Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pride Bible?

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We are coming up on June, which is Pride Month in Canada. There will be events and parades in a growing number of communities, an opportunity for LGBTQ persons and those who support them to celebrate various expressions of identity. I notice that some organizations are now using LGBTQ2IQ. I was just catching up with one Q and now there is a second (questioning.) I'm so old that I can remember when gay didn't mean Gay.

Despite my decrepitude I support the growing openness about gender and identity expression in our culture, although we have a long way to go toward acceptance. I'm glad that our children grew up in a different era, that their circles of friends includes LGBTQ persons. The denomination I'm still part of has led the way in the regard, often at considerable cost. I've been on staff with a number of gay and lesbian co-workers and my life has been richer for it.

All this to say that I've been receiving ads for a Pride Bible, which appears to be a garden variety New Revised Standard Version bible with a rainbow cover. I wondered if it would be like the old Red Letter Edition, only with rainbow highlights for inclusive passages, but that ain't it. Apparently 50% of profits will go to the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, a Canadian-based charity.

Of course the bible has been used to support exclusion, persecution and even severe punishment for the LGBTQ community for centuries. During my time at seminary 40 years ago the United Church was pondering the limited number of passages in scripture condemning homosexuality and noting that they had more to do with licentiousness than orientation. In fact, the term homosexuality didn't exist until the mid-19th century, with a host of other words used instead.

I won't be purchasing a Pride Bible, but it's an interesting initiative as a fundraiser for those who are oppressed. As food for final thought, some scholars are convinced that King James I whose Authorized Version was the first widely dispersed English language bible was gay.


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