Get Ready for Conservative Bible

So we may soon have ourselves a conservative Bible. Besides Fox News, I mean.

This new Bible is from Conservapedia, a website that bills itself as a
conservative alternative to the perceived liberal bias of Wikipedia,
the user-edited online reference.

You may judge Conservapedia's
own bias by reading its definition of liberal: ``someone who rejects
logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons. There
are no coherent liberal standards; often a liberal is merely someone
who craves attention, and who uses many words to say nothing.''

For the record, Wikipedia defines conservative as a word referring ``to
various political and social philosophies that support tradition and
the status quo, or that call for a return to the values and society of
an earlier age. . . .''

Now, having protected unwary Americans from -- ahem -- Wikipedia's
bias, Conservapedia founder Andrew Schlafly (son of Phyllis) tackles
perceived bias in the Good Book. He proposes to correct the Bible by
creating a new translation based upon 10 principles, including:
concision (as opposed to ``liberal wordiness''); an emphasis on ``free
market parables'' and the exclusion of ``liberal passages'' he says
were inserted into the original text. One such would be the well-known
story of the adulterous woman brought before Christ by a crowd eager to
see her punished; Jesus says the one without sin should cast the first

As Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman demonstrates in his book, Misquoting Jesus,
that passage and others were indeed inserted into the Gospels -- by
copyists whose transcriptions were once the primary means by which
Bibles and other books were disseminated. We're talking about the era
before the printing press, i.e., pre-15th century, so apparently,
``liberals'' have been at this a long time.

Of course,
conservatives are not the first folks to recast the Bible in their own
image. Oxford University Press was justly ridiculed in 1995 for a PC
Bible whose touchy-feely innovations included gender-neutral language
so as not to offend women and a ban on phrases like ``the right hand of
God'' in deference to southpaws.

But if Oxford's excesses
resulted from a misguided attempt at inclusiveness, the forces guiding
Schlafly are less benign. He is part of an ongoing crusade to
delegitimize any institution, any information source, any inconvenient fact
that contradicts conservative beliefs. Rather than trust those beliefs
to stand or fall in the free market of ideas, some conservatives now
apply a kind of intellectual protectionism. So now you have your
conservative newspaper, your conservative radio station, your
conservative university, your conservative ``facts'' and, apparently,
your conservative God, and you may build yourself a conservative life
in a conservative bubble where you need never contend with ideas that
challenge, contradict -- or refine -- your own.

here's the thing: When no authority can be regarded as unimpeachable by
both right and left, when no fact can be universally accepted as such,
when anything you prefer not to believe is automatically dismissed as a
product of ``bias,'' you impoverish intellect and render informed
debate impossible.

You may think Dwyane Wade is the best there
is, and I may prefer Kobe Bryant, but if we can't agree they both play
a game called basketball, if you say it's basketball but my
conservative dictionary tells me it's actually checkers, then we can't
even have the debate; our assumptions are too fundamentally
incompatible. We live in different realities.

As in the recent spectacle of Americans shouting past each other like Martians and Venusians arguing in Farsi.

Conservapedia's effort to remake Jesus of Nazareth in the image of Dick
Cheney suggests a future filled with more of the same. A conservative

Lord, have mercy.

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