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Thursday, 10 July 2008

What's in a word?

A Christian publisher is facing a US$60 million lawsuit over the word homosexual. Yup, it's the sort of thing that happens in America.

Zondervan publish translations of the Bible, and there's one in particular that a guy called Bradley Fowler doesn't like. The offending passage is Corinthians 6: 9.

"Fowler says Zondervan Bibles published in 1982 and 1987 use the word homosexuals among a list of those who are 'wicked' or 'unrighteous' and won't inherit the kingdom of heaven," says a story on of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Now he wants an apology and 60 million bucks, "to compensate for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability".

I looked at a few versions – well, four – just to satisfy my curiosity. Here they are. First, the good old-fashioned King James version:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.

Then the New Century version:

Surely you know that the people who do wrong will not inherit God's kingdom. Do not be fooled. Those who sin sexually, worship idols, take part in adultery, those who are male prostitutes, or men who have sexual relations with other men, those who steal, are greedy, get drunk, lie about others, or rob – these people will not inherit God's kingdom.

And here's the New International Reader's version:

Don't you know that evil people will not receive God's kingdom? Don't be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts.

And finally, this version:

Know ye this and be not deceived: only the righteous shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; and they that fornicate or lie with mankind as with womankind; they that are abusers of themselves or do wicked things shall be entered into this week's Heavenly Lotto for a chance to win a ticket to see Jerry Springer: the Opera in the company of my servant Stephen Green, he of Christian Voice, which is an abomination; while to him that cometh second shall be given a lifetime supply of exquisitely ribbed and flavoured condoms by my Vicar on Earth . . .

Not sure where that last one came from.

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