His stage name was W. C. Fields. In the 1930’s and 40’s he parlayed his Vaudeville experience into a film career. Renowned for his salacious levity, he was once asked if he had ever read the Bible. Holding little sacred and always looking for a laugh Fields replied, “Yes, I was looking for loopholes.”
There are some who approach the Scriptures in this same way. Rather than take it for what it plainly says they search for reasons to ignore or change what it means. The recent publication of the Queen James Bible is a case in point. The anonymous editors have said, “We edited the Bible [the King James Version] to prevent homophobic interpretations. We made changes to eight verses.”
The Queen James Bible editors have raised the issues of translation, interpretation, and editing of the King James Version Bible, but in a very biased way. Their focus was those eight passages of Scripture that address the practice of homosexuality directly in the Old and New Testaments. Time and space will not permit a thorough review of each verse they have challenged, so I have chosen the first to appear in Scripture as an example of their redactions.
One of the eight passages they find offensive is found in Genesis 19:5, “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” The Queen James Version editors write regarding this verse, “We side with most Bible scholars who understand the story of Sodom and Gomorra to be about bullying strangers.” They are going to have to cite who these “Bible scholars” are, because I do not know of a single credible Bible scholar who would say the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was about bullying strangers. That misinterpretation is about as credible as the misspelling of Gomorrah.”
If one looks up the word “Sodomite” it means “an inhabitant of Sodom” or “a person who engages in sodomy.” Sodomy is defined as “copulation with a member of the same sex.” I didn’t read anything in the dictionary about “bullying strangers.” I may have inadvertently made lexicographers and dictionaries their next targets. My point is the infamy of Sodom is historically associated with its sexual practices and not its attitude toward strangers. But if one chooses to rewrite the Bible rewriting history is not a problem.
Regarding this verse the QJV editors have reworded it to read, “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them.”
The words “rape” and “humiliate” are not found anywhere in the KJV biblical text. Neither are they found in the biblical Hebrew text. Forced sex is addressed descriptively as in Deuteronomy 22:25, “But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lie with her shall die.”
I fail to see how this rewording casts a favorable light on the Sodomites, and adds no illuminate to the situation. I am quite sure the two messengers of God would not have consented to the overtures of the Sodomites, had it gotten that far, and they would have assuredly been sodomized. Sodomized is defined as “to subject to sodomy” or “commit sodomy upon.” That does not sound consensual.
Of course, the QJV editors’ implication is clear, homosexuality in itself is not wrong, but in the case of rape it is. By adding words to the passage it can be interpreted that homosexuality is only wrong in the same situational context as heterosexuality is wrong, in this case rape. Granted, the historical view of sodomy is no doubt taken from the biblical account, but that account has not been challenged until now. Believer and unbeliever alike have accepted this historical definition for millennia.
While admitting their purpose is to “prevent homophobic interpretations” they go on to say, “the Bible is still filled with inequality and even contradiction that we have not addressed.” They seem to be content to correct only one of the Bible’s many flaws while ignoring the others they say exist. If the Bible is fraught with error why bother? They are merely reserving the option to disagree with the Bible when it disagrees with their lifestyle.
The QJV editors are doing more than rewriting the Scriptures to produce a biased gay-friendly Bible. Like W. C. Fields they are looking for loopholes, loopholes that do not exist.