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Lawrence O'Donnell on the Bible, the Oath of Office, and the Ousting of Louie Giglio: VIDEO


Lawrence O'Donnell last night looked at the ejection of Rev. Louie Giglio from the inauguration ceremony over what he says it says in the Bible about gay people, as well as the use of that book in the inauguration ceremony, and the ironies present therein:

“This time, as it was last time for the first time in history, the book will be held by a First Lady who is a descendent of slaves. But the holy book she will be holding does not contain one word of God condemning slavery. Not one word. But that same book, which spends hundreds and hundreds of pages condemning all sorts of things and couldn’t find one sentence in here to condemn slavery, does indeed manage to find the space to repeatedly condemn gay people, as the now banished Louie Giglio says it does. And as the First Lady is holding that book for the President, sitting somewhere near them will be a pastor who the Inauguration Committee will make sure is much more adept at hiding what that book actually says than Louie Giglio was.”


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  1. Christianity had a very humble beginning. The book was treated as what they were, a collection of stories. The Roman Empire even threw Christians to the lions. Then they got lucky and the book turned holy.

    Posted by: simon | Jan 11, 2013 2:47:43 PM

  2. Yes, Randy, I did notice. He pings. Louie, that is. Definitely pings.

    Anyway, the Bible is bulls**t, and no, the word homosexual is not in the Bible whatsoever. Sexuality as we know it today and all it's complexities wasn't even a concept in Biblical days. What the Bible says on matters of sexuality is wholly irrelevant. That's the entire point. We *can* make this a religious debate and expose the fact these fundamentalists lie about what the Bible really references, or we can beat them using facts and logic. And personally, I think facts and logic are more appropriate rather than giving the Bible legitimacy.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 11, 2013 2:52:27 PM

  3. Does anyone else keep reading his name as Gigolo?

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 11, 2013 2:56:12 PM

  4. The news feed on TR noted a post on another blog where a RC wingnut stated that being pro-gay was akin to being a Marxist. Therefore, Obama should be sworn in on Das Kapital. Apparently he knows no modern history about Marxist states and their hatred of gays.

    I was recently sworn in on a jury by raising my right hand and the oath was to "affirm" yadda yadda yadda "as I shall answer to God".

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 11, 2013 3:02:52 PM

  5. “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state”.
    - The Revd Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

    Views *can* be arrived at by religious thinking, but *must* be justified by secular/civil thinking in the public square.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 11, 2013 3:07:36 PM

  6. Lawrence is awesome, as usual! Thanks for pointing out the absurdity of swearing on the Holy Bible!

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 11, 2013 3:35:18 PM

  7. i yearn for the day when we don't have these asinine blessings.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 11, 2013 3:44:56 PM

  8. Anyone who takes the Bible literally is an idiot. Yes, that's a strong statement but with all the research out there and all the proof of just how many people wrote the books of the Bible and the confusion about translations and interpretations and the times in which those books were written, well those literal believers obviously choose to remain idiots.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jan 11, 2013 3:55:23 PM

  9. @Simon... Yes, if Romney had won the presidency, he could have placed his hand on The Book of Mormon to take his oath of office. There is no requirement to use the Bible or any other particular text to place your hand upon to take the oath. In fact, there is no requirement to place you hand on anything at all. You can take the oath simply by raising your right hand. The method used is up to the person taking the oath.

    Posted by: anonymous | Jan 11, 2013 5:09:26 PM

  10. @Anonymous:
    I've always found it ironic that presidents (or anyone) swear on a book like the Bible whose words say NOT to do so.

    James 5:12:
    But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 11, 2013 6:26:24 PM

  11. There's really no need for a large scale investiture like an inauguration (which is a term that can't apply to a second term in office anyway). The entire process makes the presidency too royal. Having the president put his hand on the Bible, a symbol of submission to a higher authority and piety, along with "so help me God" at the end, is designed to convince people that the whole thing is on the up-and-up. It's theater.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 11, 2013 7:43:36 PM

  12. Two words later, Paul also used the word "αρσενοκοιται," which has unclear meaning.
    That pastor likes to read a version that has changed it to "homosexual" (a word which never appeared in any Bible until 1946). - GregV

    I didn't need a Pastor to tell me what "αρσενοκοιται" means Googlo transalate ask me if I meant "αρσενοκοίτες"...Guess what it means ;)

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 11, 2013 9:31:33 PM

  13. Scholars of Greek think that word likely refered to the prostitutes who worked in religious temples performing sexual rituals (common back then but so unheard of today that we don't even have a common word for it). - GregV

    ...but they do have a saying for it today it's called child rape!...When an altar boy gets stuck behind a priest & a dark corner of the confessional! ;)

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 11, 2013 9:38:12 PM

  14. The bible doesn't condone homosexuality it condoned child rape/abuse from certain members of the priesthood , I believe they were not talking about homosexuality in general (meaning consenting adult relations) but pedophilia & still today they try to hide the truth evident by the last 'scandal' & how the Church handled it by trying to sweep it under the rug - some of them going as far as to blame the victims. Maybe they should put their own closets in order before tampering in others peoples lives.

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 11, 2013 9:52:21 PM

  15. Lawrence is awesome, as usual! Thanks for pointing out the absurdity of swearing on the Holy Bible! - Jim


    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 11, 2013 10:03:03 PM

  16. @ oh dear!

    The Vatican has no authority in interpreting the Bible IMO, because they already have thwarted and twisted so much of it for their crazy ideas.

    Posted by: iban4yesu | Jan 11, 2013 10:33:01 PM

  17. "The" Bible (even the new "Queen James" one) is very clear about what it says, and it is plainly anti-gay.

    It simply doesn't matter that this is potentially a mistranslation of Hebrew or Greek, or a misunderstanding of context.

    It is what people have in their homes and call holy and good. It is the primary source of information about their god. Without it, they would have zero basis for their belief, and would not be Christian.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 11, 2013 10:35:46 PM

  18. It is the primary source of information about their god. That's why it simply does matter about a misleading/mistranslation of Hebrew or Greek, or a misleading/misunderstanding of context. Without it, they would have zero basis for their hatred/belief, and would not be xtian.

    to thine own self be true!

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 11, 2013 10:52:24 PM

  19. well, I don't think anyone/organization should have 'authority' over anyone's spiritual growth!

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 11, 2013 11:29:19 PM

  20. Zero basis for their hatred/belief...
    Please consider those who follow(ed) Marxism-Leninism-MaoZedong thought. They are/were notoriously anti-gay. Some of whom make/made the Religious Right look like pussycats.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 11, 2013 11:41:15 PM

  21. I'm sorry, I will sound unenlightened to you went I say that I know nothing about Marxism-Leninism-MaoZedong...if you say they were anti-gay, fine, who hasn't at some point in there life...when I first started to realize I was gay I hated myself for being different...Some life experience later & I fully accept my queerness for all the good things/joy it brings to the people I love. I guess my point was it doesn't matter if someone/organization is anti-gay they have the potential to transcend.

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 12, 2013 12:04:57 AM

  22. @OhDear: Internet translations are notoriously inaccurate. I speak several languages, and I've sometimes amused myself by putting a setence in one language and seeing the translation, which is sometimes so far off base that it's funny.
    The one you used was Google Translator. Unlike a lot of other translators, its unusual method is to instantly analyze as many translated documents as it can to make an "intelligent guess.".
    This method's strength is that it works very well when translating common phrases that it can find in hundreds of millions of different documents that cross over various contexts.

    The weakness of Google Translator's method comes up in exactly this type of case. The problem is that this word is not only ancient but obscure, and you would be hard-pressed to find it ANYWHERE in any document except for this one letter (where a MIStranslation has been recently popularly published and therefore is what Google's translator finds).
    For example (hypothetically) imagine that JK Rowling were to take an obscure and uncommon Old English word that meant "youngest cousin" in English and she put it in a best-seller as Harry Potter's friend but she decided that a pet skunk would appear in the French version of the book instead. If it's an old and unused word and Google Translate can't find it anywhere but in Harry Potter, it will "intelligently guess" that the old word for youngest cousin means "moufette" (skunk) in French.

    That's why it has in this case given you a mistranslation. "Homosexual" in Greek is "ομοφυλόφιλος." The concept of homosexuality as a sexual orientation and the word to describe it were invented in the 1800's. Paul did not use that word and did not even have the vocabulary words available to denote sexual orientations such as "homosexual," "bisexual" and "heterosexual.". The word he did use has two identifiable root parts but its meaning as a complete word is unknown. Historically, translators of Bibles have repeatedly invented new and different substitutions for it from time to time and from one language to another.
    No dictionary before 1946 would ever have described it as "homosexuals" and it is a shoddy way of translating to take an ancient word that is obscure has no known modern equivalent and apply a translation for it that was only popularized recently, applying a concept that the author (Paul) had never even heard of.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 12, 2013 12:38:16 AM

  23. That's why it has in this case given you a mistranslation. "Homosexual" in Greek is "ομοφυλόφιλος." The concept of homosexuality as a sexual orientation and the word to describe it were invented in the 1800's. Paul did not use that word and did not even have the vocabulary words available to denote sexual orientations such as "homosexual," "bisexual" and "heterosexual.".

    I get the word that embodies same sex attractions for our society was 'invented' in the 1800's but as a gay man who's always been a homosexual I realize that we've always existed even before the biblical times so it would be logical that these people had a word that would describe our sexuality, just because it was the time of the bible doesn't mean they didn't f*ck. I find it convenient that this word is at the root of this problem being that's so obscure & ancient that no one can figure out it's true meaning & solve this once & for all, is it really un mal entendu or more of an obfuscation?

    Posted by: oh dear! | Jan 12, 2013 1:42:07 AM

  24. @Larry: read for a discussion of what the Bible says about homosexuality (it lists conservative versus liberal opinions, translation issues, cultural context, etc.) There are a number of links you'll have to follow.

    For Corinthians 6:9-11, the word translated as "homosexuals" has had different translations over the years. It's original meaning is lost so they fill in the hot-button issue of the day.

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 12, 2013 3:06:33 AM

  25. "@ Javier,

    No, his theology is OK for a lay person."

    Actually, it's much better than OK. Most lay persons don't know about the absurd rules in the Bible - such as the one about prostitutes being burnt at the stake, children stoned for talking back to their parents, slavery being ok etc - and he does. And of course he's not being anti-Christian: the problem is that if anyone actually bothers to expose their beliefs, the Biblical/Abrahamic religions are anti-scientific, anti-reason and ultimately anti-human.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jan 12, 2013 5:08:27 AM

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