A Lawsuit of Biblical Proportions: Christian Publisher Sued for Allegedly Homophobic Translation of Bible

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Christian publisher Zondervan is facing a $60 million federal lawsuit for allegedly homophobia and prejudicial translations of the Bible. by a man who claims he and other homosexuals have suffered based on what the suit claims is a misinterpretation of the Bible. Bradley Fowler has sued the publisher despite the fact that it is not the translator.

Fowler focuses on the translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 — and notes that homosexuals are listed “wicked” or “unrighteous” and barred from the kingdom of heaven.

A typical such translation reads “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9-10; NKJV).”

Fowler insists that $60 million and an apology is needed “To compensate for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability,” Fowler told 24 Hour News 8 in a phone interview.

He insists that Zondervan Bibles published in the 1980s use the word homosexuals but that it dropped in later editions.

It is a frivolous lawsuit that in flawed on a variety of levels. People are allowed to interrupt Biblical passages as they see fit. It is certainly not the domain of courts to resolve such theological debates.

For the full story, click here.

60 thoughts on “A Lawsuit of Biblical Proportions: Christian Publisher Sued for Allegedly Homophobic Translation of Bible”

  1. Bob,
    you might be right but have you tasted our gefilte fish? Heavenly.

  2. “Then how would you account for the 140 or so contradictions in the unerring, divine text,”

    Like those defamatory remarks about the frogs?

    Face it; without the frogs, Moses and the Jews weren’t going anywhere.

  3. Any person who doesn’t believe that all religious texts have been “edited” by the decree of the politically powerful at a given time, see Council of Nicea, for their own specific needs is at best naive. This is not a knock of religion. Paraphrasing Rabbi Hillel’s definition of the meaning of the Torah (Five books of Moses) “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you….all the rest is commentary.” The haters and egotists seeking power through religion, parse the content until they find the backing for their particular vitriol.

  4. Bartlebee:

    “The Gospels themselves, date back to at or around the time of the deaths of the first apostles, thus, thats pretty good intel, from a historical perspective.”
    *****************

    Then how would you account for the 140 or so contradictions in the unerring, divine text, some as simple as:

    Man was created after the other animals
    Gen 1:25,26,27
    Man was created before the other animals
    Gen 2:18,19

    And my personal favorite:

    All scripture is inspired
    2 Tim 3:16
    Some scripture is not inspired
    1 Cor 7:6/ 1 Cor 7:12/ 2 Cor 11:17

    I wouldn’t send you out into the night with intel like that.

  5. The real problem I see today, is that the masses seem to prefer someone to “tell them” what the Bible says, rather than actually reading it, for themselves.

    Christians, partiuclarly the new branch of pseudo-Christianity, referred to as the Evangelical Christians, do not encourage their members to actually focus on the words of Christ, who’s name after all they claim to bear.

    Instead, they focus on the Old Testament, and minutia they find in Treatises, and Epistles, which have little to do with the “new law” delivered by Jesus. The “good news” as it were.

    I strongly recommend, that anyone calling themselves Christian, seriously considering their beliefs, faith, etc, run down to their nearest Christian bookstore, and purchase a “Red Letter” edition of the King James Bible.

    The Red Letter edition, first printed in 1900, was the invention of Louis Klopsch, editor of a Christian publication. The idea was simple.

    Put the actual words attributed to Jesus, in red letters, to make them stand out for the reader. And a great idea it was. Because most people skim over the words of Jesus, and focus on the minutia their pastors and priests steer them too, so as to permit the type of Christianity we have today in the form of Evangelicalism, which teaches you can love your neighbor on Sunday, and drop a 500 pound bomb on them, on Monday.

    When the evangelicals realize that their gospel, is no gospel, but a gospel of hate, and has nothing to do with the actual teachings of Christ, then perhaps they’ll start to get their act together, and come out of the dark ages, and start doing some good in peoples lives, instead of perpetuating the hate.

  6. Also, I think its important to point out that the “oral law”, you are referring to, is likely the Oral Torah, which is were most of the “piddly” laws came from.

    How many steps to walk on Saturday, which insects are “unclean”, and other minutia referenced in the written Torah, but expounded on in the “Oral Torah”. The “books” themselves, were carefully written by highly educated “Scribes” who were carful to change nothing, from generation to generation. In fact, the original term “Sefer Torah”, literally means “Law that is Written”.

    Understanding a little about Jewish tradition, beliefs and understanding helps us to understand the books we have today, that make up the cannonized version of the Old Testament, as found in the King James Bible. Each word and marking, even the most minute, was considered “sacred”, and thus had unique spiritual meanings, and lessons, thus changes were not tolerated throughout the years.

  7. Rich
    1, July 10, 2008 at 10:49 am
    The fundies forget that the Bible was kept “orally” for centuries. This further erodes the status of the Bible as the “divine Word”.

    ——————

    Not so. At least, not so that the concept of the oral tradition implies inaccurate transference of the information.

    You’re confusing the “divinity” with the accuracy of the records.

    The accuracy of the records has little to do with whether they contain “divine” content or not. Thats a matter for the reader to conclude, and something best left in the realm of the personal “spiritual” beliefs, and not taken into context with regards to accuracy of the records as to their written content.

    Oral traditions of early Judean scholars, were quite rigid, and followed strict guidelines. They were openly taught in religious schooling, and recited in the form of a “chant” or “mantra”. Deviations were not therefore, something lightly introduced, and the likelyhood of so much as an adjective being altered over a 500 year period, was unlikely. These were the sort of mantra’s one might here at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. They were not “word of mouth” as you, and modern civilization understands it.

    And by the way, it wasn’t “ALL” oral tradition.

    There were many scribes among the Sanhedrin, and in the temples, sacred history’s were being constantly recorded. Where did you think the early authors got the information for the original codices?

    This is a common misconception about the Bible, and its accuracy as far as what was actually written, and what we have today.

    The Gospels themselves, date back to at or around the time of the deaths of the first apostles, thus, thats pretty good intel, from a historical perspective.

  8. Clark Bunch:

    I read your post here and I was then off to your blog. It appears to me that you have a religious-centered notion of things. On your blog, I read your epistle on the Separation of Church and State and thought it might be of interest here so I am responding in this forum. I am surprised by your belief that the Separation of Church and State is some quaint little Jeffersonian notion that only burst upon the scene as political philosophy when its was “discovered” in an old letter to the Danbury Baptists during the 1950’s.

    As a little history refresher, the concept of separation of Church and State has its origins in ancient times, but the most relevant exponent to our democracy was John Locke, who also brought you such other quaint notions as the social contract and liberal democracy with a restrained government. Jefferson did indeed explain the concept in a well thought out letter to the good churchmen of Danbury but it was by no means lost to the ages until 1950. The US Supreme Court used the term as early as 1878 (Reynolds v. United States), though its main discussions of the concept came in a series of cases starting in 1947 (Justice Hugo Black as its main proponent). James Madison also wrote of the total separation of church and state, and it served as the bedrock for the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom which Madison supported and Jefferson wrote. President John Tyler also used the term in a letter in 1843. Jefferson’s letters were not “lost,” and his letter to the Danbury Baptists was known and cited many times before 1950.

    The basis exposition of the concept was announced by Justice Black in Everson v. Board of Education:

    “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.'” 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.”

  9. The fundies forget that the Bible was kept “orally” for centuries. This further erodes the status of the Bible as the “divine Word”.

  10. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9-10; NKJV).”

    Now that’s a class action suit!


  11. “For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones”

    Matthew 23:27

  12. And I also challenge evangelical Christians, to examine closely their motives.

    After all, if Jesus clearly did not like the religious people of his time getting together to threaten (only threaten mind you) stoning a woman to death for being caught in adultery, then how do you think he would find the evangelical Christian groups today as they stand outside of US Courthouses carrying signs saying “death to fags”?

    Ever consider that did you?

    I have a suggestion.

    Try putting down the beer, picking up your bible, turning it to the ONLY 4 books in it that contain the words, and instructions of the man you claim to follow, and READ.

    Read what Jesus actually said.

    Forget about the Torah (the parts of the Old Testament you guys focus on). Unless you’re Jewish, the Law of Moses doesn’t really apply to you (unless you want to start counting how many footsteps you take on Saturday).

    Forget the epistles, and Revelations. These are books that had specific meanings for their time. Mostly arguments among the various sects over which hand to wipe their butts with, and other trivial matters, mingled with a little doctrine, mostly recently invented, or handed over from the Torah, and focus on the only 4 books that should matter to you.

    The other stuff is interesting, has some good stories, but until you can master your masters words, and follow the law HE gave you, then why in Gods name would you waste your time worrying about which brand of Chuck Taylors Peter wore to Church on Sunday?

    The gospels there. In four, cannonized books. The words date back to the lives of the apostles who’s name they bear, hence are probably the best eyewitness accounts of what Jesus actually came here to tell you.

    And newsflash.

    What you guys have been doing publicly over the past few years, ain’t it.

  13. This of course is only one example. The gospels are thick with such stories. The Parable of the Prodigal. The Unjust Steward. The Sermon on the Mount.

    In all of his teachings, Jesus always chastised the condemer, and favored the condemed.

    He made it clear that the outwardly religious, were further from his gospel, than those who did not profess it, or even accept it, but lived it, in their daily dealings with others.

    There were no magic secrets, no great requirements, other than, love others, be nice, get along, do no harm, help the sick, the widowed, the downtrodden, the prisoners, anyone on the downside, lift them up. Don’t hold grudges, forgive easy, learn to work with your enemies, and leave people better than you found them.

    THAT was it. That was the entire gospel, with regards to instructional material, in a nutshell. And I will here, as I have on many occasions, challenge any evangelical Christians, or any bible scholars for that matter, to prove me wrong.

    They won’t be able to, but its always fun to watch them try.

  14. Correction. I was dyslexic as to the origin of the story.

    Its “not” a parable, but a narrative, and its found “outside” of the Synoptic gospels, in the gospel of St John.

  15. I think the problem here of course is the evangelical Christians go looking for it, and thus ridiculous suits like this, are likley to crop up from time to time.

    Think about it.

    Who did Jesus not like?

    Who did he “pick on” all the time?

    Well, if you actually “read” the bible, you will know that it was the relgious pious, who spent their time focusing on condemning sin in others, while not, as it were, beholding the beam in their own eyes. Or more specifically, the religious leaders of his time.

    Leaders who were focused on, oh say… sexual trangressions.

    Take for example the woman who Jesus confronted in the temple, near the Mount of Olives. The Sanhedrin council thought to confound Jesus, and brought to him a woman caught in the very act of adultery, and placed her before him in the temple court, for judgment.

    This was merely polticial posturing of course, designed to entrap Jesus and thus dissuade the masses currently listening at his feet, as to the validity of his divinity. While the Law of Moses permitted for her being stoned to death, as adultery was punishable by death, and stoning was the method, they in fact had no likley intention of carrying it out. Adultery was more commen than one might think, and most of the Sandhedrin leaders no doubt dabbled in the forbidden on regular occasion, not to mention Roman law, under which they were currently at the mercy of, forbade the Jewish people from practicing capital punishment of its citizens, even though it permitted for the dispening of justice for most other civil and criminal matters.

    So the intent was clear. Entrap Jesus in a typical, almost Rovian trap, of demanding an answer from this new prophet, in front of his followers, that would be used against him, no matter which way he went.

    On the one hand, permitting her to live demonstrated he was “weak on crime”, and thus would be used to dissuade the more pious of the Jewish people from following him.

    And on the other hand, if he followed the law, they would be able to dismiss his new “turn the other cheek” gospel, and thus dismiss him as a false prophet.

    Jesus of course, being somewhat smarter than the average bear, stooped in the sand, and began to draw something with a stick (would you love to know what?), until finally, rising, facing the mob, and declaring, “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”.

    And just like that, this amazingly gifted public speaker, put an end to their little ploy. Like withering sheep, so the story goes, they each one by one,sensing their own guilt, and not wanting to publically be challenged, dropped their rocks (the mob rallied by the Sanhedrin, much like the political parties today bus in supporters to intimidate the opposition), and sulked off into obscurity.

    And what did we learn from this story?

    Quite simple actually.

    No great mysteries. No supernatural theories.

    What we learned from this parable, that is found in the Synoptic gospels, is that Jesus, doesn’t like tattle-tales.

  16. Of course try explaining that to a evangelical Christian.

    😐

    Might as well try to explain “Red Shift” to a Chimpanzee.

  17. The Irony here, is that those so loudly condemning homosexuality based on their religions, are the Christians. The Evangelical Christians.

    Yet, in his entire recorded ministry, Jesus didn’t think to mention it once.

    Not once.

    😐

    If it was considered a sin, it must have not been a very important one.

  18. That’s a new twist: we don’t like what the Bible says, so let’s sue the publisher. What he needs to do is sue God. Who is God to tell us what sin is in the first place? Who is he to decide who can go heaven? What is he, almighty or something?

    Unfortunately one can’t sue God. We might say he presides over a “higher court.” I’m making light of the situation, because what I want to do is rant and scream; this is ridiculous. Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible. Romans one is pretty clear in any translation I’m aware of. The Bible publisher Zondervan hasn’t caused this man grief; his homosexual behavior which goes against the laws of God and nature have brought him grief. That’s like sueing the police officer who wrote a ticket for speeding, claiming that paying the fine and getting points on your lisence caused emotional trama.

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