Friday, October 28, 2005

In Context

Here's something amusing. Hop on over to Bible Gateway and search the bible for something. "Poor", for example.

Now examine your results, which are broken up by individual scripture. There are three links for each scripture: one that will only show you the single scripture, one that will also show you the preceding and following verses ("in context"), and one that will show you the entire chapter ("whole chapter").

I like Bible Gateway. It's handy for finding things, it looks nice, and it's free. But there seems to be something fundamentally wrong with their labeling. Since when is three Bible verses "in context"? I mean, check out these three verses:

16 "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Now if you didn't know what was going on in the passage from Numbers, you might think that God was telling the Israelites to massacre a bunch of people, except of course the pretty young virgins. But if you read the entire chapter, you realize that the passage is actually saying that ... um ... God told the Israelites to massacre a bunch of people, except of course the pretty young virgins.

Nevermind. Bad example. We'll talk about interpreting the Old Testament another time.

What I meant to say was, when it comes to interpreting things, three verses aren't much different than one verse. Three verses certainly aren't going to give you any idea about what the author is trying to do in the book at large. The Entire Chapter may not even give you that.

So to be more accurate, I suggest that the Bible Gateway people change their labels to the following:

1 verse:
Prooftexters Click Here!!

3 verses:
Southern Baptists Click Here!!

Entire Chapter:

Suck It Up And Read the Book, Willya?

For more amusement, those of you who searched for "poor" should notice the number of results that returned, and then do a search for "homosexual".

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Proposition 2

For those of you who aren't aware, there's a special election in Texas this November. One of the items on the ballot is a so-called "protection of marriage" amendment. Just wanted to share some of the reasons that this is a bad idea.

1. Amending the Texas constitution is unnecessary.

Texas already has laws prohibiting same-sex marriages. An amendment would add to the number of laws in Texas without adding to their substance. If legislators expected these laws to be overturned because they are discriminatory, a constitutional amendment might be effective. However, based on the fact that every member on the Texas Supreme Court is elected, and every one is also a Republican, an amendment is unnecessary.

2. Amending the Texas constitution will not help defend the sanctity of marriage.

As described by the Texas Legislative Council: "If the purpose of the proposed amendment is to defend the sanctity of marriage, that purpose would be better served by state laws addressing the high incidences of divorce, adultery, and family violence that occur within traditional marriage between a man and a woman and that are more damaging to the institution of marriage, the welfare of children, and the stability of society, than same-sex marriages."

3. The imprecise wording of this amendment will have unintended consequences for women and children.

For example, it will reduce protectections against domestic violence for women and children in common-law marriages. (This is because of the section establishing that the state and its political subdivisions could not create or recognize any legal status identical to or similar to marriage.)

4. I don't think the following argument would convince my conservative co-workers, but this sort of amendment clearly discriminates against gay and lesbian couples.

That's why other states have overturned laws banning same-sex marriages: courts have ruled that the equal rights sections of their constitutions conflict with such laws. If you doubt that having your marriage recognized by the state confers any benefits or rights, visit this site and have a read.

The Texas Secretary of State's website contains more information about *all* the propositions in the November election, as well as arguments for and against.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

For Shame

Wow. A month and a day since my last post. If anyone's still visiting, I beg your forgiveness.

I also haven't read any blogs for the past month, and I haven't done any work on diablog. Instead, I've been trying to start a little side business. Between that and the time spent playing with my crazy baby (who is 9 months old today), my blog has fallen into disrepair.

I'm not sure if the business is going to go or not, but once I get things started I'll see if I can't get this old blog juiced up again.