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Pink Bibles and six degrees of absurdity

Timothy Kincaid

December 15th, 2011

I hate the Culture War. It wastes time, harms my communities, and makes enemies out of people who would otherwise be friends. And sometimes the consequences of prioritizing this nonsensical War results in decisions that are truly deeply wrong.

Take the latest action by the Southern Baptist Convention. In order to make sure that “evil” is punished, they are denying funds to breast cancer screening. Let me explain:

Evangelicals have an emotional attachment to the King James Version of the Bible. But as that translation was conducted between 1604 and 1609, it isn’t easy to read or understand. Yet, many conservative evangelicals have been suspicious that newer translations include changes to the meaning of scripture. And though these changes are often the result of the discovery of additional text sources or intensive research, they been seen by some as a tool for those who seek to corrupt or twist the meaning of scripture.

So as to prepare a more readable Bible, but one which could be trusted to be scripturally inerrant, the Southern Baptist Convention funded a new translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The goal of the inter-denomination team was “to convey a sense of the original text with as much clarity as possible”. The new Bible began rolling off the presses last year.

As part of a promotion, LifeWay Christian Resources (a seller of Bibles and other Christian books and paraphernalia) marketed a copy of the Holman Christian Standard Bible bound in pink. And for every pink Bible sold, Lifeway contributed a dollar to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to be used for breast cancer screening and awareness.

That’s kinda cool. If you’re going to buy a Bible, why not help fight breast cancer at the same time?

But then the Culture War stepped in and the surrealism began. Because:

* The Southern Baptist Convention owns Lifeway Christian Resources
* Lifeway gave a dollar of each pink Bible sold to the Susan G. Komen Foundation
* Komen used the funds to screen women for breast cancer
* The screening was facilitated through local chapters
* Some of the local chapters contribute funds to Planned Parenthood specifically to be used for breast screening
* Planned Parenthood also performs abortions

Well, there you have it. As Susan Tyrrell of the Bound4Life blog put it, “The sign might as well read, ‘Buy a Bible and support abortion!’ ”

Whatever one might think about abortion, surely Planned Parenthood and the Southern Baptists can agree that breast cancer is a bad thing? No. They can’t. Because the Southern Baptist Convention is in a Culture War and right now they hate Planned Parenthood more than they hate breast cancer.

So LifeWay is canceling the program and “recalling” the Bibles. (Tennessean)

“Though we have assurances that Komen’s funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay’s core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood,” Rainer said in a statement.

And although Komen’s funding of specific Planned Parenthood programs paid for 139,000 breast exams and about 5,000 mammograms, detecting 177 cases of cancer in the past five years, the lives of those 177 women are immaterial. They are just collateral damage in a Culture War.

Comments

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Dale
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

If they really believed they would just have a ‘faith healer’ cure the cancer.

Chip
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Meanwhile, the former patrons of Chick-fil-A who stopped eating there because of its ties to anti-gay causes through its WinShape foundation are “radical militants” seeking to force their agenda onto the society at large. That’s TOTALLY different… *eye roll*

Jaft
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

I first want to say that it tickles me that both Chip and Dale commented.

That out of the way, while I agree with your logic Chip (if I were in LifeWay’s position and held its values like they do, I couldn’t see any other choice but to severe ties – any support of Planned Parenthood props up an organization that I would see as committing mass murder in some legitimate light), BTB isn’t being hypocritical.

The difference between this situation and the Chick-fil-a one you point out is that the workers of Chick-fil-a’s lives aren’t at stake. While the worst case scenario is that they lose their jobs (which really is unlikely), it wouldn’t be impossible to simply get new ones.

On the other hand, not detecting breast cancer in a timely matter is a whole different Hell of trouble. And that sort of prioritization can be seen elsewhere on BTB.

Take the threats to withdraw aid from Africa. BTB has been very cautious thus far in jumping on with full support to that band-wagon given the possible repercussions it could have for gay Africans; realistic effect on lives trumps policy.

So, really, I don’t find Timothy to be out of place or hypocritical with this entry.

PLAINTOM
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

They are pro-life until birth.

Richard Rush
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

“They are pro-life until birth.” And also later when someone goes into a vegetative state. Never forget the disgrace surrounding Terri Schiavo.

And did you ever notice how pro-lifers are always among the most enthusiastically dependable cheer-leaders for every war and capital punishment (although Catholics seem to have more consistency than many others on life issues).

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Perhaps for simplicity’s sake, we can say that they are pro-life only when such advocacy is a challenge to someone else’s authority. It isn’t so much that they wish to be the sustainer of life, but rather that they get to be the ones to make life and death decisions.

Donny D.
December 15th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy,
This is pretty predictable. Hardcore pro-lifers wouldn’t just see Planned Parenthood as an organization that differs from them on a stand or two. They’d consider it evil.

A large organization like the Southern Baptist Convention would be concerned with even appearances of impropriety. Giving money to Planned Parenthood for any reason would fit most any hardcore pro-lifers’ definition of the appearance of impropriety.

I’m not justifying it, just saying this is what you’d have to expect from the SBC. One of our groups cooperating in any way with an organization that WE consider deeply evil would be the best analogy.

That said, my next question would be, does LifeWay Christian Resources or the Southern Baptist Convention intend to set up another way to get money to organizations other than Planned Parenthood who are working as effectively against breast cancer? Or are they just going to stop this program and not resume anything like it, as the article makes it appear? If the latter, I agree with your statement that women with breast cancer are just collateral damage in the Culture War (as far as the Southern Baptist Convention and the pro-life movement are concerned).

Addendum: My Significant Other tells me that Planned Parenthood as a women’s reproductive health organization is uniquely widespread, so finding other groups that work as effectively against breast cancer might be difficult.

Ty
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Homosexuals should be glad this bible is losing distribution as it translates the words “pervert” and “sodomites” into homosexuals. Many of these “modern versions” of the bible are altered and they slip us into passages that will be repeated by those who wish to harm us. Anything the Southern Baptists are involved with should probably be avoided.

The groups Chic-fil-a gives money to went to Uganda to spread the lie that all gay men are child molesters and help draft the legislation that will criminalize homosexuality and could result in executions so deaths are relevant in this discussion!

Chip
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Jaft, I was trying to claim that others (like religious conservatives) are the ones who are being hypocritical about this situation, not BTB or Timothy. Apparently I wasn’t clear enough in that regard though, and for that I apologize.

Chip
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Ty, that’s an interesting point you make about Chick-fil-A, but near as I can tell the only group with ties to the Uganda clusterbomb to which Chick-fil-A has contributed is Exodus International. Granted, I haven’t been paying as much attention to Uganda as I did in ’09 when it first happened… Do you have any other info others could examine for themselves?

Marauder
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy, you’re the one who’s always telling people that no one’s allowed to lie about others on this website. Where’s your source for the “fact” that pro-lifers, or the majority of pro-lifers, don’t want to be sustainers of life and just want to be the ones to make life and death decisions? I’m pro-life and that doesn’t describe me at all.

Whether you agree with pro-lifers or not, it’s more than just a “culture war battle” when people decide they don’t want to support an organization that, in their minds, kills people. Would you want to team up with, say, Westboro Baptist to feed the hungry, if they decided to feed the hungry? No, you’d probably decide to feed the hungry through some other organization or in some other way. Now imagine if Westboro Baptist actually went out and killed people. If you don’t think that abortion is killing a human being, okay – but pro-lifers do. Why would they want to team up with an organization that they believe kills people, in order to do anything?

This subject also doesn’t have anything to do with the purpose of this blog. Additionally, the Mission and Principles of this site says, “We will carefully characterize opposing positions without putting words in anyone’s mouth.” I think saying that the lives of 177 women didn’t matter to pro-lifers is putting some pretty big words in people’s mouths.

Craig
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

So they see breast cancer victims as collateral damage and you see aborted foetuses as collateral damage. I really don’t know, but which side has the higher number of deaths, the foetuses or the adult women?

Priya Lynn
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

“Yet, many conservative evangelicals have been suspicious that newer translations include changes to the meaning of scripture.”.

From what I’ve seen of the New International Version, that is the case. It’s been re-written to support the right wing politics of the translators.

Reed Boyer
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Good ol’ Southern Baptists – born of a desire to oppress and enslave others, and still upholding their version of THAT “ol’ time religion.”

Timothy Kincaid
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Maurader,

Where’s your source for the “fact” that pro-lifers, or the majority of pro-lifers, don’t want to be sustainers of life and just want to be the ones to make life and death decisions? I’m pro-life and that doesn’t describe me at all.

Good question. And I also went with the rather elusive “they”, didn’t I?

To clarify:

It seems to me that within the anti-abortion industry (as opposed to persons who are morally opposed to the practice) there is much emphasis on (as one of the Republican candidates said last night) “removing that choice”. There is significantly less effort spent (in my observation) on providing information, alternatives, or incentive to make another choice.

The approach is clear to me. Zero concern about the situation (or very little) and a great deal of focus on political force. It is, in my estimation, a quest for power that may have originated in a moral objection but now is simply a battlefield in the war over “who gets to dictate the culture and the laws.”

Again, please note that I’m discussing the Culture Warriors, not those of us who find abortion as a contraceptive method to be troubling.

You may seek to justify the decision of the SBC with hypotheticals but it still remains an absurd notion that it is better for women to die of cancer than for them to be tested by an organization that SBC hates.

And, as this is a discussion about a Christian organization, I turn to the example of the founder of the faith. I think it unlikely – verging on impossible – to convince me that Jesus would think that the SBC had its priorities in the right place. Invariably, without exception, He placed the needs of people ahead of the rules, the moral stances, the Levitical dictates, and any other churchy self-righteousness.

If you insist on seeing this as a “moral issue” then I’ll measure it in that context. In this particular case, the ones doing the work of God, the ones being the hands of Christ, are Planned Parenthood.

And finally, If you have a dispute over whether a commentary falls under the purview of this site, please fill out Form A-772: Proper Use of Box Turtle Bulletin Bandwidth in triplicate. The canary copy goes to Jim, the cornflower copy to me, and the pink copy can be shoved into whichever orifice is accommodating.

Mark F.
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy,

Although I’m pro-choice on abortion, I fully understand the decision to cut all ties with an organization that these people believe promotes and participates in mass murder. I’d suggest they find another way to fund breast cancer research and treatment if they wish to do good, however.

Eric
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

I guess to these people being “right” is more important than doing good. It’s the ultimate in self-righteousness.

Scott
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Craig,
With the world population at over 7 billion worldwide. We need to reduce the number of new humans arriving. And as most abortions are in the 1st trimester, which is more important, a fully grown woman or a not fully developed possible human?

The problem is that the religious right is not just homphobic, but misogynistic. They continue to fight against both comphrehensive sex education as well as birth control. The Republicans in charge of Virginia are introducing bills to make hormonal birth control illegal.

So that is why this skirmish in the culture wars is important and still annoying that it has to still be fought.

EOJinDC
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

People say I can be rude and dismissive. However, most of those people want to pull me into their insane arguments. I think the so-called “culture war” is at the top of that list.

There is no culture war, and every time we write about it as though it were more than a term that tested well with focus groups in a certain demographic, we are feeding into the lie. There are no resulting harmful decisions or negative consequences to something that only exists in the minds of people who are hellbent on accumulating power. I can’t think of one single example where anyone I know or know if has said, “I need to be a good soldier in the culture war.”

Instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted by bogey men and panicked lunatics running around claiming that the “sky is falling,” we need to talk about the real issues.

In this case, bigoted, religious zealots are attacking Planned Parenthood through an organization that has an impeccable reputation around the world for leading the fight against breast cancer. This isn’t a war. It’s hateful people denying, potentially, lifesaving medical care to women who might have breast cancer. By being so politically manipulative, they are denying women the freedom of early detection, and we all know that a diagnosis in the early stages of any cancer is critical to survival.

They are trying to make it about abortion, but it’s not. How many mothers, wives, daughters, aunts, best-friends, veterans, and women in our communities are they going to sentence to radiation, chemotherapy, and mastectomies because they are pushing a political agenda. The pro-lifers aren’t about saving lives. They’re about winning votes for a conservative, oppressive agenda.

I’m a Christian, and I pray that our nation stops fighting about abortion because it’s not the issue. The issue is unplanned pregnancies. Lower the rate of unplanned pregnancies, and bam! No more abortion debates.

Similarly, opposition to homosexuality isn’t about the Bible or Christianity. It’s about scaring people into voting a certain way. Opposition to homosexuality is at an all time low. Support for marriage equality is at an all time high and keeps going up. We have openly gay men and women serving in our nation’s armed forces. Why would anyone take seriously the meandering foolishness put forward by a group of people riddled with self-loathing human beings (Ted Haggard)? There is not scientific or medical justification behind their claims that our “lifestyle” is wrong. They base it on a book that was written 2000 years ago, translated from and into multiple languages by fallible human beings, some of whom had their own political agendas.

That’s right, I am a gay Christian, and I do not think the Bible is the “infallible” word of God. How can anyone with a fleeting grasp on reality and the facts believe that to be possible? A better question is why would we waste time debating the merits of our existence with people who wantonly refuse to ignore the mountains of scientific and medical research saying that there’s nothing wrong with us? It make about as much sense to me as arguing with a child about whether or not they can color the grass purple in their coloring book. The only difference is that with a child, they are innocent to the ways of the world. WIth the right-wing adults who would let women die of breast cancer and sentence us to the island of misfit toys, they have to make a deliberate effort to ignore the countless numbers of “ex”gays who say they can’t be cured and the church leaders who have said that they just want to keep homosexual from engaging in the sinful behavior.

There’s no culture war. If there is a war at all, it’s between those who would drag us back to a time when women were drown to prove they we not witches, when ignorance and darkness ruled and those who made an effort to bring light into the world were imprisoned, beheaded, hung or burned alive.

There’s no culture war, but there is a battle waging to protect sanity, enlightenment, and freedom. The right wing isn’t an army. They are like termites eating away at the foundation of progress upon which we’ve built our nation. The founding fathers get a bad rap, but, it’s so easy to look backward in time and judge based on our values 200+ years later. Whatever their faults, they set for us a living, breathing evolving challenge … to build a more perfect union. Perfection is not real. It will never be attained, but to constantly work to advance enlightened goals that benefit “We the People … ” and not just “Me the ignorant … ” is a noble endeavor for which I would gladly fight.

It is not a fight over culture. It is a fight over disperate visions of our nation’s future.The right wants us to squander our natural and intellectual resources, and they cannot identify a unifying goal around which their disperate and contradictory ideas coalesce. But those who would stand against them can say that “We the People …” aspire ” … to build a more perfect union …” and to “insure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity …” Their scattered nefarious acts are the failed ideas that everything which is good about humanity has risen up to defeat for millennia, and it has nothing to do with culture. Our’s is the vision laid out in the nation’s founding documents, by those leaders the world celebrates as heroes, to whom they have built monuments and whose words continue to inspire and motivate us to be our best.

There is no culture war. It was already fought, and their side lost.

PS-Please excuse the typos and errors. I got a little worked up.

Ty
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Chip, here is the latest disclosures, Chic-fil-a still denies the donations even with IRS proof!

http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201111010001

EOJinDC, There is a culture war, one that denies logic and reason over rabid dog frothing at the mouth religion and the more advances we make the harder and dirtier they fight!

I agree, the best way to stop abortion is education, yet these same people who hate abortion do everything they can to prevent sex education! For example in Texas where they teach “abstinence only” sex ed and have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation! They rant that teaching teens about prevention is encouraging them to have sex! That is culture, a religious culture who are immune to knowledge, impervious to fact, and any attempt to educate provokes a victim under attack response. It may seem like splitting hairs but “culture” is by dictionary terms “The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group”, and a valid description of the causes of the “culture war”.

We have not won, it feels like we take one step forward and two steps back, for every state that passed a “marriage equality amendment” 2 or more passed a “defense of marriage act” and the state laws don’t really mean much if they are not federally legal.

Timothy Kincaid
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Ty,

What is your source for teen pregnancies?

Ty
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-01-07-teenbirths_N.htm

Texas ranks 3rd in teen birth rates, however they have a larger population,

for pregnancy

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/state-issues/125059-cdc-finds-stark-regional-disparities-in-teen-pregnancy-rates

again Texas ranks 3rd in the rates but the population is much larger than the other states, Mississippi and New Mexico so they have way more teen pregnancies!

Timothy, do your own research, I am not your administrative assistant! I went through the same thing with you when you claimed Exodus never abused children when youtube and many other sites are FULL of stories! A lawsuit over a teen lesbian who had to ESCAPE the exodus teen program is what finally shut the youth resident program down! Additionally, the AMA, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, U.S. Surgeon General, American Counseling Association, and many others have denounced conversion therapy as damaging and dangerous so your defense of exodus against abuse claims is ABSURD!

Timothy Kincaid
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Ty,

Thank you for providing sources on the Texas claim.

But as to Exodus, literally everything you wrote above is false. Just… false.

I appreciate your zeal, but man do you ever need to check google before you comment.

Jim Burroway
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

Ty,

Your enthusiasm is commendable, but your grasp of facts is lacking. But hang in there, because you’re learning.

We’ve been following the ex-gay movement for many years, and Exodus in particular. We have met with people who are in the movement, as well as those who have survived it and come out as gay. We know personally people who used to hold leadership positions in ex-gay ministries but who now are among its many critics. We are well aware of the statements from professional organizations, and we are also well aware of the harms that many people who have undergone ex-gay therapy have experienced.

Timothy, do your own research, I am not your administrative assistant!

No. You do your own research before commenting. That’s what our comments policy require — that claims be substantiated. It’s what sets BTB apart from other blogs. We expect people to be able to back up their claims and not come blowing in here repeating whatever rumors, misinformation, or misunderstandings that they may have picked up elsewhere. And so when a claim sounds odd, we or any of our commenters can challenge the person making the claim to back it up. This happens all the time here, because we (the writers and our readers) insist on accuracy. So please don’t take it personally.

And I would like to point out that Timothy’s challenge to you to provide a source proved to be an educational experience for you — at least I hope so, once you remember what is meant by “rates” — it means the numbers are already adjusted for population. Which means Texas has the third highest rate, not the highest rate as you first claimed. See? Wasn’t that research exercise valuable to you? You made a claim that was factually incorrect, but now that you know the truth, you can confidently point out that Texas has the third highest teen birth rate of the fifty states because now you have the data to back it up.

Having done that, now I am going to have to ask for substantiation of “A lawsuit over a teen lesbian who had to ESCAPE the exodus teen program.”

Rob in San Diego
December 16th, 2011 | LINK

WOW, reading your bullet point made me think of either 2 things, they were all linked in 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon, or it’s some weird thing made up by Glen Beck link things together.

Jaft
December 17th, 2011 | LINK

Chip – ahh, I see. Sorry about that

Marauder
December 18th, 2011 | LINK

In the past, I’ve linked people who cite false and homophobic statistics to this site, and I’ve liked reading it. However, if this site is turning from one that tries to be civil and rational to one where a writer basically tells me to shove something up my ass and the editor doesn’t bother to call him on it, it’s on the verge of turning into a hypocritical joke. I’m done.

Donny D.
December 19th, 2011 | LINK

I don’t have a problem with items reflecting negatively on the anti-abortion crowd being posted here from time to time.

Donny D.
December 19th, 2011 | LINK

Richard Rush wrote

And did you ever notice how pro-lifers are always among the most enthusiastically dependable cheer-leaders for every war and capital punishment (although Catholics seem to have more consistency than many others on life issues).

No, I haven’t noticed that. Some pro-lifers are down the line secular conservatives, and some are not. Some are serious about being pro-life, often specifically in regard to war or the death penalty. So no, I’ve not noticed that pro-lifers are always the most pro-war and pro-death penalty.

However, the theologically conservative milieux from which pro-life sentiment come tend to show great discomfort around female sexuality. I simply don’t see these people as being big champions in the fight against ailments that attack the female productive system. I think Timothy’s criticism is completely on target here.

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