Misusing the Bible

Last night Sophie Cook of Latest TV came round to chat a while. The conversation was on the 6pm news Friday on The Latest, Brighton’s TV station, (which can be found on channel 7 if you have freeview or online at thelatest.co.uk from 18 Sept). I do hope it’s Ok, you know I have a propensity to get carried away and ramble!

Sophie began the evening by showing me a video that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ have produced. (you can see it HERE).  It’s one of a number of cartoons that they’ve produced to teach their children. This one teaches that LGBT relationships are condemned by God. It really creeped me out. Even though it’s been 35 years since I left the JW’s the legacy of harm continues. My father’s suicide five years ago is just another example, and I shudder to think how many LGBT youth  live in fear or have also taken their own lives because of such dangerous nonsense.

The reality is that you can use the bible to say just abut anything. Just a couple of weeks ago I used a few scriptures to prove that Zombies were real, and I have used scripture to prove that eating chocolate is a sin. Of course both of these constructs are absolute nonsense, they’re just examples of how the bible can be misused. I’ve come to believe that how someone uses the bible tells you much about them than it does about God. After all, Adolf Hitler misused the bible very effectively. Have a look at this quote from one of his speeches.

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.  It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth!  was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.  How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.  To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. ( The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

I hear this style of rhetoric coming from the Trump machine in the USA as he seeks the presidency. I hear it in the voices of the religious right and muslim extremists. It hasn’t gone away, it’s the same very dangerous voice that uses fear and bigotry to speak to the darkest side of the human psyche.

So, what do we do? We speak out against it. We shine a light on it and reveal it for what it is. I hope that’s what I did as I sat with Sophie last night, although I so often get sidetracked I really don’t remember what I said at all! Hopefully it was positive and upbuilding, and when I did quote the bible I used it to light dark places, support the marginalised, and reveal the unconditional love of God. For that’s what I see in the Bible, and I know that you do too.

Be blessed.
Rev. Michael

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