Exposing the shameful secrets of Charles Worley’s fundamentalism

Fundamentalism thrives on isolation from and opposition to the world — isolation from and opposition to the rest of society, to other people, to The Other, to everyone else.

The despicable Charles Worley and his Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina illustrates this opposition. But the fact that we know about Worley, that we’ve heard his vile words through a viral video that has been viewed by more than half a million people, shows that isolation is becoming increasingly difficult even for the most rabid fundies.

And just to be clear, that’s what we’re dealing with here. Warren Throckmorton traced the affiliations of Worley’s congregation — it’s an independent, KJV-only church connected with something called “The Only Hope” network. Not Southern Baptist, then, but nondenominational fundamentalist (think Bob Jones University, Bill Gothard, etc.). I’ve never heard of this “Only Hope” group — they seem to be hard-core fundie and desperately in need of a Web designer.

These small, nondenominational, KJV-only fundamentalist churches endure, in part, by keeping their members in the dark. Like all abusers, they need to keep their families dependent on them — ensuring that they’re the sole source of authority by ensuring that they’re the sole source of information. That’s getting harder to do in a world shaped by the subversive possibility of Google. Such churches have a long history of keeping their members out of the library, but now they have to keep them off of the Web as well.

And just as the Web undermines these churches’ ability to control the information their members can access, it also undermines these churches’ ability to keep their own shameful secrets. Worley’s “sermon” was an effective bit of propaganda within the closed-off world of his own sanctuary, but outside of that controlled environment it is quickly exposed as shameful, hateful ignorance of the very worst kind. When the rest of the world — the rest of America, the rest of the church — hears such things, the rest of the world responds and people like Worley can’t wholly prevent their followers from hearing that response.

He can inoculate them against it — misquoting Matthew 5:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 1:27 and John 15:18 to reassure them that any and all criticism amounts to “persecution” and therefore confirms the rightness and righteousness of his lies. You’ll see that argument parroted by drive-by trolls in the comments of sites like Stuff Fundies Like, often in ALL CAPS. But I often get the sense that these folks are shouting so loudly just to try to drown out the questions they’re desperate not to answer.

Providence Road Baptist Church requires isolation to function — isolation to keep its members ignorant and to keep its shameful secrets from being exposed to a wider world in which they cannot be defended. The good news this week is that it has lost that isolation.

Below the jump, a sampling of others’ insights, rants, lamentations and jeremiads w/r/t Worley and his awful church.

Bruce Reyes-Chow: “Pastor Worley and the Slippery Slope of ‘Speaking the Truth in Love’

You hear people like Worley and others who do in fact verbalize what we know already happens, people take anti-LGBTQ thought, theology and rhetoric and walk down that slippery slope to the point of killing people who are gay. I am generally not a slippery slope kind of person, but in this case, I will borrow a page from some of my brothers and sisters in Christ who believe  that the affirmation of of homosexuality, as choice or creation, will lead to the destruction of all that is good and holy and say this:

You can wrap your theological position in all the “speaking the truth in love” or “hate the sin, love the sinner” rhetoric you want, but if you hold the idea that affirming homosexuality will lead to the destruction of societal “norms” then you had better claim the other side: anti-homosexuality rhetoric will lead to the death of human beings because they are gay.

… Those of you who continue to give life and validation to anti-homosexuality thinking must know that you have been given the privilege of being thought of as reasonable and faithful. This protection has given you a false security that your words, no matter how diametrically different they may sound from Worley’s, do not lead to violence.

They do.

Kimberly Knight: “Following Jesus to Maiden, N.C.

Do I believe there are different ways to live into being Christian – you betcha – but hatred is never, never, never an aspect of following Christ. Am I wary of thrusting this tiny, hateful man and congregation further into the spotlight? Do they deserve the attention? Yeah, very worried that every character I type is pointing to the festering evil mind of an otherwise small, small man. But (yeah, you knew there was one more) if Christians who follow Compassionate One don’t speak up – over and over again – then voices like his, so easily tossing around the heresy of a hateful God, are allowed to speak without counter. We must raise our voices and join a chorus of love to that crescendos over the cacophony of fear and hate. Silence is consent.

Andrew Simpson: “Young Evangelical Responds to Charles Worley

This breaks my heart. It’s difficult to watch the state I love to call home portrayed on the national stage as a bastion of bigotry. It’s even more painful is to listen to the disappointment in the voices of my friends — both gay and straight — as they talk about the role of the church in perpetuating prejudice by advancing a theology of hateful exclusion.

… The church has been an incredibly positive and formative institution in my life. My father is a Baptist pastor, as was his father before him. However, unlike the Baptist pastors who tend to make headlines, my father and grandfather spent their careers tirelessly advocating for those who were marginalized—those who Jesus called, “the least of these”. Growing up, the gospel I heard from the pulpit every Sunday was one that demanded Christians take seriously the example of Jesus who lived a life of unbridled and indiscriminate compassion.

… As Robin Meyers poses in his book, Saving Jesus from the Church, “Until we have homosexuality all figured out, shouldn’t we practice radical hospitality? As long as we ‘see through a glass darkly’ isn’t it wise to err on the side of inclusion and compassion, rather than condemnation?”  Surely, the same Jesus who invited the outcasts and marginalized to sit at the head of the banquet table of the kingdom would be the one to call upon his church to broaden the circles of inclusion, not narrow them.

Mark Sandlin: “A Wickedly Beautiful Response to NC’s Latest Gay-Bashing Minister

In addition to sending in a donation to your favorite LGBT advocacy group in his honor, I’m asking you to do one more thing: download the postcard you find at the end of this post and fill it out. It is addressed to Pastor Worley and says, “A donation has been made to __________ in your name. Thank you for helping advance the fight for equal rights for our LGBT brothers and sisters.” Just fill in the blank and mail it to the right Reverend. In a few days, he’ll also start receiving all the wonderful educational material from each organization to whom he has “donated.”

John Shore provides the mailing address: 3283 Providence Mill Rd., Maiden, NC 28650. And Worley’s email: pastor@prbnc.com. (Please be firm, but polite.)

Warren Throckmorton gets a reaction from Bob Stith, the “national strategist for gender issues” at the Southern Baptist Convention, who was eager to emphasize that Worley’s church is not part of his denomination. Stith called Worley’s sermon “a vile outburst” and told Throckmorton, “I think it is important to say in the strongest terms how disgusting and unchristian his comments are.”

Alvin McEwen: “Mark my words. Gays and lesbians are not the destroyers of Christianity. Some of these folks are doing an excellent job of it themselves.”

Wonkette: “Pastor Charles Worley and his congregants at the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, will take your World’s Best Christians plaque now please, the end.”

Eugene Cho: “[Worley] speaks for himself and possibly, some or most of his congregation but since it is a church and part of the larger Christian community, I join others in calling him to repentance and ask his elder board to hold him accountable for these ungodly and heinous words.”

Chuck Currie: “All Christians … must condemn hate speech from pastors and denominations where this occurs are obligated to hold their clergy accountable — taking away their status as ordained clergy. Because let’s be clear: these hateful men are not preaching the word of God.”

Kurt Willems: “This is sin! Church, lets name this as evil and lets recognize that hatred justified by the bible is never biblical. Heartbreaking.”

David Badash covers the coverage of Worley by Anderson Cooper on CNN and by Martin Bashir on MSNBC.

Alise Wright: “He’s sick and I’m tired

And, finally, Paul at Disoriented/Reoriented is so repulsed by Worley that he turns away, focusing instead on the welcome story of one church getting it right.

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  • Nicholas Condon

    Apologies for my ignorance, but “KJV?”

  • friendly reader

    King James Version.

    There are some churches (frequently the insular, we-don’t-let-our-preachers-learn-Biblical-scholarship kind) insist that the translation of the Bible produced in committee by Anglicans in 1611 for a possibly-gay British monarch is the only infallible version of scripture.

  • friendly reader

    Oh, I forgot to add that Queen Elizabeth II also holds copyright on it. And it mentions unicorns.

  • EllieMurasaki

     I thought the KJV was public domain?

  • Steve Morrison

     Like most copyright issues, it depends on jurisdiction. In the U.K., the Crown does hold perpetual copyright on the KJV.

  • friendly reader

     Thanks for explaining that for me.

    One of the big points I was trying to get across in that post was how English it is, in the national sense, not the linguistic one. I had a friend in grad school who was on his way to Episcopalian seminary who always said that he never understood how Holiness or Baptist or any other Fundamentalist church could get behind the KJV; didn’t they realize how Anglican it is? Not just its creation, but in its choice of wording? It was translated to support Anglican church positions. (Don’t ask me to point out which sections; I’m a NRSV and/or NOAB reader).

    Amaranth, that’s the Vulgate (Medieval Latin version), not the KJV. Jerome made a simple mistake of being off by a letter in the Hebrew when he translated it “horns” instead of “shone.”

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

     Ah, good to know. Thanks.

  • sketchesbyboze

     It’s interesting to note that in the U. K. it’s illegal to publish a copy of the King James Bible without the Apocrypha. Imagine the confusion of American fundies!

  • P J Evans

     I tend to think that they confuse authorized-for-the-Church-of-England with authorized-by-God. And then there’s the problem of them apparently not knowing that there are more recent translations that they might find easier to understand. Sneak an annotated NRSV (with the Apocrypha) onto the pulpit with all the markers from the KJV put in at the correct locations….

  • Cradicus

    I was wondering about that too, I’m pretty sure it stands for “King James Version,” like the bible translation. But I didn’t know that that marked a specific set of beliefs as opposed to other Christians. Learn something new everyday I guess :)

  • The_L1985

    KJV does, indeed, mean “King James Version.” “KJV-only” implies that a person won’t accept any other version of the Bible.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    I left a comment on Warren’s post that includes Bob Stith’s reactions regarding how quick Stith is to make it clear that Worley is not a part of the SBC.  I pointed out (with a link to Right Wing Watch’s post on the matter) that the SBC’s own Richard Land participated in the creation of a video defending other countries’ criminalization of homosexuality.  Stith can point out that Worley “isn’t one of them” all he wants.  The SBC still has the same rot within.

    I’m glad to see Bruce Reyes-Chow hammering the point home that you don’t have to say things as explicitly as Worley to bring harm to QUILTBAG people.

  • Fusina

    I used to work in a “christian” bookstore. One day, a little old lady entered, and announced that she wanted a Bible for her grandson. In retrospect, I guess I should have seen it coming, but I asked which version she wanted.

    “I want the King James Version!” she declared. “I BELIEVE in the King James Version!”

    I was just grateful she couldn’t read my mind at that point, as the only thing running through it was, “That’s nice lady, but I believe in God.”

    Working at the bookstore gave me quite an education…

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    “I want the King James Version!” she declared. “I BELIEVE in the King James Version!”

    At that point, I would be sorely tempted to respond with, “I’m sorry, but we only carry the Authorized Version.”

    This is why I don’t work customer service jobs.  I’d almost certainly get fired for messing with the customers like that.

  • Tonio

     You could have offered her the Wescott and Hort version. Ἀβραὰμ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰσαάκ, Ἰσαὰκ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰακώβ, Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰούδαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Well, in case it wasn’t clear, part of the “messing with customers” aspect of my response is based on the fact that the Authorized Version is another name for the KJV.  ;)

  • Tonio

    My fault that I didn’t get the joke. Good one.

    I ran across a “Good News for Modern Man” version of the NT when I was a kid. Googling turned up one online tract that complained that Good News favored Catholic theology. I won’t link to it here because the author used several anti-Catholic slurs.

  • sketchesbyboze

     I know the article you’re talking about. It was entitled, “Good News for the Modern Man – Or Bad News from the Bottomless Pit?”

  • The_L1985

    Better: cock your head in an obviously-confused expression, and say, “I didn’t know that the existence of the KJV was ever in doubt.”

  • sketchesbyboze

    Back in the days when I wore a cape, I once visited a Christian bookstore with a friend who was looking for a new Bible. The manager took us on a tour of the store, pausing every now and then for the purpose of pointing out some gaudy accessory or other. My friend and I have been Christians all our lives, but it was incredibly offensive, even by the admittedly-low standards of tacky Christian marketing.

    “These are ‘Jesus nails,'” she explained. “I keep a pair of them on the Bible next to my lampstand. Whenever I look at these nails, I’m reminded of the cross and the incredible price that He paid to redeem me from God’s wrath.”

    When we arrived at the counter, she turned to me and said, “I really have to know – why are you wearing a cape?”

    “Well, because I’m a wizard,” I replied.

  • Tonio

    In this column and in the previous one, Fred seems to be describing a cult. I would be more comfortable using that word for Providence Road if I knew the degree to which the congregation venerates Worley himself. With a Mormon running for president, there’s a tendency among way too many people to define “cult” as any outlier religion, instead of using more objective psychological standards.

  • Streak

    I think the 

  • Streak

    I think the standard line for those who “believe” in the KJV is, “if old english was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me.”  I remember a lot of middle class, middle aged Midwesterners throwing a few “thees and thous” into their church prayers.  

    Good point that the SBC can distance itself all it wants, but has the same problem.  I have always thought that the SBC and others actually love the Westboro crowd, because they can pat themselves on the back and say they aren’t like that.  But when you break it down, they aren’t nearly as different as they want to believe.  

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     I think the standard line for those who “believe” in the KJV is, “if old
    english was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me.”

    Actually, it’s worse than that.  Most KJV-onlyists I’ve met are taught and accept that the KJV is the only (English, though I doubt they consider that other people actually speak other languages and have Bibles in those languages) version of the Bible that reflects the True Words of God(tm).  Most KJV-only preachers and teachers will go into great detail, explaining how all the other (usually newer) (English) translations of the Bible have been “tainted by liberal scholarship” at best and “Satanically influenced” at worst.

    Of course, a lot of it boils down to “non-KJV translations of the Bible sometimes translates certain verses in ways that don’t support our (predetermined) theology as well as the KJV.”

  • Tonio

     

    a lot of it boils down to “non-KJV translations of the Bible sometimes
    translates certain verses in ways that don’t support our (predetermined)
    theology as well as the KJV.”

    Would you offer a relevant example? I had suspected that the real motivation was fundamentalist anti-Catholicism. Perhaps another factor is that we’re talking about authoritarians and the antique nature of the KJV’s text simply sounds authoritative. (Now I imagine a modern teenager afflicted with the “like” curse trying to tell the story of the Virgin Birth.)

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     Unfortunately, I don’t remember the specifics that I ran into when I made a habit of arguing against KJV-only advocates.  However, consider the comparisons made between the KJV, NIV, and NASV on this site:

    Reason two:  The Bible teaches that God does not lie. The KJV Only position upholds this truth.
     
    In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. (Titus 1:2).

     

    Comment:
    A Bible that is preserved by God cannot have mistakes. Yet believers
    are told of numerous mistakes in the margins of various versions:   

     

    NASV, Isa.7:14: Marginal Note: the word virgin should be translated young maiden. 

     

    Comment: A young maiden having a child is not a miraculous sign, on the other hand, a virgin having a child is a true miracle.  

    NASV,  Jn.3:16:  The words only begotten should be translated unique. 

     

    NIV,  Jn.3:16:  The words only begotten should be translated one and only.

     

    Comment:  There are many unique children of God,  every
    saved person is a son of God (Jn.1:12), but there is only one begotten
    virgin born Son of God. By removing the words “only begotten”  the true  identity  of  the  Lord Jesus Christ  is  shaded  by  merging  his identity with all believers.  Jesus is not the only son of God,  He is the only begotten Son of God.

     
    Reason three:  The Bible teaches there are to be no additions to or subtractions from God’s words. The KJV Only position adheres to this truth.

     

    For I testify unto every man  that  heareth the words  of the prophecy of this book,  If any man shall add unto these things,  God  shall  add  unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And
    if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy,
    God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the
    holy city, and from the things which are written in this book
    (Rev.22:18,19).

     

    Comment:  There are two sets of copies of Greek Manuscripts from which bibles originate today. The Byzantine Manuscripts (Textus Receptus-Received
    Text) from which is translated the KJV and the Alexandrine Manuscripts
    (Westcott & Hort, Nestle) from which is translated the NASV and NIV.
    The translators of the Alexandrine Manuscripts, rather than simply
    receiving the words of the text, reconstruct the words and the texts
    using a man centered scientific and rational approach. This approach has
    lead to new interpretive renderings; Where by, they have added and
    subtracted from the Scripture.

     

    KJV   Act.9:31, “Then had the churches rest…” (plural) promotes local church

    NASV “So the church…” (singular) promotes universal church

    NIV “Then the church…” (singular)  promotes universal church

     

    KJV  Act.2:47, “…added to the church…” promotes local church membership

    NASV “…was adding to their number…” word church omitted, ambiguous

    NIV “…added to their number…” word church omitted, ambiguous

     

    KJV  1 Jn.5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father,  the Word, the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Doctrine of the Trinity

    NASV “And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”

    NIV “For there are three that testify.”

     

    Comment:  In 1 John 5:7,  it is noted:  the
    clear obscuring and re-translating of a cardinal and essential doctrine
    taught throughout the Scripture. Verse 7, is one of few verses in the
    Bible that clearly contains the three persons of the Trinity. Because of
    its uniqueness to the Trinity, Satan’s elimination and confusion should
    be obvious. It is a Satanic attack upon the Godhead, as it has been
    since the beginning.

     

    KJV – Act.8:37, Gives the clearest qualification  for baptism in the Bible.

    NASV completely omitted   – the Protestant influence in translating

    NIV completely omitted   – the Protestant influence in translating

    KJV  Mrk.16:9-20,  Teaching: Jesus resurrection, his glorified body, his ascension; the church’s sign gifts, its commission and salvation by faith.

    NASV It is there, but marginal note says it should be omitted.

    NIV It is there, but marginal note says it should be omitted.

    This is a pretty standard pattern for KJV-only apologism.  Show the KJV translation of certain verses alongside the other translations’ renditions.  Then assume that theological point that is based on a specific interpretation of the the KJV’s rendition of the verses is correct and point out how it is not supported by the other translations.   You know, rather than considering which translation more accurately reflects the intent of the original Greek and Hebrew and then evaluating your theology against that.

  • Tonio

     Thanks for the explanation. From an outsider’s perspective, even evaluating theology against the intent of the original language assumes that the book should be treated as authoritative. But the apologia you describe simply takes it for granted that the theology is correct and rejects any text that appears to contradict it. That should should familiar with anyone who has dealt with creationism. I wonder if KJV-onlyites and creationists tend to be the same people…

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     I have no data to support this, but I suspect that KJV-onlyites would be a subset of creationists.

    Anecdotally (and you know what that’s worth), I’ve never met a KJV-onlyite who wasn’t a creationist, though I’ve met several creationists who are not KJV-onlyites.

  • Worthless Beast

    Okay, I was thinking I wasn’t going to comment here anymore… but this caught my eye…

    Back when I was an actual *fan* of Left Behind (Hangs head in shame and waits for the stones. It’s okay, I deserve them…)  I was briefly a part of the Left Behind online boards, which I quickly grew tired of.  I mentioned my fandom for Lord of the Rings, for example, and someone was worried about my soul for “reading about wizards.”  Another person outright emailed me because I had the NIV translation of John: 3:16 in my signiture instead of the KJV-version.  It was weird. 

  • Tricksterson

    i’m trying to overcome my rather major anger issues so I’ll just peli you with stale maccaroons.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I was briefly a part of the Left Behind online boards, which I quickly grew tired of.  I mentioned my fandom for Lord of the Rings, for example, and someone was worried about my soul for “reading about wizards.”  Another person outright emailed me because I had the NIV translation of John: 3:16 in my signiture instead of the KJV-version.  It was weird.  

    You know, it can get disturbing to see all the parallels between theological differences and fandom debates.  

    SERIOUS BUSINESS, GUYZ!

  • sketchesbyboze

    You know, in my younger and more vulnerable days I belonged to those boards as well. I sometimes wonder if all the hatred directed at Lewis & Tolkien by the fundies is because of their virulent anti-Catholicism. Fundies hate Catholics; for them, Catholicism is the ultimate Religion of Evil. Tolkien explicitly said that “The Lord of the Rings” was a “primarily Christian and Catholic work.” Lewis wasn’t actually Catholic, but, he
    believed that salvation is a gradual process involving a combination of faith
    and works, that purgatory is real, that penance is important, that the bread
    and wine do in fact become the body and blood of Jesus, that the story of Adam
    and Eve was at least partially symbolic, that the Bible is not infallible, and
    that there are people who will be saved without ever officially professing
    faith in Jesus. He also attended
    Mass, confessed his sins to a priest, and received last rites—from a priest! So, you know… close.

  • histrogeek

     There are probably several reasons for the KJV-only crowd. RSV and NRSV (Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version), the standard Protestant translations, were written by a wide swath of theological and scholarly opinion. So you know, liberal obviously.
    The archaic language of the KJV (which sounded archaic even in 1612) helps enforce the idea that this is the original word of God. To the (extremely) uneducated, it’s obviously old, ergo it must be close to how God, Jesus, and the rest of them sounded. Plus it has a tight-assed majesty by design that gives some extra weight to God’s Word. Never mind that the Gospels were written in Greek so commonplace that it would have sounded like textspeak to 1st Century readers (or that Mark sounds like a poorly educated kindergartener).
    Finally I think inertia as much as anything else keeps them stuck in KJV, even though they often don’t understand it. There are generations of “literalist” interpretations based on KJV. It hurts their credibility if their fussy literalism is no longer literal because the translation changed. The pastors can recite verses in Jacobean English from memory.  It’s an easy check for the corrupting influence of the modern world. And they get that warm fuzzy they seem to derive from being isolated in their little caves.

  • sketchesbyboze

    “All eyes in jest,
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest…”

    In the church world, we call this a spirit of religion (where “spirit” denotes not a demon but a psychological complex, and “religion” is a kind of arrogant legalism). People who are fearful of others can develop a spirit of religion as a mechanism for controlling reality. Reality can be extraordinarily complicated. Religion lulls us into the comforting delusion that we have the ability to control it.

    So, for example, I was a King James-Only believer for a really long time. I still read the King James primarily, but these days it has more to do with the beauty of the writing than with any assumption of divine authority. Growing up, I was pretty horribly abused. Legalism allowed me to assert a certain measure of control over my parents and the rest of my friends, who were also very legalistic.

    These days I work with a well-known Charismatic organization trying to help others who are still trapped in legalism. There are several very prominent indicators. One, obviously, is a tendency to only read the King James Bible. Another is an expressed yearning for the days when women only wore dresses, and were “taught by their husbands” in quiet submission. Another – which I find incredibly frustrating – is a total inability to see anything in the Bible that doesn’t correspond with your preconceived notions. For example, I can point a person to the dozen-or-so passages in the New Testament where Purgatory is either suggested, or openly talked about – but the person in question will consistently respond by opening his Bible and reading his own favorite verses in an increasingly loud verse. He will never question the fact that his reading of the Bible is perfectly consistent with a certain kind of nineteenth-century American Protestantism, because for him this version of Christianity is the “true” “old-time religion.” Fourth, there is absolutely no respect for the development of Christian doctrine through the centuries, and arguments based on reason are explicitly rejected: “The Bible says the human imagination is totally corrupt, so I can’t go by what any man says.” Fifth, anyone who disagrees with this person is in danger of losing their status as a real, true, born-again Christian.

    What usually happens is, these defense mechanisms combine to create a kind of inner prison for the legalistic person. He willingly makes himself a victim of his own ideology. Ordinarily, he doesn’t even know he’s trapped. People who try to help him have a way of getting really hurt. Eventually he loses all his friends. He tells himself that this is just the price one has to pay for seeking after God.

  • Tricksterson

    Please explain what you mean by Charismatic.  My impression was that Charismatics were ppeople who speak in tongues, also identified with the Pentacotals.  I’ll admit to the possibility of my total wrongness.

  • sketchesbyboze

    @ Tricksterson
    Charismatics are generally defined by a belief in the continuing validity and practice of prophecy and miracles. Some of us speak in tongues, but it’s not a requirement. There are Evangelical Charismatics and Catholic Charismatics. I’m Catholic, but the organization for which I work is Evangelical. Strangely, most of us don’t think very highly of Pentecostalism.

  • Dummie

    Wow! All you folks are soooooo… Smart I could hardly understand you with my very small fundie brain. I did manage to say a prayer for you though. I asked that I could be as non judgmental as you folks are.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Not sure how relevant you’ll consider this, but I was once debating with a (reasonably civil overall) individual about gays/Leviticus, and I quoted something from the New King James version. 

    The poor man’s head just seemed to stop working. He was quiet for a few minutes, then asked what translation I was reading. After I replied, he said something akin to “I’ve only ever read KJV, so I’m not prepared to debate what your ‘different’ version preaches.”

  • Tonio

    Wow. I did a quick check of the wording in Leviticus 20 and they’re almost the same.  I suppose his head would have exploided if I tried making a secular argument about there being nothing immoral about homosexuality, one that didn’t make any assumptions about any religion’s scripture being authoritative.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     Don’t know of specific examples myself – but Stuff Fundies Like has quite a few commenters who are still Christians, but say they stopped attending their fundy churches once they started reading versions of the Bible that they could understand, and realised how off the mark their churches were.

  • SisterCoyote

     I know I tell this story too often, but one of my very few crystal-clear memories of church as a child was the pastor giving an entire sermon – a real, true, Baptist sermon, the kind where you have a hymnal break two hours in before the hour-long conclusion, about a mark of punctuation in the KJV – the dash at the crucifixion, and the dash where Moses says “–If thou wilt forgive their sins,” and explaining how it was about the fulfillment of a sort-of-prophecy, since those were the only two dashes in the Bible, because Moses’ dash left something incomplete (the sins of Israel), and Christ’s words on the cross completed it.

    It made sense, technically. But there’s probably stronger evidence than punctuation marks in the actual text.

  • EllieMurasaki

     there’s probably stronger evidence than punctuation marks in the actual text.

    That’s worse than the Harry Potter shipwar over a semicolon.

  • LMM22

    Ok, I have to ask. Details?

    ETA: Which is turn related to the early SF gay-marriage weekend that was prolonged a judge’s decision that the appeal to halt the proceedings was missing a “very important” comma.

  • EllieMurasaki

     …dammit DuckDuckGo. I found the offending semicolon: http://ssa-alexk.livejournal.com/8394.html section the last. But that is, let us say, a slanted description of the shipwar. (Slanted my way, yes, but slanted.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There are people who’ve insisted, publicly, that there’s possible evidence for Draco/Hermione in the books.

    O.o

    That’s a lot thinner than Harry/Draco, even.

  • EllieMurasaki

     *blink blink blinkety*

  • Tonio

    Did the shipwars start before the last two books were published? I watched Smallville for years before finding out that fans were having shipwars over who should be paired with Clark. I thought that was strange because 60 years of canon had established Lois, and since the show was presumably about the pre-Superman years, any other relationship would be pre-Lois by default.

    Recently I read all the Potter books for the first time, in a row, and then saw all the movies. The latter tended to be two or three entries behind the written versions, and I noticed that the screenwriters more explicitly foreshadowed the pairings that eventually happened in the last two books.

  • EllieMurasaki

     I think the shipwars started in the three years between GoF and OotP? But don’t hold me to that. When OotP came out I was fourteen and I don’t think I’d realized anything but Sailormoon had a fandom.

  • Steven Burr

    On one at least one site there was a large contingent of very dedicated Clark/Lex shippers. Pastor Worley would not approve!

    Aaaaaand we’ve come full circle.

  • Turcano

     Actually a better tack is to ask,  if the 1611 KJV is uniquely divinely inspired, why the Apocrypha was removed from it in 1666.

  • Mrichards49

    This post is absolutely priceless.  People who swear by the KJV know absolutely nothing about King James. Maybe if they knew a little more about the man and the control the he exercised over the translators they wouldn’t be so convinced that this is the only ” true bible”,

  • Tricksterson

    I’m only half joking when I suggest some of them probably think it’s called the “King James Bible” because he recieved a holy vision and wrote it himself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    FWIW King James was homosexual, he only got married and had Charles I in order to carry on the royal line. 

  • hapax

     

    FWIW King James was homosexual, he only got married and had Charles I in order to carry on the royal line.

    Oh, please.  I am perfectly ready believe that James I was sexually and romantically attracted to other men.

    But it’s really a stretch to talk about sexual orientations in historical periods that simply didn’t have the mental category.  You might as well say “King James was an Apple devotee, and would only have used Windows because that’s what the company provided.”

  • P J Evans

     He had seven kids who survived at least two days. And three who reached adulthood. That’s a really serious case of ‘homosexuality’.
    Would you like to reconsider your views?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I wonder how many conniptions it would give the likes of Worley to know I tend to be a rather strict Revised Standard Version kind of person when I look up biblical phrases. :D

  • Joshua


     I tend to be a rather strict Revised Standard Version kind of person 

    So if the non-Christian, gay, Canadians read the RSV, what does that make me, with my New Revised Standard Version With Apocrypha?

  • histrogeek

    It’s always a bit ironic that the theological forebears of the KJV-only crowd, Puritans, Separatists, Baptists, etc., actually hated KJV until after the Restoration. They preferred the Geneva Bible, which like Scofield’s Bible, had lots of footnotes explaining things. (King James hated the Geneva Bible because some of those footnotes were decidedly anti-monarchal. One specific directive from the King was no footnotes period.)

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    “I’ve never heard of this “Only Hope” group — they seem to be hard-core fundie and desperately in need of a Web designer.”
     
    Hmm, not as gaudy as I was expecting, but definately shoddy.  I mention because there is a pretty strong correlation between extremism and godawful aesthetic taste. * 
     
    http://mariettapa.com/marietta_militia.html

    Or rather, their idea of ‘good taste’ seems to be a matter of repeating their driving preoccupations and ‘plain, simple, truths’ as loudly as they can over and over and over again.  With no regard for comprehension or even their beloved ‘clarity’.  The notion that only cowards tangle with reflection or doubt will you into a moron real quick-like. 

    * Not to state the obvious.  I realize that’s the whole idea behind the signiture series of this blog.   

    (Largely Defensive Weapon of Gun!)  http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Largely_defensive_weapon_of_gun

  • VMink


    Or rather, their idea of ‘good taste’ seems to be a matter of repeating their driving preoccupations and ‘plain, simple, truths’ as loudly as they can over and over and over again.  With no regard for comprehension or even their beloved ‘clarity’.

    Well, that rather neatly explains Time Cube….

    Which is nutty and yet fascinating, unlike Worley, who is as pretty close to a definition of ‘evil behavior’ as I’m comfortable making.

  • sketchesbyboze

     This is owing to the quasi-Gnostic nature of contemporary Christian fundamentalism. To put it very simply: fundies HATE the world. Fundies view all human attempts at art, beauty, and excellence as being rebellion against God. Fundies are generally socially awkward, incompetent, and uncoordinated. It’s as though they’re trying to jam a key into a lock that doesn’t quite fit. They’re people who aren’t at home in their own skin. They’re people who really don’t get these crazy things called “bodies” and why we have them. They’re people who give off a perpetual vibe of wanting to avoid the mundane things – and, on discovering that these things constitute most of reality, decide to construct their own reality.

  • Tricksterson

    I actually wouldn’t have a problem with that if they didn’t keep trying to impose that reality on the rest of us.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    In some ways, “KJV-only” is a dog whistle.  To those who are aware, KJV-only means that one belongs to a particular tribe and avoids current scholarship / doesn’t bother reading the Bible in the original languages.  To those who don’t, it’s incomprehensible.

    Re: creationists, Madeleine L’Engle’s writings treated evolution as a fact and quoted the KJV. But she was raised Episcopalian raised on the 1892 and 1928 prayer books who also attended an Anglican boarding school as a child – so she grew up with the archaic poetry of the KJV.    (The Revised Standard didn’t come out until the 40s.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I was going to ask if there were Fundamentalists who actually can read like, Greek &/or Hebrew, & then I realized yeah, but they are all super Orthodox Jews.

  • Lunch Meat

    “I want the King James Version!” she declared. “I BELIEVE in the King James Version!”

    At that point, I would be sorely tempted to respond with, “I’m sorry, but we only carry the Authorized Version.”

    Personally, I think that if you’re going to mess with a customer, you should go all out. “Sorry, we only  have the widescreen 25th anniversary director’s cut.”

    Reason two:  The Bible teaches that God does not lie. The KJV Only position upholds this truth. In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. (Titus 1:2).

     

    Comment: A Bible that is preserved by God cannot have mistakes. Yet believers are told of numerous mistakes in the margins of various versions

    Easiest way to argue against this is to expose the circular reasoning directly. “Titus 1:2 says that there can’t be any mistakes or later additions in the transmission of the Bible? Well, I think that verse was a mistake that was added later.”

    Same thing with the idea that the Bible should be taken literally. “Why should the entire Bible be taken literally?” (They usually pull out 2 Timothy 3:16) “Well, I don’t take that verse literally.”

    I often wonder what the KJV-only people think non-English speakers should be reading? Perhaps next time I meet one, I’ll ask what the God-authorized Spanish or Russian version is.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     “Easiest way to argue against this is to expose the circular reasoning
    directly. “Titus 1:2 says that there can’t be any mistakes or later
    additions in the transmission of the Bible? Well, I think that verse was
    a mistake that was added later.””

    Then point out that if it’s not an addition canon hadn’t been agreed when that was written and some other new testament books hadn’t been written yet. If it proves anything it proves rather too much.

  • Katie

     At least one of them, Zuzuanna Anderson, the wife of Stephen Anderson (the dude who got investigated for praying that Obama would drop dead) says that the KJV is the only modern language translation that is correct.  Spanish and Russian speakers need to suck it up and learn English.

  • Lunch Meat

    Also, I meant to say this before snarking, but Mr. Worley is a horrible excuse for not only someone who claims to be a nurturing leader proclaiming good news of love, but also a civilized person. I don’t have anything clever or insightful to say, but this can’t be said loudly enough or by enough people: What he said was evil and wrong.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    Isn’t the KJV the one that claims Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with horns on his head? Because the word they decided meant “horns” actually means something like “rays of light”?

    That’s merely the *silliest* example of bad translation in that version. I’m pretty sure there are other, more serious issues to be had as well.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira


    I think the standard line for those who “believe” in the KJV is, “if old english was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me.” 

    It’s not Old English. Old English looks like this:
    Þa cydde man me, þæt us mara hearm to fundode, þonne us wel licode: and þa for ic me sylf mid þam mannum þe me mid foron into Denmearcon, þe eow mæst hearm of com: and þæt hæbbe mid godes fultume forene forfangen, þæt eow næfre heonon forð þanon nan unfrið to ne cymð, þa hwile þe ge me rihtlice healdað and min lif byð. 

    It’s not Middle English either. Middle English looks like this:
    And it was don aftirward, and Jhesu made iorney by citees and castelis, prechinge and euangelysinge þe rewme of God, and twelue wiþ him; and summe wymmen þat weren heelid of wickide spiritis and syknessis, Marie, þat is clepid Mawdeleyn, of whom seuene deuelis wenten out, and Jone, þe wyf of Chuse, procuratour of Eroude, and Susanne, and manye oþere, whiche mynystriden to him of her riches. 

    It’s modern English.

  • Otrame

    It’s archaic Modern English.

  • VMink

    I know only the basics of how to pronounce Middle English, but is it silly of me to find reading that to myself relaxing as I let go of all the anger at the authoritarian douchepickles who are doing their very best to turn this country into the United States of Thunderdome(-dome! -dome! -dome!)?

    “Whan yn Avril wit his showers soote….”

  • Apocalypse Review

     The thing that always impresses me is how close Old English is to a kind of German, and then realizing that Icelandic kind of still looks like that. :P

  • Tricksterson

    Okd English aka Anglo-Saxon was a Germanic language.

  • friendly reader

    English still is a Germanic language. We just have a thick coat of French vocabulary smeared over the German base (which is part of why our spelling system is such a blinking mess).

  • Turcano

     Actually, the reason English spelling is so counterintuitive is because the spelling was based on Middle English pronunciation.  Consider the word “enough.”   This confuses the hell out of children and ESL students, who just have to learn to deal with it.  The reason behind this is that English doesn’t have the /x/ sound anymore and was either dropped entirely or replaced with /f/ for some insane reason.  The history of the word is as follows:

    Old English: genoh (IPA /jɛnɔx/; cf. German cognate genug)
    Middle English: inogh (IPA /inɔx/)
    Modern English: enough (IPA /ɪnʌf/)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You can even “see” the original version in Dutch, which is the closest Low German ‘relative’  to English: “genoeg”.

  • Turcano

    Frisian is closer, and maybe Low German as well (drawing a family tree for Germanic languages is very subjective; I’ve seen four different ones for West Germanic alone).

  • friendly reader

     I was thinking more of how I had to explain that there are three ways of using C to my classes this week… in spite of having K and S. Though admittedly much of that can be blame on Latin vocab too.

    Btw, I do advocate for some kind of simple spelling reform, even of only a small percentage of words. Enuff is enuff, I’ve gone thru too many spelling tests to not want things changed, even tho it mite by hard to do.

  • Turcano

     There are worse languages for spelling out there.  Gaelic comes to mind.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know how I have insisted that objective education should be mandatory?  

    It is because, as a culture warrior, I want to see this kind of fundamentalism dead.  

    I want to crack its shell open, pour knowledge inside, and let the closed-minded hate writhe and sear and evaporate.  

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    The 23rd Psalm, for one, sounds much better in its KJV version. The NIV version sounds like the translation of some tragically hip youth minister; losing “valley of the shadow of death” for  “the darkest valley” = FAIL. 

    I regard the Bible mainly as a compilation of myths and legends, and much prefer the version that sounds like Thor from the Avengers. 

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Many of the psalms do sound better in KJV which isn’t so much due to the age of the language as simply that when dealing with poetry, literal translations are often lacking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve seen references to a belief – held, I’m sure, by a very, very small fringe group – that the KJV isn’t just the perfect translation, it isn’t even a translation at all.

    Every other version of the Bible is actually a corrupted translation of the KJV.  That is to say that the Bible was written in its entirety, by God, at the beginning of time, and what God wrote was what we call the KJV. 

    (God actually wrote it in English.)

    Corrupted translations existed for centuries – mostly as a result of the English language not actually existing outside the pages of the Bible that God wrote – until finally the original version was transcribed directly and without any errors or changes from its ideal form, into what we now know as the KJV.

  • VMink

    A slightly less irrational belief in that vein is that the KJV’s translators were divinely inspired in their work and therefore the KJV is the one true Word of God.

    It couldn’t have anything to do with the people who promulgate that belief being unable to read diddley-squat in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Koine Greek.  Of course not.

  • LMM22

    One oddity about Christianity is that it’s the only Abrahamic religion which *doesn’t* require — or even encourage — its followers to learn the original language its texts are written in. Even the *priests* aren’t expected to know the language. 

    This may actually be an oddity among major world traditions, come to think of it — I definitely know (lay, educated) Hindus who were taught Sanskrit.

  • John__K

     It’s probably a smart marketing move. I wouldn’t want to be the one who had to convince a bunch of Franks and Romans that they all have to learn King James English, a language that wouldn’t originate for centuries.

  • LMM22

    I wouldn’t want to be the one who had to convince a bunch of Franks and Romans that they all have to learn King James English, a language that wouldn’t originate for centuries.

    Allegedly (and my Latin is rusty enough that I can’t verify this), Anselm’s ontological proof of God (“a being greater than any that can be conceived”) is aided by the fact that his phrasing uses the word “complete” as “perfect”.

    Either way, it’s struck me as amusing to think of a single divine language of God: one that, by virtue of the weak Sapir-Worf hypothesis, makes it easy to think in certain ways.

  • Tricksterson

    Sapir-Worf?  So the original language of the Bible is Klingonee?

  • Joshua


    One oddity about Christianity is that it’s the only Abrahamic religion which *doesn’t* require — or even encourage — its followers to learn the original language its texts are written in. Even the *priests* aren’t expected to know the language.  

    Well, depends on time and place. USA and NZ are very monolingual. I certainly prefer a priest who is enthusiastic about going back to the original languages when preparing a sermon, and some do. It used to be a lot more prevalent a few decades ago.

    I had an acquaintance in Germany who was studying at a seminary. He said he needed a two-year qualification in Hebrew, Greek and Latin in order to enroll.

  • friendly reader

    Depends on the denomination. Most so-called Mainline denominations have Hebrew and Greek as part of basic seminary curriculum. One of the benefits of having denominations vs independent churches is that you can have some control over pastoral candidates to make sure they actually have an education.

    Also, Hinduism is the religion with by far the biggest tent so there are always exceptions, but until recently Sanskrit was primarily the language of the Brahmin caste. I’m not sure Sudras and Untouchables were supposed to learn it. They certainly weren’t allowed to read the Vedas. And much of Hinduism on the ground is a-scriptural or uses vernacular scripture (this last point is particularly true in Dravidian south).

    Also, telling these groups that they should be more like Hindus, Muslims, Jews, or “Mainline” Christians is not going to help the cause.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Every other version of the Bible is actually a corrupted translation of
    the KJV.  That is to say that the Bible was written in its entirety, by
    God, at the beginning of time, and what God wrote was what we call the
    KJV.

    B-but the Revised Standard Version was explicitly retranslated from the oldest extant Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts, with particular reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls!

    How can these people believe the RSV in any way is some “corrupted” KJV is beyond me.

  • Joshua

    B-but the Revised Standard Version was explicitly retranslated from the oldest extant Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts, with particular reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls!How can these people believe the RSV in any way is some “corrupted” KJV is beyond me.

    Well, that just makes it *really* corrupted, you see.

    As well as the obvious things like “and a young woman shall conceive” and “all scripture that is inspired by God is useful…”.

    I heard one preacher took a blowtorch to it during his sermon, when it first came out.

  • LMM22

    There’s apparently a movement to translate the KJV into other languages, because it’s clearly the inspired word of God.

    I had an ex whose brother attended a hyper-Christian high school for a few years. Among other things, they kept non-KJV Bibles under lock and key in the library. Students taking a special advanced course in Bible study could read them. Everyone else was apparently too weak to be exposed to other translations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Looks like the Westboro wingnuts have some major competition.
    My two cents: There’s a rumor that some of the KJV was actually written by William Shakespeare himself, nice idea. If the Bard of Avon was good enough for Jesus Christ then he’s damn well good enough for any ordinary Christians like us! (tongue firmly in cheek)

    If Bacon wrote Shakespeare, did Shakespeare ever write him back? Okay, old joke…

  • Rose

    Hey guys, (and Fred) I absolutely love the idea of donating to an LGBT organization using this preacher’s address and all….But then, I started to worry if drawing his attention to the organization would be detrimental to them. Just wondering what y’all think. Would he make trouble for them? I would hate to bring this guy’s wrath down on a lovely, hard-working non-profit.

  • Lunch Meat

    @Rose, I see what you mean, but I think enough people are doing it (if you look at the comments on the post) that he couldn’t cause too much trouble for any one of them. I just donated to Equality Texas. :-)

  • http://harmfulguy.livejournal.com/ harmfulguy

    A friend of mine once had the experience of conducting a Sunday School class for people in an isolated community who had no concept of languages other than English: http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/304243.html

  • Mckeez

    Some prechers and very few these days stand on God’s word and I commend Pastor Worley for his stand, I have heard him preach many times and he has his own way with words and that is all that has happened here, however we are in a battle with the devil and he loves to use peoples mistakes to cause mayhem and tryto stop God’s soldiers the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin and God hates sin and so should we. We all should learn to love one another but hate sin. You have your rights and so do we.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I have heard him preach many times and he has his own way with words and that is all that has happened here

    Har. Har. Har. That’s funny. Does that remove culpability just like Richard Nixon seemed to think just barking out “I’m not a crook” made him look any less of a criminal?

    however we are in a battle with the devil and he loves to use peoples mistakes to cause mayhem

    Oh, that’s your excuse?

    I suddenly feel a great compulsion from the god Flaming Spaghetti Monster to flay you with wet spaghetti noodles.

    What’s that? You don’t think FSM is real so you don’t think I have any justification behind my doings?

    GUESS WHAT?????

    I don’t think God is real!

    That means I don’t think Pastor Worley has any justification what-so-bloody-well-ever to say whatever crap comes across his brain that masquerades as the act of thinking.

    So YOU can take YOUR pitiful attempt to excuse what he’s saying and GET! THE! FUCK! OUT!

  • hapax

     

    We all should learn to love one another but hate sin. You have your rights and so do we.

    Absolutely you have the “right” to hate homosexuality.  If you understand (or even have a gut feeling) that engaging in sexual behavior with someone of your own sex is appalling, disgusting, and immoral, you have the every right, every responsibility, not to do it.

    I would go so far as to agree that you have every right, every responsibility, to be appalled, disgusted, and condemnatory of such behavior in other people.  (Basic civility, however, requires that you keep such reactions to yourself unless you are asked.)

    What you do not have the right to do, in a country where there is no civil recognition of religious doctrines, is make such behaviors illegal.

    However, I cannot fathom how Worley’s fantasy proposal can possibly be understood as a case of “loving the sinner, hating the sin.”  In fact, rounding up GLBTQ people and incarcerating them in sex-segregated concentration camps, without any basic support or comfort beyond their fellow prisoners, in the hopes that they will die off soon… that’s about as clear-cut a case as I can imagine of “encouraging the condemned behavior, then punishing the person who engages in it.”

  • Robin

    It is best to consult a few translations of the Bible in order to get the best sense of a phrase or verse.  Translation is an exacting process and anyone translating from one language to another can be faced with, perhaps, a couple different ways of rendering a certain verb or word. Nevertheless, the Bible itself is not supportive of sexual relationships outside of marriage. Consult a few translations and a few commentaries for this…..  If this pastor had said only that, it would be hard to criticize him–though there must be other things more pressing to talk about. Or so I would think.

  • EllieMurasaki

     So you’re in favor of same-sex marriage, thus allowing gay people to engage in Bible-approved sexual behavior?

  • P J Evans

     You mean it was disapproving of all those patriarchal concubines? Or do you think that concubinage counts as marriage?