“Protestants’ leader is God, not man.” Or so says the headline in USA TODAY’s Letters department. Responding to recent criticism by Catholic leaders that Protestants need a pope of their own a woman from Cleveland, Ohio wrote in to USA TODAY to protest. Of course protesting is what Protest-ants do, so that in and of itself isn’t surprising. What I found delightful was the woman's love of the Bible; a love matched only by her ignorance of what the Bible actually says. So in the interest of Bible scholarship I will reprint much of the letter here (in italics) followed by Biblical passages (boldface) to illustrate what the Bible really says.
If more people would read their Bibles, they would know the Golden Rule and that would be their mantra. Instead, the world is full of hatred, bigotry, homophobia, and racism.
Really? No hatred, bigotry, homophobia, and racism in the Bible? Let's see:
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. (Psalm 139:21-22)
You (Jews) are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all men. (1 Thess. 2:14-15)
The women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Cor. 14:34-35)
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:22-24)
I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. (1 Tim. 2:12-15)
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. (Lev. 20:13)
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
I do not need someone to dictate what I should eat and when or how I should conduct my personal life.
You shall not round off the hair on you temples or mar the edges of your beard. (Lev. 19:27)
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:28)
They shall not make tonsures upon their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. (Lev. 21:5)
A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deut. 22:5)
Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor. 11:13-15)
Also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion. (1 Tim. 2:9-10)
I can go on and on with the atrocious lies told that have led to tragedy and even slavery. These were perpetrated by man, not the Bible.
As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a possession forever; you may make slaves of them, but over your brethren the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness. (Lev. 25:44-46)
I, too, could go on and on, and I agree that these are human documents not divine revelation, but I’m afraid that just being able to read the Bible for yourself doesn’t preclude you from doing evil in the Name of God.
The only defense we have against madness, both divine and human, is a commitment to reason, compassion, and a willingness to question even the most sacred “truths.”