Conservatives scrambling to explain why the Bible is negotiable for refugees, not for same-sex marriage and abortion

For decades now, we have been told by the conservative end of our political spectrum that the King James Bible is the answer to all of our major questions for how best to live together. We have been told, in so many words, that on the sixth day God made Adam; gave him Eve, a handgun and a sandwich from Chick-fil-a; and told him that public sector unions were the work of Satan.

Not only is this story true, we are told, but our Founders believed it, so we should govern accordingly. We are told to forget the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and the “wall of separation” between Church and State mentioned in the Letter to the Danbury Baptists because Jefferson, Madison and the rest of the people who founded this country did so using “Judeo-Christian” principles — a term I’m fairly confident no Jew had a hand in coining — that we should continue to abide by.

The longer this game goes on, the more we find that the Bible should only be used as public policy in certain instances. That is to say, when our “Judeo-Christian” principles clash with secular right-wing principles — namely sexual purity, patriarchy and nationalism — self-described Christians lose their religion quick.

This week has represented a madder-than-usual dash away from Jesus. With few exceptions, the same people who have been telling us for years that evolution is bad, same-sex marriage is worse and abortion is the actual worst because Jesus said so are now being forced to explain why, when it comes to accepting refugees fleeing violence and repression, the Bible is just a parable.

Take a look at these passages from the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who has carved out a niche in the blogosphere as an authority on the evil, immoral, un-Christian impulses of Planned Parenthood:

Jesus, presumably telling someone to chill out and think for themselves, via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus, presumably telling someone to chill out and think for themselves, via Wikimedia Commons

The media aren’t known for their friendliness to Christian beliefs, so it was surprising to see some reporters attempt biblical exegesis of their preferred domestic policies. As Hans Fiene has explained in “The Christmas Story Is About Christ, Not Obama’s Syrian Refugee Policy,” the Christmas story is about Jesus Christ, not Obama’s Syrian refugee policy. Reasons he cites include that Mary and Joseph were not foreigners in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were not refugees, Mary and Joseph were most likely not denied room at a hotel, and, most importantly, the Christmas story is not a morality tale about hospitality.

Christians are to help others in need, but that doesn’t mean all Christian policies should be U.S. policies. And I’m kind of surprised at how many people are suggesting otherwise — or at least suggesting that U.S. policy should be Christian moral law. It’s certainly a different tune than what you hear when it comes to certain other hot button political topics (including those with far more biblical clarity).

The thing is: she’s right. All Christian policies shouldn’t be U.S. policies. We shouldn’t need the Bible to tell us whether to accept Syrian refugees. Of course, that isn’t the point liberals are making when they invoke scripture to point out that, if faced with the question, Jesus would absolutely accept as many Syrian refugees as he possibly could.

The point is that the Bible isn’t a guide for public policy at all. We can play (and have played) the “actually, the Bible agrees with me” game on abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control, too. It doesn’t mean that I’m in favor of abortion access, same-sex marriage and gun control because the Bible says so. It means that I’m in favor of those things because I think they’re good ideas for secular reasons, and I think it’s silly to have them dismissed because you can point to a passage in a book that says otherwise. That’s the “Lucille says you’re wrong” argument, and those who rely on it deserve to have it thrown back at them so they can see how ridiculous it is.

Accepting Syrian refugees is the right thing to do because helping people in need is the right thing to do. Especially if they’re trying to escape a violent, hellish situation that we played a big role in creating. What’s more, on top of being cruel and indifferent, rejecting refugees makes no sense given the baselessness of the threat we are told they pose. As President Obama said yesterday, we face a bigger threat from tourists than we do from refugees, who already go through an insanely rigorous screening process.

Also, this:


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Jonathan Osborn

    I see a whole lot of assertions in Epiphany’s post. Please reply with some evidence or documentation substantiating your incendiary claims about the relationship between Syrian refugees and ISIS

  • paulginandes

    So, I guess you think that certain conditions make it okay to own other human beings as property, apparently. And the bible, in Exodus, clearly outlines who you can BUY, how much you must pay for them, and how much you can beat them. No indentured servitude. NOPE.

  • DoverBill

    Holy shit… you are using your religion just like the bad guys are!

    Poor, poor Christians?

  • LanceThruster
  • dcinsider

    Well, have him call me and we will discuss it.

  • Vicki Gonzales

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  • Badgerite

    No, public policy should not be based on the Bible. It should also not be based on unreasoning, blind, piss in your pants, hysteria and fear. The process for accepting Syrian refugees takes something like 2 years. They are indeed vetted. They are not flooding across the border. And the only wall to build that would make the world a better place is one around The Donald’s mouth.

  • DoverBill

    Point to Him!

  • DoverBill

    As zombies?

  • DoverBill

    How the fuck can anyone lie with a male as with a woman?

    Please be specific.

  • Alex Grey

    I like to remind those types of this particular passage, Matthew 25:41-46

    25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
    25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
    25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
    25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.</blockquote

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  • McJakome

    But of course the prohibitions against divorce, eating pork, eating shellfish, working on the Sabbath, etc. do not apply now, even though they are from the same source. That is the kind of self-serving hypocrisy that has torn Christianity apart and is bringing down the fragments.

  • The_Fixer

    Huh!

    And all this time, I thought the Bird was The Word.

    At least that’s what The Trashmen always told me.

  • Cuttlefish

    Tomorrow, millions of Americans will attend the church of their choice to be indoctrinated into the religion of privilege. Monday, the rest of us will discover what they were told to believe. Mondays are always a surprise to me. I can’t ever predict the depths of their depravity.

  • Ol’ Hippy

    I see no reason to give “respect” to religion that I find antiquated and downright offensive. We are to accept refugees because it’s the right thing to do, not because a bunch of old stories might suggest it. Respect is earned by good actions. These Christians running for office, if they’re any indicator for “Christian” values, have their say, we’re all heading for disaster. I’ll take secular values any day.

  • therling

    “Muslims of conscience (who refuse to join in the carnage) beheaded as well, and homosexuals thrown off top of buildings.”

    And yet you won’t offer those folks refuge?

  • Doug105

    There has been no attempt to bring any of the identified Syrian Christians – who are in mortal danger and are among the few who really can be vetted – to America. The “compassionate” attitude is if all can’t come, they can’t come either.
    https://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/2829/7572/original.jpg

  • Doug105
  • Doug105
  • Doug105
  • Cuttlefish

    I am so ashamed.

  • Cuttlefish

    Black African slavery was horrific.

  • Cuttlefish

    Good is bad and bad is good.

  • Cuttlefish

    It is scary how out of touch these people are.

  • jjgrandisland

    Very well said.

  • jjgrandisland

    Do you even know a person of Syrian decent? Do you know what it is like to have to flee a worn torn country that has been ripped apart by terrorists and a dictator? No you probably have not. You are probably writing this response in the comfort of your home, drink in hand, preparing to go to your house of worship and rail against other faiths and other ethnic groups. If you really want to be a good Christian you should be helping these people who are not as “fortunate” as you. That is what Jesus would have done.

  • usorthem3

    Your god commands non believers be put to death and I read daily of good christians advocating that they have the right to kill me because their god hates gay people so tell me again of the “loving: religion that has MURDERED millions of aboriginal people’s throughout history? 2 chronicles 15 13 Just like ISIS.

  • usorthem3

    2nd chronicles 15 13 All people, young and old, male and female who REFUSE to dedicate their life to the lord god of israel were to be put to death.

    Says a lot about any religion that ever needed to MURDER those who don’t worship THEIR god. Sounds like ISIS and christianity have the same goal, comply or die. Tell me again of how your religion is loving and kind when history shows that to be a lie? http://aattp.org/the-right-wing-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-christian-atrocities-so-lets-talk-about-christian-atrocities/

  • nofauxnews

    Time to pull you head out of Rush’s lower colon and come up for air. Your anoxia has you totally out of touch with reality.

  • Epiphany

    Your article and it’s sarcasm are offensive to Christians. But Christians, Christianity, the Bible – are all “fair game”. You are not respectful, even though respect for all is the “right thing to do”.
    Syrian refugees isn’t about different translations of the Bible. It’s about different translations of the facts.
    European countries report the “refugees”, in majority, are not families. They aren’t even Syrian. The news of confiscated fake Syrian passports in the tens of thousands hasn’t escaped you, has it? Or that ISIS specifically said what they intended to do with this wave of migration? (and THEY have been doing what they say they will). Or that our own government agencies have said they cannot intensively vet some one who hasn’t been on their radar already?
    A poll taken among Syrian refugees (those claiming to be) shows one third are sympathetic to ISIS.
    That just might be a problem.
    There has been no attempt to bring any of the identified Syrian Christians – who are in mortal danger and are among the few who really can be vetted – to America. The “compassionate” attitude is if all can’t come, they can’t come either.
    It’s obvious. Americans don’t want ISIS – or anyone else who wants to blow up things and kill anyone who isn’t THEM.
    In the Middle East, Christians of all ages have been beheaded, crucified, children cut in two in front of their parents, young girls sold into sex slavery, Muslims of conscience (who refuse to join in the carnage) beheaded as well, and homosexuals thrown off top of buildings. And you want to talk about the King James Bible?

  • disqus

    While the monotheist and atheist are fight each other the pagans are sitting around saying, “see I told you so, they’re savages.” and i’m eating ice-cream….

  • Indigo

    Biblie-olatry is one of those backwoods phenomena I don’t really understand. The most intriguing bumper sticker I ever saw illustrates that perfectly, “If it ain’t King James, It ain’t Bible!” It isn’t just that Bible-olatry is about bashing non-believers, it’s used to bash other Christians. That doesn’t quite add up to rational behavior but then again, neither does the Bible.

  • Frankie Blankenship

    No, it’s with you. I’m pretty sure.

  • Lord Christian Love

    Of coarse it all happened… Let’s look at some real proof:

    Cornelius Tacitus, Senator and Historian of the Roman Empire speaks of Jesus.

    Gaius Caecilius Cilo was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Rome. He has many letters describing the early church and first followers.

    Lucian of Samosate was a Greek Author who despised Christ and His followers – writing about them mockingly, yet substantiating their existence.

    Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus was another Roman Historian who spoke about the Jews and their constant instigation by Christ.

    Finally you have Flavious Josephus – which I discount because I believe the work was fraudulent. He is a noted historian and does make mention of Christ – however, after closer review the sentence structure and rhythm is not consistent with his writing style. Even so, there are a number of other sources that offer good evidence.

    Now let’s address the issue of having writings 100 years after his death… consider Plato and Homer – in each instance THEIR earliest works were discovered 500 years after they lived – yet we do not doubt their existence – with Plato we only have 2 existing documents as evidence – Homer’s evidence was much stronger with 643 copies of the Iliad – even so, that pales in comparison to the 5,000 plus manuscripts of the new testament.

    I will include the links below as you should do your own research so you know for yourself.

    The fact is, Jesus did exist and walked the earth… If you think otherwise perhaps you have been Zeitgeist-ed… they have a number of blatant lies in that movie. Yes – this tale has been a repeating story throughout all of time – because it is the story of you my Fallen Star.

    I hope this offers some points of consideration for you. All the best!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus#Tacitus_on_Christ
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucian
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suetonius#The_Great_Fire_and_the_Christiani
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliny_the_Younger#Epistle_concerning_the_Christian_Religion
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus
    http://beginningandend.com/jesus-exist-historical-evidence-jesus-christ/

  • Lynn Oster

    Did you just learn how to read?

  • Lynn Oster

    Wow 2000 yrs ago and your still alive!

  • nofauxnews

    There is no bashing of god there, it is the bashing of hypocrisy in his name.

  • Broadsword

    Of course He does. Your disagreement isn’t with me, its with God, your creator.

  • dcinsider

    You do know that everything you cite never really happened, right?

  • dcinsider

    God does not exist, but thanks for posting!

  • Broadsword

    Sickening offensive and hurtful article and so are so many of the self righteous hatters attacking the religion/faith of other people. Oh all so politically correct to bash God.

    John 1King James Version (KJV)

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Where sin abounds so does grace
    God Bless you all and good night

  • Moderator3

    I was going to discuss this with you. Then I looked at your comment history and decided saying goodbye made more sense.

  • Doug105
  • forgiven

    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no “mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. — Exodus 21:22-23

    This implies accidental death of the fetus and “he shall pay as the judges determine” clearly implies a crime and the judge will rule based on how the husband demands (“according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him”). In the case on intentional, then life-for-a-life rule.

    Obviously killing the fetus is a crime and depending on intention, punishable by death.

    “And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. — Leviticus 27:6” is quoted out of context. The verses are about dedicating a person.

    “And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? … Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. — Numbers 31:15-17” was about not polluting the congregation and purification and your analysis is not relevant to value of unborn. In fact the fetus was specifically of great negative value targeted (as being impure) as the woman who had not had sex were to be spared (“but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man”).

    “Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. — 2 Samuel 12:14

    Clearly in all the passages you cited, God values the fetus immensely and often uses it as the means of punishment. God’s divine judgement does not give license for human sin.

    The Law has not been abrogated but that Jesus fulfilled it on our behalf and by faith and His grace we are saved from death.” implies that as punishment you will lose that which is VERY valuable to you i.e. the fetus

  • forgiven

    I am sincerely interested to know how you interpret “And do not lie with a male as with a woman”.

    Regarding your other point, what word is used in place of homosexual? Is it ‘sodomite’?

  • forgiven

    slavery is obviously reprehensible witnessed by the facts that the Israelites/Jews were subjected to it as a form of divine judgement

    nevertheless there was also such a concept as ‘bondservant’ that was voluntary and more like a limited contract.

    Jesus, voluntarily becoming a bondservant of God, demonstrated that slave or free, we have the power to transcend sin

    regardless of temporal conditions we can by faith in Jesus overcome unto everlasting life

  • forgiven

    Even Jesus fought the religious establishment of the day so nothing new here. But Jesus did not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Even to the woman ‘caught in adultery’, though he extended temporal grace and rebirth, He concluded with ‘go sin no more’.

    Yes,

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    No doubts the hypocrisy of certain ‘Christians’ of the day is monumental as it was with the Pharisees/Sadducees and the Bible is indeed cherry-picked, by even Satanists.

    But using the ‘they are hypocrites so I can be one’ is not acceptable to The Christ of any interpretation of the Bible i.e. in the eyes of Christ two wrongs never make a right.

    Regardless of whether one professes Christ or not, Jesus will say to those of “you who practice lawlessness, depart from Me!”

  • Reuben Hyman

    So I guess this is not there

    Lev 18:22 ‘And do not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination.

  • mf_roe

    It call also be described as a FaceBook page for a bunch of Phonies desperate to prove that they are The Cool Crew.

  • Wildkitty

    One of the BEST moments ever – on TV!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD52OlkKfNs
    =^-.-^=

  • nicho

    The bible never mentions “homosexuals.” There is no word for it in the original Greek. In fact, the word “homosexual” never appears until the early 20th Century in English translations — just as homosexuality was coming to the fore as a discreet sexual orientation.

  • The_Fixer

    Love the first paragraph, Jon!

    I think we all understand that the bible is the most pliable thing on earth. It could be the star of an infomercial – it does virtually anything that the person who wields it asks. Yes, I said wield, as in the sense that it is a weapon.

    There are, at last count, about a zillion differing sects of Christianity, all looking at all or parts of the Bible as being supportive of their belief system. How can all of these people be right?

    Why, it’s the amazing Bible, from RonCo. It can justify anything! It hates who you hate! It loves what you love! It’s chock full of verses that support any idea or action, and at least an equal number of verses that can be used to condemn the same idea or action!

    Like most infomercial products, the Bible is largely defective and doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, or at least not very well. The problem is that while old Salad Shooters, Pocket Fishermen and Chop-O-Matics are relegated to closets and rummage sales, the Bible is used and abused in spite of its obvious defects, and I really think it is one dangerous product.

  • mf_roe

    “Religion for DUMMIES”:

    God was invented to give authority to Assholes PERIOD

  • Doug105
  • Doug105

    Numbers 5:11-31 — God’s abortion “magic potion”

  • 2patricius2

    I have made posts on one site on which some few posters have even claimed that slavery was not that bad. When I flagged one outrageous post, it was removed by the moderators who are sane individuals. These same handful of posters claim that the Biblical ban on homosexual behavior is unchangeable and that the Biblical sanction of slavery was of a form of slavery that was humane. Go figure. Irrationality has no bounds.

  • nicho

    Bible says nothing about same-sex marriage or abortion. It is quite clear, in fact insistent, about accepting refugees.

  • Doug105

    IF only christians had a book to read, to tell them how their religion works.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/abortion.html
    What the Bible says about Abortion

    Abortion is not murder. A fetus is not considered a human life.

    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. — Exodus 21:22-23

    The Bible places no value on fetuses or infants less than one month old.

    And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. — Leviticus 27:6

    Fetuses and infants less than one month old are not considered persons.

    Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. — Numbers 3:15-16

    God sometimes approves of killing fetuses.

    And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? … Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. — Numbers 31:15-17
    (Some of the non-virgin women must have been pregnant. They would have been killed along with their unborn fetuses.)

    Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. — Hosea 9:14

    Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. –Hosea 9:16

    Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. — Hosea 13:16

    God sometimes kills newborn babies to punish their parents.

    Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. — 2 Samuel 12:14

    God sometimes causes abortions by cursing unfaithful wives.

    The priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell. And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. …
    And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. –Numbers 5:21-21, 27-28

    God’s law sometimes requires the execution (by burning to death) of pregnant women.

    Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. — Genesis 38:24

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