The Politicization of Everything
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver October 5, 2009 - 10:29am
Over at Conservapedia, some contributors are concerned about the possibility that certain passages in the Bible might be misinterpreted as progressive in their implications. So they are suggesting the creation of a new translation that is politically correct free from "liberal distortions." Here are a few choice examples of liberal bias in prior translations that the projects founders have identified:
First Example - Liberal Falsehood
The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34:
- Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.
Second Example - Dishonestly Shrewd
At Luke 16:8, the NIV describes an enigmatic parable in which the "master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly." But is "shrewdly", which has connotations of dishonesty, the best term here? Being dishonestly shrewd is not an admirable trait.The better conservative term, which became available only in 1851, is "resourceful". The manager was praised for being "resourceful", which is very different from dishonesty. Yet not even the ESV, which was published in 2001, contains a single use of the term "resourceful" in its entire translation of the Bible.
Third Example - Socialism
Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians.For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times.
Following Mollie's sound advice, I suppose I should assume that Conservapedia has been hacked and that this is all a hoax. I did stumble on this via Dreher, who was recently punkd by the "praying to Obama" video, so please take this with the appropriate grains of salt. It has the virtue of being funny, whether understood as satire or simply authentic insanity. It's a sad commentary on the state of our political discourse that it's so hard to tell the two apart these days.UPDATE: To be clear, I do not believe this to be a hoax. I was just riffing off of Mollie's expose of the "praying to Obama" video. As comments below indicate, the Conservative Bible is far too elaborate to be a hoax. For example, links within the page lead to translations already underway, complete with reasons for suggested changes. That said, the project as a whole and the specific instances of bias identified are so inane that it's hard to believe someone would actually take the positions asserted. I wish it were a hoax.
About the Author
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.