Beware of Dogma

this summer the Southern Baptist Convention performed a feat no less amazing than multiplying loaves and fishes: they staked out a place for themselves far to the right of the pope. They adopted an amendment declaring that “a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” The Baptists interpret the Bible literally–in this case, a passage from the New Testament’s Book of Ephesians.

Ten years ago, Pope John Paul II wrote a papal letter addressing the same issue. The pope considered the line about wifely submission simply a reflection of the social order of the time. However, he said, a command introducing the entire passage was an innovation of the Gospel. That command? “Mutual subjection” of husbands and wives.

If Southern Baptists truly believe in literal interpretation of the whole Bible, not just select passages that support their own prejudices, then they won’t mind the literal interpretations that follow. And this handy Bible spinner will make it loads of fun!

Directions for Southern Baptists: Cut out spinner and arrow. Using a paper fastener, attach the arrow to the center of the spinner. At each annual convention, spin the arrow and adopt the appropriate amendment.

“Slaves obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling.”

“If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son . . . then his father and mother shall . . . bring him out to the elders of his town. . . . Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death.”

“If one of you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he shall go outside the camp; he must not come within the camp.”

“The rock badger, for even though it chews its cud, it does not have divided hooves; it is unclean for you.”

“Command the Israelites to put out of the camp . . . anyone who is unclean through contact with a corpse; you shall put out both male and female, putting them outside camp; they must not defile their camp, where I dwell among them.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration by Mike Werner.