Insight on the News
“Sexist” Language in Bible?
● An advisory panel for America’s National Council of Churches (NCC) has urged that “sexist” terms be removed from the Bible. The group claims that male references to God in the Bible “are accidents of the limitations of human language.” They also wrote: “We think it proper to speak of Jesus Christ as the Child of God [instead of “Son of God”] and we believe alternate renderings for Son of Man should be explored.” They recommended that the “Revised Standard Version” (“RSV”), published by the NCC, should be altered to reflect such changes.
But are the masculine references to God and Christ truly “accidents of the limitations” of the original Bible languages? Well, God himself uses the figure of a “husband” to illustrate his relationship to Israel. (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 31:32, “RSV”), and alludes to a similar relationship with his heavenly organization, or “woman,” the “Jerusalem above.” (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:1-6; Gal. 4:26) Christ is also figuratively referred to as a “bridegroom,” a “husband,” and as having a “wife.” (John 3:28, 29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 21:9) Such references can hardly be described as “limitations of human language.”
Double Standard on Life
● “I am appalled at the schizophrenic [double-standard] thinking of American physicians,” wrote Leroy Howell, M.D., in a letter to “American Medical News.” Howell explained that, in one recent issue, the magazine had reported on the American Medical Association Judicial Council’s position “that it is unethical for physicians to give or order lethal injections for murderers” as a means of capital punishment. Yet he noted that the very next issue of “American Medical News” reported that “a director of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was upset because the federal government would no longer pay for [aborting] babies who had never done anything wrong to anyone.”
Similarly another doctor wrote about the medical complaints over government refusal to pay for some abortions. Apparently such medical officials feel that mothers have a “right” to do away with their unborn babies. But, asked the physician, “does proclaiming something to be a right mean that it must be subsidized by government? I have a right to buy a house. Does this also mean the house should be paid for by the government? I don’t think so.” Yet, as noted above, the same medical men who have no qualms over accepting government payments to destroy millions of unborn babies often oppose, on so-called moral grounds, the execution of a few murderers. An observer might even be led to believe that the amount of monetary return has become a factor in deciding whether destroying life is moral or not.—Rom. 13:8-10.
● When Pope John Paul II visited a poor slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last summer, he was said to have been moved so much that he took a gold ring from his finger and gave it to the poverty-stricken people. “For Vidigal [the slum],” he reportedly said to priest Italo Coelho, who received it in behalf of the people. But by late August, the ring had not helped the poor. Priest Coelho admitted that it was located in the parish church that serves an area including Vidigal. But the church itself is “in Leblon, one of Rio’s wealthiest communities,” reports the New York “Times.”
Will the ring ever be sold to help the poor? “We will not sell it. That is absolutely clear,” answers the priest.
This situation reminds one of the parable Jesus told about a “rich man” who “feasted sumptuously every day” and a destitute beggar named Lazarus who was “desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table.” Not only have many top church leaders maintained a life-style of opulence like the “rich man,” offering the poor only meager “crumbs,” like the pope’s ring, from their lavish “table”; but, more importantly, have they not done similarly in caring for the spiritual hunger of the people? Instead of solid Biblical “food,” often only “crumbs” of sanctimonious ritual and political pronouncements are offered.—Luke 16:19-22, Catholic “Douay Version.”