Bible: "Fools for Christ's Sake"

Justice Antonin Scalia:
Proud To Be A Cretin
Supreme Court Justice Removes All Doubt
Associated Press

April 10, 1996

Jackson, Mississippi -- Christians should assert their faith even if intellectuals dismiss them as simpleminded for believing in miracles, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a legal society's prayer breakfast in April, 1996. "We are fools for Christ's sake," he said, adding that the word cretin, or fool, is derived from the French word for "Christian."

"To be honest about it, that is the view of Christians taken by modern society.... Surely those who adhere to all or most of these traditional Christian beliefs are to be regarded as simpleminded," Scalia said in the unusually candid discussion of religion by a member of the nation's highest court.

His speech brought a standing ovation from some 650 people attending the event sponsored by Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College School of Law's Christian Legal Society.

Scalia said many intellectuals will accept more generalized religious views but are hard-pressed to acknowledge the concept of miracles. As an example, he said he recalled reading a story in The Washington Post about a priest who reportedly had developed stigmata, sores that Catholic belief says represent wounds Jesus suffered at his crucifixion.

"The Washington Post sends out a team of reporters who produce a strangely ambivalent story about this phenomenon," Scalia said. "The thought occurred to me: Why wasn't that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers?... Why weren't The Washington Post reporters, if they couldn't explain the phenomenon, absolute converts?"

He went on to urge Christians to follow Sir Thomas More's example and stand up for their beliefs even in the face of hardship. More, the English statesman, was executed for defying King Henry VIII and refusing to accept divorce.

"We must pray for the courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world," he told the audience.

And this Guy's on the U.S. Supreme Court?
by Conrad Goeringer
AANEWS from American Atheists

April 10, 1996

For once, maybe conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is correct.

The Justice recently spoke to a prayer breakfast at Mississippi College School of Law, a Baptist church-run institution. Expressing his philosophy about religion and state-church separation, he told the audience of 600 that "We are fools for Christ's sake ... We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world.:

Paraphrasing religious author Franz Werfel, Scalia criticized those who critically investigate claims about Easter and other alleged supernatural miracles. "The wise do not investigate such silliness," he declared sarcastically. Such skeptics "do not believe."

"One can be sophisticated and believe in God. Reason and intellect are not to be laid aside where matters of religion are concerned," added Scalia.

(Werfel, author of "inspirational" books such as "Song of Bernadette", is perhaps best remembered for his assertion that "Those who know do not ask, and those who ask do not know." He made the remark in connection with miraculous events.)

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Bible Reader Shoots
Neighbor To Death
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Dallas Morning News

August 5, 1996

According to police in New Orleans, Melvin Hitchens, 66, who had been reading the Bible on his front porch, put it down, fetched his gun, and shot to death a neighbor woman with whom he had been feuding about the cleanliness of their yards.

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First Timothy 2:9-14?

Man Chokes Girlfriend
Over Bible Interpretation
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Barrie Examiner, CP

May 20, 1995

Nathan Frederick Klimosko, 21, was sentenced to two years' probation in Kelowna, British Columbia, for hitting and choking his girlfriend into unconsciousness. The fight started in a car when the two disagreed over his interpretation of a certain passage from the Bible, and he reached over and smacked her in the face, blackening her eye.

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First Corinthians 11:24-35?

Woman Shoots Boyfriend
Over Bible Interpretation
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Toledo Blade

December, 1993

Jacqueline Clinton, 29, was found guilty of manslaughter in Toledo, Ohio, in January in the shooting of her boyfriend. According to her, the shooting occurred during an argument over differing interpretations of the Bible.

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Biblical Sportsmanship

Bible-Quoting Contest:
Loser Shoots, Kills Winner
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Montgomery Advertiser, AP

July 19, 1996

In Dadeville, Alabama, Mr. Gabel Taylor, 38, who had just prevailed in an informal Bible-quoting contest, was shot to death by the loser.

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Man Killed In Spat
Over Torah Trivia
by Chuck Shepherd

October, 1997

An unidentified man stabbed David Fleigelman, 40, at the Sephardic Center synagogue in Brooklyn, New York. According to police, the men had been arguing about who knows more about the Torah.

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Once For Each Apostle

Man Stabs Bible-Shirking
Wife Twelve Times
by Chuck Shepherd
source: San Jose Mercury News

May 18, 1996

Carlos Santiago was arrested in San Francisco, California, and charged with assault. Police said he stabbed his wife a dozen times because she refused his orders to read the Bible.

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Chiropractor from Hell

Bible-Quoting Chiropractor
Charged With Battery
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Wisconsin State Journal

October 4, 1995

Dr. John Schuett, 36, was charged with battery in Waukesha, Wisconsin, after he allegedly ordered a woman into his office, grabbed her, put his mouth over her right eye, sucked on it, stabbed her in the neck with an acupuncture needle, and began reading aloud from the Bible.

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Solemn Oath

Man Attacks Prosecutor;
Swears on the Bible
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Houston Chronicle

May 3, 1996

Matthew Simmons, 21, had just been found guilty in London, England, of threatening French soccer star Eric Cantona when he leaped over a bench, grabbed the prosecutor in a headlock, and tried to punch him, yelling all the while, "I am innocent! I promise! I swear on the Bible!"

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Legislator Quotes
Biblical Passages,
Says Slavery "Beneficial"
by Conrad Goeringer
by AANEWS from American Atheists

May 10, 1996

A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives who is also a state senator in Alabama declared yesterday that slavery "Southern style" was beneficial for blacks, and was justified in the bible.

The controversial statements were in a prepared speech to have been delivered by State Senator Charles Davidson, a first term Republican who is currently one of six candidates vying for the party nomination in Alabama's 4th District. His remarks were to have been delivered in a Senate debate over his proposal to fly the Confederate battle flag atop the state Capitol building; but the measure was quickly tabled on Tuesday before he could deliver the talk. Davidson passed out printed copies of the speech instead.

According to reports, Davidson quoted passages from Leviticus which read: "You may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you." Other quotes included First Timothy, which exhorts servants (slaves) to "regard their own masters as worthy of all honors."

Davidson also wrote that modern-day opponents of slaveocracy "are obviously bitter and hateful against God and his word, because they reject what God says and embrace what mere humans say concerning slavery." He also accused abolitionists of embracing "humanistic thinking ... while southerners and most northerners embraced what God said in the Bible."

The speech also stated that the institution of slavery has existed throughout history, and that "abuse, rape, broken homes and murder are 100 times more common in the housing projects (today) than they ever were on the slave plantations in the Old South."

Reaction to Davidson was quick, even from somewhat embarrassed Republicans. State GOP National Committeewoman Martha Foy said "It's shocking to me." Meanwhile, the head of the Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Laura Hall, declared "It's sad to think we have anyone who has that type of thinking in 1996. That may have been appropriate in the 1930's or the 1940's, but not in 1996."

A Rallying Point for Religious Bigotry?

Davidson's remarks and proposal to fly the Confederate flag highlight an issue which has again surfaced, particularly as Southern states modernize and traditional political boundaries blur. Organizations like the Southern League and Heritage Preservation Society are promoting what critics charge is a "whitewashed" version of Civil-War and Reconstruction history which minimizes the inhumanity of slavery, and creates a false, nostalgic view of regional genteelness. "Dixie Net" and other online sites, for instance, offer Confederate flags and logos, bumper stickers with slogans such as "Southern Nationalism, Always in Style," and books or pamphlets dealing with Civil War battles and personalities.

During the recent round of GOP Presidential primaries, candidate Pat Buchanan got into hot water with his stand on the Confederate flag issue, when he defended flying the battle standard as a "symbol of defiance." During campaign sweeps through Southern states, Buchanan mixed his economic-nationalist and anti-abortion message with a strong "states rights" theme,

Buchanan also serves as an advisor to Southern Patrisan magazine, and according to editor Oran P. Smith, is "a big fan. Partisan dispenses what it terms a "Scalawag Award, a term which describes "Southerners who sucked up to the enemy for profit." The first award was to a Republican state legislator who voted to haul down the Confederate flag from the capitol in Virginia, calling it a "divisive symbol of ... slavery."

Among the claims made by Southern League representatives is that "War is being waged against the Southern identity and its traditional symbols."

"On a spiritual level, we take our stand squarely within the tradition of Christianity," declares the organization's "New Dixie Manifesto," adding "we oppose the government's campaign against our Christian traditions."

While many "New Dixie" style advocates insist that they are not racists, and that their concerns deal with heritage and history rather than ethnicity, critics suggest that this is simply a fancy cover for traditional racism and intolerance.

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Bible Quoter,
Slavery Defender
Quits Race for U.S. Rep.
by Conrad Goeringer
by AANEWS from American Atheists

May 12, 1996

An Alabama official who last week circulated a statement using biblical quotes to justify his position on slavery, yesterday dropped out of the race for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

State Senator Charles Davidson was faced with growing criticism, following his claim that those angry over slavery "are obviously bitter and hateful against God and his word, because they reject what God says and embrace what mere humans say concerning slavery."

Davidson had quoted specific biblical passage in support of slavery, including an exhortation from Leviticus which declares "You may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you." He also quoted First Timothy, where god orders servants (slaves) to "regard their own masters as worthy of all honors."

The pro-slavery remarks were contained in a statement Davidson circulated to fellow Alabama State Senators early last week; he had originally attempted to use the material in a speech which supporting flying the Confederate flag over the capitol building in Montgomery. That measure, though, was quickly tabled before Davidson could make his remarks.

Davidson was one of six candidates in a GOP primary contest to be decided on June 4. Fellow Republicans quickly called upon him to withdraw from the Fourth Congressional District contest, as did U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill, the Democratic incumbent.

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Bible Disciplinarians
Have British
Example to Follow
by Conrad Goeringer
by AANEWS from American Atheists

May 22, 1996

After "much prayer" by Anglican and Baptist ministers, an independent religious school in Britain has announced that it will be incorporating what the Electronic Telegraph news terms a "Bible-based approach" to discipline, and will begin smacking pupils. Beginning in September, students unfortunate enough to end up at the Bradford Christian School in West Yorkshire, could face corporal punishment. A local businessman who happens to be on the school's board of governors remarked that "We are praying that God will be glorified by our decision," even though the school does not appear to have any disciplinary problem.

The National Union of Teachers quickly denounced the policy as "a return to the Dark Ages," and a Member of Parliament branded it as "barbaric." Government schools in Britain did away with the practice a decade ago, and the European Court of Human Rights banned spanking and hitting of children as well.

Other groups are speaking out about the "Bible discipline" approach, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The announcement also prompted critics to point to a June, 1995 study that showed that violence against children was already out of control throughout Britain, with one in six children being severely beaten at home. Even the Bishop of Bradford chimed in saying "I would not send children of mine to a school in which corporal punishment is used."

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Bible "Based On Hearsay"

Bible Publisher Sued
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Times-Picayune

September, 1994

Joel Ford filed a $45 million lawsuit in Jackson, Mississippi, against Oxford University Press, which publishes the principal edition of the Bible, on the ground that it is based on hearsay and that it oppresses blacks and gays.

He dropped the lawsuit one month later because, he said, he had received threats on his life.

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Where It Might Do Some Good!

Man Wants Bible On
Moon -- Safe From
"Acts of God"
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Mountain View Voice

July 28, 1995

Terence Cunningham, a Palo Alto, California, Unitarian, embarked earlier this year on what he estimated was a $70 million fund-raising campaign to build a rocket ship and lunar landing vehicle for the purpose of placing an indestructible copy of the Holy Bible on the moon for safekeeping. There, Cunningham told the newspaper Mountain View Voice, the Bible would be preserved against tampering or in case civilization is destroyed on Earth from plagues, wars, or, in his words, "acts of God."

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