Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lincoln, Augustine and Bible Abuse

Last night I had the unique experience to question author and scholar Garry Wills about two of his most notable (but diverse) subjects: Abraham Lincoln and St. Augustine.

I stood in front of his autograph-signing table, nervous because I didn’t have his Pulitzer prize-winning title Lincoln at Gettysburg on hand to sign.

“Just one question, please, ah, Lincoln and Augustine…and original sin,” I blurted, hoping he would somehow know what I meant.

“Do you mean if Lincoln believed in it?”

“Well, yeah.” I felt like an awkward teenager.

He shook his head with determination.

“NO. I don’t.”

So there you have it: the Great Emancipator and champion of equality didn’t believe “equal, but born in sin” like biblical literalists or “Father of the Church” St. Augustine (who actually thought literalists were stupid).
The point is: some people use the Bible as a weapon. They did it to protect slavery. They shot verses against abolitionists with deadly aim. They abused Jews and women throughout history. From “a servant shall obey his master” to “man shall not lie with man as with a woman,” literalists have fashioned vitriol out of verses for purposes of power and hatred. Bible Abuse is twofold: it abuses both humanity and the Bible itself.

Today is “Bloggers Against Abuse” day.
Bible abuse is real.

Stop the abuse.