Posted May 17, 2012 | comments 4 Comments

Letters to the Editor

God is opposed to homosexuality

Leonard Pitts, in his op-ed piece "The Bible and Homosexuality (May 4), cites a video by 22-year-old Matthew Vines, "The Gay Debate: The Bible And Homosexuality," in his contention that some "hide inside the Bible."

Vines arguments are nothing new. He sets up a series of straw men designed to distract listeners from the facts. A common straw man is the use of "homophobes," and "homophobia," designed to distract from the fact that most of those who are against homosexuality are not afraid of homosexuals, but love them and are genuinely concerned for the welfare of their souls and their health. Another is one referenced by Pitts, which is that "the frequently quoted condemnation ... from the Old Testament law book ... has no application to Christians, who are bound by the .. . New Testament."

The Old Testament should not be used as the sole authority, but it can be used to show that God has always been opposed to homosexuality, and to corroborate a New Testament exegesis.

Another straw man is based on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Vines contends that none of the original languages of the bible had a word that means or corresponds to the English word for gay. True, but, the New King James Version says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Twenty one textual scholars combined their efforts to produce the New King James Version. They held respected positions at a number of respected universities and seminaries, with several centuries of combined scholarly and academic experience in the study of the Greek language and manuscripts of the biblical texts. These men are surely more qualified to translate the original languages than Vine, who spent two years researching and studying whether or not the bible condemns homosexuality. It still does, and he has done nothing to change that.

L. John Bost, Strasburg

If I were president of the United States

If were elected president of the United, States, I would appoint Barack Obama ambassador to Egypt.

There would no longer be any union bosses. The "boss" would be a representative of the union to present their case for a wage increase or benefits to Congress, which would vote "yes" or "no" to the union's request.

If the corporation's CEO says they will shut down and go to a foreign country, Congress will decide "yes" or "no" to protect the jobs of the workers. If the corporation begins to lose money, Congress must vote a subsidy to keep the corporation in America...or let it go overseas.

I would cut military spending by 10 percent. I would freeze salaries of CEOs at $330,000 per year. The board of directors may not be larger than 12 and their fees may not be greater than a total of $100,000 per year. Any appropriation for new inventions to increase energy must be paid back in 10 years.

We must encourage more use of manpowered vehicles on safely designed roads for workers within four miles of their jobs.

The banks must return to the National Bank Charter system, which has specific rules to follow, and they are required to be audited annually.

Congress must restore funds to the Social Security Fund that were removed in previous years for "pork." All federal government pensions for members who served 1968-2011 must have their pensions cut by 10 percent to help restore the Social Security Fund.
All net income above $15,000 must be taxed at 5 percent for individuals and corporations. All prepaid taxes such as sales tax may be deducted from total income.

Kenton Gambill, Strasburg

Regional jail opponent takes case to governor

This comes down to dollars and cents. This doesn't make sense, but it sure will spend a lot of taxpayer dollars.

April 30, 2012, I, Cindy Bailey and two other opponents met with Gov. Bob McDonnell's Director of Policy Development and Deputy Counselor, Jeff Palmore, regarding budgetary concerns and the RSW Regional Jail Project. A 30-minute meeting extended to 90, painted a bleak picture for Shenandoah County's economy.

Numerous discrepancies plague the regional jail project. A packet the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors recently shared with taxpayers only gave 2007-2009 costs for the regional jail - Shenandoah County's share, $13.8 million.

Supervisors neglected to share new costs provided by Davenport, the financial adviser for the uuthority, from 2011 and early 2012, showing Shenandoah County's share increasing to more than $20 million. Do Rappahannock taxpayers know their true financial obligation?

Shenandoah County's progressive board has skewed numbers regarding this project, not only with taxpayers but with Del. Todd Gilbert, Sen. Mark Obenshain and Gov. McDonnell.

The regional jail cost is more than $71.7 million; yearly operating cost to Shenandoah County, $3.6 million! Shenandoah County board of supervisors recently passed a resolution to borrow $89 million to finance construction of the regional jail, with flexibility to go to $100 million. The resolution clause in the RSW Regional Jail Authority Agreement states, "In the event the Commonwealth does not agree to fund 50 percent of the anticipated eligible construction cost, the authority shall not proceed to construct the Regional Jail unless approval is received from the governing bodies of each of the Member Jurisdictions."

This resolution was suggested by Sheriff Tim Carter and demanded by taxpayers to protect the amount of our obligation, because no local cap has been placed on this project. The state cap is $32.8 million, well below the 50 percent we were promised. Davenport has already reported state funding will be below 45 percent. Additional unknown costs include architectural fees, water, sewer, travel.

Cindy Bailey, Woodstock

4 Comments | Leave a comment

    The dispute about homosexualty and the bible between Leonard Pitts and John Bost is irrelevent. The bible was written by scientificly ignorant men who thought the earth was flat and the sun orbited the earth To base such an important human rights issue on such flimsy facts is ridicuous. Science and reason trump blind faith any day.

    Mr. Bost takes great effort to explain the huge labor taken to translate ancient texts without ever addressing the simple fact many of the works being translated were written several hundred years after the events being reported. The simple fact is that the New Testament, as we know it, is a helter-skelter accumulation of more or less discordant documents, some of them probably of respectable origin but others palpably apocryphal, and that most of them, the good along with the bad, show unmistakable signs of having been tampered with, just as the script of the Old Testament is riddled with dreams and with astrology (the sun standing still so that Joshua can complete his massacre at a site that has never been located), so the Christian bible is full of star-predictions (notably the one over Bethlehem) and witch doctors and sorcerers. Many of the sayings and deeds of Jesus are innocuous, most especially the "beatitudes" which express such fanciful wish-thinking about the meek and the peacemakers. But many are unintelligible and show a belief in magic, several are absurd and show a primitive attitude to agriculture (this extends to all mentions of plowing and sowing, and all allusions to mustard or fig trees), and many are on the face of it flat-out immoral. The analogy of humans to lilies, for instance, suggests - along with many other injunctions - that things like thrift, innovation, family life, and so forth are a sheer waste of time. ("Take no thought for the morrow.") This is why some of the Gospels, canonical and apocryphal, report people (including his family members) saying at the time that they thought Jesus must be mad. There were also those who noticed that he was often a rather rigid Jewish sectarian: in Matthew 15:21-28 we read of his contempt for a Canaanite woman who implored his aid for an exorcism and was brusquely told that he would not waste his energy on a non-Jew. However, the impressive fact remains that all religions have staunchly resisted any attempt to translate their sacred texts into languages "understanded of the people," as the Cranmer prayer book phrases it. There would have been no Protestant Reformation if it were not for the long struggle to have the Bible rendered into the vernacular and the priestly monopoly therefore broken. Devout men like Wycliffe, Coverdale, and Tyndale were burned alive for even attempting early translations. The Catholic Church has never recovered from its abandonment of the mystifying Latin ritual, and the Protestant mainstream has suffered hugely from rendering its own Bibles into more everyday speech. Some mystical Jewish sects still insist on Hebrew and play Kabbalistic word games even, incredibly, with the spaces between letters, but among most Jews, too, the supposedly unchangeable rituals of antiquity have been abandoned. The spell of the clerical class has been broken. Only in Islam has there been no reformation, and to this day any vernacular version of the Koran must still be printed with an Arabic parallel text. This ought to arouse suspicion even in the slowest mind.

    Mr. Bost references these arduous translations as the final word on homosexuality, as if the opinions were spoken yesterday. In the recent division in the Anglican Church over homosexuality and ordination, several bishops made the fatuous point that homosexuality is "unnatural" because it does not occur in other species. Leave aside the fundamental absurdity of this observation: are humans part of "nature" or not? Or, if they chance to be homosexual, are they created in god's image or not? Leave aside the well-attested fact that numberless kinds of birds and mammals and primates do engage in homosexual play. Who are the clerics to interpret nature? They have shown themselves quite unable to do so. A condom is, quite simply, a necessary but not a sufficient condition for avoiding the transmission of AIDS. All qualified authorities, including those who state that abstinence is even better, are agreed on this. Homosexuality is present in all societies, and its incidence would appear to be part of human "design." We must perforce confront these facts as we find them. We now know that the bubonic plague was spread not by sin or moral backsliding but by rats and fleas. Archbishop Lancelot Andrewes, during the celebrated "Black Death" in London in 1665, noticed uneasily that the horror fell upon those who prayed and kept the faith as well as upon those who did not. He came perilously close to stumbling upon a real point.

    A few years ago an argument broke out in my hometown of Washington, D.C. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has long been known as a sexually transmitted infection that, at its worst, can cause cervical cancer in women. A vaccine is now available - these days, vaccines are increasingly swiftly developed - not to cure this malady but to immunize women against it. But there were forces in the prudish Bush administration who opposed the adoption of this measure on the grounds that it fails to discourage premarital sex. To accept the spread of cervical cancer in the name of god is no different, morally or intellectually, from sacrificing these women on a stone altar and thanking the deity for giving us the sexual impulse and then condemning it. The Bush administration also harbored the belief that the AIDS plague is in some sense a verdict from heaven upon sexual deviance - in particular upon homosexuality.

    A single stroke of reason eviscerates this half-baked savagery; female homosexuals not only do not contract AIDS (except if they are unlucky with a transfusion or a needle), they are also much freer of all venereal infection than even heterosexuals. Yet clerical authorities persistently refuse to be honest about even the existence of the lesbian. In doing so, they further demonstrate that religion continues to pose an urgent threat to public health.

    The Vatican, and its vast network of dioceses, has in the past decade alone been forced to admit complicity in a huge racket of child rape and child torture, mainly but by no means exclusively homosexual, in which known pederasts and sadists masquerading as priests were shielded from the law and reassigned to parishes where the pickings of the innocent and defenseless were often richer.

    At the very extreme edge of homophobia can be found the primeval puritanism of the Taliban, which devoted itself to discovering new things to forbid (everything from music to recycled paper, which might contain a tiny fleck of pulp from a discarded Koran) and new methods of punishment, especially for homosexuals who would be buried alive.

    The alternative to these grotesque homophobic phenomena is not the chimera of secular dictatorship, but the defense of secular pluralism and of the right not to believe or be compelled to believe that human sexual preferences are limited to one church approve configuration.

    Nature emphatically disagrees the church is infallible when promoting its rigid, singular interpretation of what constitutes human sexuality.

    Religion poisons everything.


    Actually, Mr. Bost, there were 130 translators for the NKJV, and it only took them only 4 years to translate the entire New Testament. They said nothing new about the verses studied by Mr. Vines, and the fact that he took 2 years while using their work, as well as the work of all the other translations, and came up with very plausible translation issues and good questions for thinking folks is much more impressive to me. You seem to have no questions at all, so may God bless you as you enjoy your life.

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