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Monday, November 8, 2010

Interpretation of Text

My Grandmother gave me the full-on guilt trip recently to start going to church with her. I acquiesced not out of a sense of need, but that I realize that I'm not going to have much more time to spend with her, as her health has been taking a more drastic turn for the worst recently.

But yesterday, I actually got something from the "message" that was presented by the Baptist pastor. Had time permitted, and had I thought the pastor would have actually wanted to discuss this with me, I would have loved to have talked about what it means to be a "living document". The sermon, book-ended with prayers that called for a return the to the "founding values" of our country, brought to mind how conservatives view the Bible and the Constitution in drastically different ways.

To be brief, conservatives do not think the Constitution to be a "living document" that can and should be interpreted based on the time a particular action or piece of legislation happens. Not only that, but conservatives - now more than ever - are calling for that most precious of founding documents - to be changed in ways that will affect all Americans.

So, why don't conservatives view the Bible in the same way?

They see Biblcal text as "living", a text that is interpreted in thousands of different ways - or completely ignored based upon the issues at hand - and a text that often goes against what conservatives like to call "traditional American values".

I find it quite troubling that conservatives are all too eager to embrace modern analysis of text allegedly written thousands of years ago that reference mythical acts as a means by which to govern a modern United States, while holding a staunch and unflinching standpoint on "strict Constitutionalism". This should actually trouble many in the country, regardless if you are able to vote or not.

The Constitution, much like many of the books in the Bible, was written during a time where women were persecuted and slavery was encouraged. Ironically, while Biblical text has been translated a multitude of times - and losing a great deal of context and meaning through the ages - conservatives have often called for amending the Constitution while accepting each and every translation as the "inspired work of God".

Ask most "Constitutional Conservatives" if they believe biblical text to be definitive and something that cannot be "unchallenged" and you will get a picture of the fractured mind of the modern conservative.

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