace the message of this Man called Jesus Christ and today’s event would be a celebration of their righteousness, an attitude trumpeted in the smash bestseller The Moral Superiority of the Right.

The hall was festooned with banners and bunting. Intermingled with the red, white and blue were giant medallions representing Wal-Mart, Enron, ExxonMobil and other corporate sponsors. Banners proclaiming “Liberalism is the Root of All Evil” , “Jesus and the GOP”, “On the 7th Day God Didn’t Rest…He made the Republicans” , and “Chelsea Clinton is the Antichrist” contributed to the festive atmosphere. The event would be televised on pay-per-view and reports indicated that sales had been brisk.

Surveying the audience as it shuffled through an entranceway that appeared not unlike a giant eye of a needle , Jesus acknowledged many seated closest to the stage. Among those in the front row were George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole. Near them were Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, secured in their obligatory seats in the far right aisle. Dick and Lynn Cheney were exchanging pleasantries with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, while Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, and Shawn Hannity were plotting who knows what. Jesus knew that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell just had to be there and sitting next to them was James Dobson.

“Holy Moses, thought Jesus, all the luminaries are here.” While the apostle, Simon Peter, regaled the audience with the latest news on Jesus’ miracles and the obligatory “the water fountains are filled with wine and slices of bread with poached salmon are available in the lobby” jokes, Jesus turned thoughtful.

“Psst, James, John, come here.”
“What is it, Sir?”, John asked.
“Want to see something funny?”, responded Jesus. “Watch me turn this audience into a horde of stampeding elephants fleeing for the exits.”
“But why, Jesus? These are among your most devoted disciples and……..”

Before James could finish, a tumult of cheers and applause interrupted as Peter introduced Jesus.
“Sounds like a State of the Union address, doesn’t it” shouted Peter. Jesus nodded and strode to the podium.

Outside the Hall an unrelenting rain had calmed to a drizzle. A withered, middle-aged man leaned on his cane. Eyes etched in pain, he confided to those who weren’t listening: “Just my leg. The pain, I can’t take it. Tet Offensive, you know. I don’t know how they saved it, but sometimes I almost wish they hadn’t. I’d like to be in there, but it’s invite only.”
“I’ve heard about His miracles. Some say He’s a charlatan, but I don’t think so. Anyways, it’s not what He does that gets me but what He says. A man’s actions can fool, just look at those magicians, but words….? Even if the tongue speaks deceit it’s hard for the face to wrap it in fancy paper and a bow. Well, that’s what I think, anyway.”

“Yeah, sure,” spoke an impatient reporter from the Fox News Channel. “Hey Shep, Shep, I just got an exclusive with William Bennett. How about you?”
“No good,” said the other reporter. “Ran into ‘em last night at the casino. Nothin’ doin’.”

Suddenly the doors to the Hall flung open and a barrage of people roiled through them like the polluted waters of a dam break pillaging an innocent hillside.

“It’s all your fault”, George W. berated Laura. “Today’s the anniversary of my taxpayer-funded stadium but, noooo, I had to fly up here for this!”

Closely behind them were a dazed Ronald Reagan and Nancy. “Well, …” … “Oh shush, Ronnie,” interrupted Nancy. “Our astrologers advised us not to attend, but you insisted against their better wishes.”

Bob Dole brushed aside reporters. “I got a Viagra commercial to do. ” His wife averred and indicated that she was due to give a fundraising speech at the Family Values Leadership Council’s annual 250,000 dollar a plate God, Families and Apple Pie extravaganza.

Newt Gingrich was brusque: “Get lost. I have a book signing to attend and then I have a meeting with my divorce attorney.”

Stern-faced, Tom Delay kept a brisk pace insisting that he was innocent of any charges, past, present or future. “I’ll resign anyway, that’s how honorable I am.”

Dick and Lynn Cheney were not arm-in-arm. “….And you wanted me to hire this guy to be a pitchman for Halliburton….”

Bill O’Reilly, the self-anointed culture warrior, advertised that he would “expose the truth about this guy on tonight’s Factor” and then refused response to questions concerning pending illicit phone sex charges.

Prancing down the steps was Ann Coulter, malevolent eyes flaring at Rush Limbaugh. “I knew it. I knew it. I knew he was a liberal. Wait’ll I write a book about this guy.”

“Yeah”, said Limbaugh smugly. “I can’t believe it! And I actually said this wacko was the Messiah. What the hell am I going to tell my dittoheads now? ... Hey Bob, Bob Dole, got any extra Viagra you don’t need?”

Frantically chasing a dumbfounded James Dobson , Shawn Hannity stopped to offer: “Tell ‘em this guy’s the product of the biased liberal news media, Ted Kennedy, and a bunch of Big Labor bosses, and then speculate that Hillary has a part in it. Works every time.”

Not to be outdone, a red-faced Michael Savage bellowed “if this Messiah guy isn’t mentally unbalanced, no one is!”

A horrified Jerry Falwell was on the phone with an assistant. “…..yah, and tell this Christ fellow we’ve changed our minds and get me another commencement speaker.”

A twelve-year-old boy sporting a Neo-Cons for Christ button approached conservative commentator Joe Scarborough.
“Is it true, Mr. Scarborough, is it true? Somebody said that Man inside is going to raise FDR and JFK and LBJ and RFK from the dead. Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.”

Inside the tomb-like auditorium the apostles stood nonplussed. Caught between confusion and anger Peter confronted Jesus. “I don’t get it. These people believed in you. They followed you. They believed that you are the Son of God. Heaven help us, but they were your disciples.”
Hiding the sadness in His eyes, Jesus turned away. “They are not my disciples, Peter. They never were.”

As the pandemonium outside the Hall dissipated, the Vietnam vet noticed a crisply attired V.I.P. hurrying by and asked apologetically: “Excuse me, but … what happened in there?” Looking askance, the corporate executive glanced at his diamond-studded wristwatch, a corporate perk which had been assembled by outsourced labor in a third world cesspool for purposes of profit maximization so as to exceed Wall Street expectations, all of which would render the executive an eight-figure year-end bonus, and realized that he was late for a downsizing meeting. “Hey, gimp, why don’t you go get a job,” he muttered regaining his step.
Splashed by the puddles of rainwater the vet shuddered as limousines with their smoked windows sped down the deserted boulevard.

In a dark corner of the auditorium the beady eyes of Judas Iscariot glared at the stage. “Izzy”, as the media had dubbed him, had become the darling of the radio and cable TV circuit and his insides were being devoured by a ferocity he had not known. “How could He … how could He have done this. We could have milked this crowd for all it was worth but He had to say it. Fool! Messiah! He just had to say: ‘Render therefore unto Bill and Hillary Clinton the things which be Bill and Hillary Clinton’s and unto God the things which be God’s.’* Didn’t He realize who the hell He was talking to?”

Onstage, Jesus glanced at the dark recesses and smiled.
“Well, men, it’s time to go. There’s someone outside I want to see and I do believe I have a miracle in Me!”

Then the sun melted the angry clouds and a gentle breeze announced the glory of God’s good day.

* Quote based upon the belief of most in attendance that a co-presidency existed.


The trouble with adopting the teachings of Jesus Christ into American politics is that, truly, they are neither "liberal" nor "conservative". They are (in various ways) both, and therefore neither.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Corrected HTML (Grrrr -- but at least I can plead antibiotic fog)
An update, courtesy of Alex Koppleman at Salon.

Apparently they are having all types of trouble agreeing on a replacement for "Pharisee" -- not surprising, given how unhistorical and absurd the Biblical portrait is. But they think -- as of Koppleman's writing -- they've found one. To them:

"Pharisee" should be re-translated as ...

Of course they still have those 'difficult' passages about rich men, but at least they are trying to get around them. Thus "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." becomes "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a man who cares only for money to enter into the kingdom of God."

I hope we continue to keep an eye on this. I am very curious to know the reaction of the 'fundie community' -- not so much the 'big names' but among ordinary congregations. And I am particularly eager to see what Mike Huckabee says if he's asked about it. (Last year I think he would have simply condemned it, but he's been hanging around with the Schlafflys a lot this year.)


If you look at the 'History" tab you can see who are the major contributors to this page and there you will find "Aschlafly' featured prominently. Aschlafly is the boss of Conservapedia. This is not a parody that some liberal has snuck onto the site to see how far you can go before they catch on.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

I had originally felt it might be -- and I still expect that some of the contributors are doing some major leg-pulling here, people whose original mockery went unnoticed. But it seems to be mostly for real, sad as that is to contemplate.


Welp, there go the gospels. There's not much in the red letter text that can be twisted or otherwise polluted into neoconspeak so I guess they'll just cut most of it and claim those texts were inserted by liberals as part of their conspiracy to taint and corrupt the Holy Conservative Word of Capitalism.


Ah! Don't forget Jesus' taking of a scourge to the money changers in the Temple!!!!

That's the single-most important passage in all of the Gospels! It's the one passage that demonstrates that it's okay to be a reactionary violent conservative!

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