Gagging Scripture and Scripture's Author...
(Tim) I've long believed that Christians are foolish to leave Scripture out of debates in the public square--most often from a misguided sense that quoting God's Word is offensive and carries little or no weight. But what could carry more weight than the Word of God written? Who could carry more weight than our Creator? The Apostle Paul wasn't squeamish about resting his argument on Genesis 1 when he spoke to the Areopagus.
This doesn't mean I think it unwise to make arguments from nature, but when at least half of the citizens of this representative constitutional democracy believe God's Word is God's words, keeping the Bible out of the public square is foolish.
Which brings us to the subject of this post. Here's an e-mail exchange between Scott Tibbs and the editor of our local paper's letters to the editor. If two transvestites take off their wigs in public protest of three bass getting shredded when a speedboat's propeller exceeded DNR regulations for size and speed...it's front page news in Bloomington's Herald-Times. (One reader expressed shock that this had happened. It hadn't. I tried to make up an example so absurd that no one would take it seriously. I failed.)
When a hundred and fifty show up on the Courthouse lawn to protest the slaughter of unborn babies going on a couple blocks away, though, it's either not covered at all or it's covered as a human interest story.
This gives our good readers some idea of the humanitarian commitments of the editorial staff of our local paper.
But the low can go lower, and here we see the implementation of the new Herald-Times policy concerning the quoting of Scripture in letters to the editor: you can't quote Scripture. At all. Ever. For any reason. Of course, that's not the actual policy, but if you look at the implementation, you know either the editor of the letters to the editor got it wrong or what they say their policy is and what it is in fact are two different things.
This is where we find ourselves in these United States. Christians have run scared from quoting God's Word as their authority at work, in school, at the university, in doctoral dissertations, in debates on the floor of legislatures, and in legal briefs and opinions; meanwhile, the pagans quote Kinsey, Ghandi, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Dawkins, and Plato. All this while well over half of the citizens of this representative constitutional democracy believe the Bible is the words of God written.
Take note, dear ones. Here's the next step in seperation of church and state. Of course, there will be some deaf, dumb, and blind ones who protest that this has nothing at all to do with seperation of church and state, but leave them be. They have the nation they want.
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On January 1, 2011, Scott Tibbs submitted the following letter to the editor of the Bloomington Herald-Times:
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court threw out state laws against abortion, opening the floodgates to a bloodbath that is unprecedented in human history. Thirty eight years later, fifty million unborn children have been butchered by America's abortion industry.
There is a lot of discussion about politicians "working together" to get things done. How can we find common ground on abortion? Where is the common ground between life and death? There can be none. There are only two choices, separated by a wide gulf. There is no middle ground between allowing murder and banning it.
Most shameful is that the Democrats on both the Bloomington City Council and the Monroe County Council have decided to give thousands of dollars of our taxes to Planned Parenthood, America's #1 abortion provider which reported over $1 billion in revenue and a profit of $85 million in their fiscal report. The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.
Proverbs 24:11-12 commands us to "rescue those being led away to death." Please send the message that abortion is not welcome in a safe and civil city by attending the 2011 Rally for Life on Sunday, January 23 at 2:00 pm at the Monroe County Courthouse.
On January 4th, the editor of the letters to the editor page responded:
From: Rebecca Troyer <email@example.com>
To: (Scott Tibbs)
Sent: Tue, January 4, 2011 9:59:48 AM
Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor from HeraldTimesOnline.com
We’ll either have to take the quote from Proverbs out or run this on our religion page. What’s your preference?
On January 5th, Scott Tibbs responded:
The letter I submitted falls within the editorial page guidelines as established by Mr. Zaltsberg in an editorial on April 5, 2010. The relevant portion of Mr. Zaltsberg's editorial is quoted below.
"Letters that simply attempt to interpret the Bible will no longer be published in The Herald-Times editorial pages.
"That does not mean the Bible or an interpretation of it will never again be allowed in the letters column. But the reference to the Bible must be part of a larger argument or opinion about an issue of some current relevance."
My letter speaks to a contemporary public policy issue. Furthermore, it addresses an upcoming local event, and decisions by local government on how public funds are spent. The quote from Proverbs is a small part of the overall letter.
If the Herald-Times has implemented a new policy that states Scriptural references are not permitted in letters to the editor even when connected to debate over a public policy issue, please remove the quote from Proverbs so it can be published as a LTTE.
If that is the case, I strongly encourage Mr. Zaltsberg to write another editorial announcing the change in policy so Herald-Times readers will know what the new guidelines are.
But if the policy has not changed, please publish my letter as written.
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To e-mail the paper's publisher, Mayer Maloney.
To e-mail the paper's editor, Bob Zaltsberg.