- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Two Bavarian lawyers are trying to protect children from reading the Bible because of its purportedly violent, homophobic and anti-Semitic content. The two have written German Family Minister Christine Bergmann on behalf of a few parents of minors, asking the Bible to be put on a list of books considered dangerous for children.

"It preaches genocide, racism, enmity towards Jews, gruesome executions for adulterers and homosexuals, the murder of one's own children and many other perversities," Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel said about the Bible in an Agence France Press report. The Bible should remain on the dangerous list until the "bloodthirsty and human rights-violating passages" were taken out, they said.

The German critics might ask themselves what would replace the Bible as a guide for young minds. Perhaps the lawyers' bible would provide a gentler, kinder text with a more politically correct and scientifically plausible plot. Jesus would not be the Son of God, but a good guy who had excelled in yoga and contributed to charities for AIDS and the dying rain forests a token spiritual practitioner and a token community service specialist. The disciples, a boring cluster of Jews only, would have to be more representative of the general population. A disabled man, a "transgendered" person and a women's rights activist, all of varying hues, would head the list. And of course they wouldn't be called disciples; community advocates is more like it.

The stuff about "miracles" would obviously have to go. Subjecting children to tales of how Jesus walked on water and brought dead people back to life is as good as brainwashing them into believing in the existence of Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Above all, the lawyers would have to leave out the part about the crucifixion. Too messy. Better to have Jesus ride off into the sunset in his sport utility vehicle (hiking around Galilee can be quite a trek), settle down and get in touch with his feelings.

And when the Bavarian legal warriors put down their red pens, they can take satisfaction in knowing that they have turned what was once called the greatest story ever told into something current, relevant and devoid of any meaning but that which the lawyers in their wisdom intend. If the revised version can't guarantee paradise for its students, perhaps they can negotiate a favorable long-term settlement with God. At least according to the current version of the Bible, He can forgive even lawyers their sins.

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