Suggestions for the Conservative Bible Project

Although I haven’t commented on this previously, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Conservative Bible Project, a brilliant initiative proposed by the savvy folks at Conservapedia. The plan is that they’ll retranslate the Bible to eliminate “liberal bias” in existing verses – but not by going back to the oldest manuscripts or the original languages or anything like that. No, the Conservapedia community simply plans to take an existing, modern English translation of the Bible, and when they come across a verse that strikes them as unacceptably liberal, they’ll just change it so as to be in line with what they know God must have meant!

This is a major project and I’m sure it will take all the hands they can get. Since I’ve previously given advice to the prosperity-gospel believers on how to interpret some difficult Bible passages, I’m sure that the editors of the Conservative Bible Project would be equally happy to hear my suggestions. So, I thought I’d offer them some.

Let’s begin with this classic example of liberal bias in the Bible, Matthew 5:9, from the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Peacemakers? What is Jesus, some kind of liberal Democrat? This is unacceptable.

Real conservatives, as defined in the official Republican Party creed, know that the will of God is to drop bombs on any country that even looks like it might threaten us. After all, that’s just what God did through Joshua in the Old Testament. And anyway, we know from good conservative books like Left Behind that the Antichrist will be a peacemaker, so we know from sound logic that any peacemaker must therefore be the Antichrist.

How can we interpret this verse more fittingly? I have a few different suggestions:

“Blessed are those who wage preemptive war on rogue states that we think might be developing weapons of mass destruction.”

“Blessed are the waterboarders, for those who torture illegal enemy combatants will be called sons of God.”

“Blessed are the politicians who run secret black-site prisons for high-value detainees, for they are righteous in God’s sight.”

“Blessed are the private mercenaries and the contractors working for Blackwater, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Now that’s a properly conservative Jesus for you!

Next, Matthew 6:5-6:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Now, obviously, this is a disgustingly liberal statement. If you read this verse in modern translations invented by egghead Ivy League elitist professors, you might get the impression that Jesus was telling people to keep their faith a private matter and not flaunt it in public. But as we can tell from modern conservatives, who demand that explicitly Christian prayers and overtly religious language be prominently placed in every courthouse, school board, classroom and town council meeting, we know that Jesus couldn’t really have meant that. We need a new translation that’s more in keeping with what Jesus was obviously trying to say. Here’s my suggestion:

“And when you pray, do not be like the liberals, for they love to pray standing in their room, behind closed doors, and to insist that the public square is secular. I tell you the truth, if God can’t see you praying – and he can’t, because he doesn’t know what you do in your own house behind closed doors, except of course for gay sex – then you’ll get no reward for it. But when you pray, go into the courthouse, or the floor of Congress, or the workplace, or just stand on a street corner with a bullhorn and a stack of Bible tracts! The important thing is to be sure that the greatest possible number of people see and hear you praying, because then they’ll realize how pious and humble you are, and that will totally make them want to convert.”

Once this translation is in Bibles everywhere, the religious right will be able to say with perfect honesty that they’re just following Jesus’ example. And that’s what really matters, right?

Finally, let’s take one of the most often misinterpreted verses in the Bible, Matthew 19:16-24. Here’s the usual, inferior translation chock-full of liberal nonsense:

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

…Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

This liberalism-inspired mistranslation could drive a stake into the heart of Christianity. What Jesus is proposing in this passage is nothing more or less than socialism! And as we good conservatives know, once you’ve started down the road to socialism, there’s only one place you can end up – death panels, abortions at the local 7-11, and mandatory gay indoctrination in elementary schools.

Clearly, we need a dash of good conservative common sense to interpret this passage properly. Here’s my advice on how to read it:

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, you must get as rich as possible. The more treasure you have on Earth, the more God is blessing you. I recommend a well-balanced portfolio, with wise asset allocations in both stocks and bonds, plus some side bets on over-the-counter mortgage derivatives. If you run your own business, I recommend hiring cheap immigrant labor, and of course firing anyone who tries to organize a union. And don’t forget, politicians who want to tax capital gains hate God!”

When the young man heard this, he went away joyous, because he knew that his great wealth was a sign that his virtue was superior to the sinful people whom God punished by making them poor.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is easy for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is as easy as your chauffeur driving you in through the golden gates of a luxury resort in a black Escalade SUV. That’s not a metaphor. Rich people will actually be chauffeured through the gates of heaven in black Escalade SUVs. If any of the poor somehow make it, they’ll be your drivers.”

Not even Ayn Rand could find fault with that!

This should get the Conservative Bible Project off to a good start, but there’s lots of other liberalism that’s crept into the Bible and will have to be purged. What other mistranslations can you detect in the Good Book? And what proper, conservative translations can you offer instead?

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Arc of Fire, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.


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