Looking for a Few Good Christians
by Norm R. Allen Jr.
In the wake of shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, many Christians have proposed religious solutions to the problems confronting American youth. They have proposed mandatory prayers in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in schools, and so forth. They have called for censorship of violent movies, video games, music videos, television programs, and so on.
These Christians are understandably concerned about the negative influences in the lives of American youth. They can take a leading role, however, where censorship is concerned. To show that they are consistent and seriously committed to the elimination of violent messages directed at young people, they must begin their censorship campaign with the Bible.
Much of the mainstream media have played a role in the glorification of violence. Historically, there have been more people killed in the name of the Bible and other sacred texts, however, than have been killed as a direct result of negative messages in the popular culture. After all, it is not often that a Hollywood mogul or rock star initiates a bloody holy war. Bible addicts and other holy rollers, though, have killed millions in the name of God.
Besides, if censorship is necessary, it should begin at home. Leading biblical scholars and theologians should ban the Bible altogether or re-write much of it for the sake of our children. In the First (Old) Testament, even infants and toddlers were slaughtered in the name of God. Thousands of Midianites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites, and others were "utterly" destroyed by the chosen people of the perfectly loving God (for example, see Deuteronomy 20:17). Are Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, Gideon, and other biblical heroes appropriate for children today?
Many rock stars such as Marilyn Manson have been accused of worshipping Satan. The Bible frowns upon such a practice. The good book is especially hard on witches. According to Exodus 22:18, "You shall not allow a sorceress to live."
Today many Christians are going bonkers because Wiccans are practicing their natural religion in the military. They are accused of being evil witches, and many intolerant Christians insist that Wiccans should not have the right to practice their religion in the military. Some Wiccans have reported receiving threatening phone calls and e-mail messages from angry Christians.
Fanatical Christians have burned numerous alleged witches in the past. Today women accused of practicing witchcraft are being killed and imprisoned in parts of Africa. Should not children be protected from these savage biblical notions?
Chattel slavery no longer exists in most parts of the world. The beating of slaves, however, is condoned in the Second (New) Testament. In Luke 12: 47-48 the flogging of slaves is condoned, in some cases, with "many lashes." Is it a good idea to implant such barbaric ideas in the minds of impressionable children?
Jesus, the "Prince of Peace," must certainly be a great role model for children. Then again, maybe not. He taught his followers to turn the other cheek and return hate with love. Why, then, did he say that he came to bring not peace, but the sword (Matthew 10:34)? Indeed, in Luke 19:27 we read: "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence." Thank God he never contradicted himself!
Christ undoubtedly was not much of a babysitter. Foreshadowing the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, he offered this gem of wisdom in Luke 16:17-18: "these signs will accompany those who have believed [in me]. . . . They will pick up serpents, and if they will drink any poison, it shall not hurt them. . . ." It is downright unconscionable to subject children-and grown-up religious nuts-to such madness.
It is time for brave Christians to come forward. Who will lead the courageous fight to censor the Bible? Christians must show the world they are serious about eradicating negative influences that lead to violence and death-no matter where those influences originate. To show that they have no bias toward their sacred text, they could form an organization called "Christians Opposed to Religious Hypocrisy." Their motto could be: "Just say no to religious double standards."
If Christians clean up their own act by censoring or re-writing the Bible, maybe Hollywood will follow their lead. It's worth a shot (metaphorically speaking, of course)!
Norm R. Allen Jr. is the executive director of African Americans for