What’s Your Abomination? A Michigan man is seeking $70 million from two Christian publishers for emotional pain and suffering resulting from what he claims were mistranslations of certain biblical passages designed to exaggerate their anti-gay message. Bradley Fowler claims that for twenty years he’s been reading translations from Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing that declare “homosexuality” to be a sin. In fact, the “h” word never appears in the Bible, and the passages that talk about “men lying with men” or the like are notoriously ambiguous. Fowler points to a Zondervan translation from Corinthians that calls for “anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence … including murder.” The King James Version translates makakoi as “effeminate men,” and the passage only states that these folks, among countless others, “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” A U.S. district judge has agreed to rule on the case. Fowler’s odds may be long, but consider the implications if he wins. If anyone who’s ever been insulted by something the Bible said—or by what a malicious translator inserted—can sue the publisher, the possibilities for litigation would seem endless, to wit: “All these years I thought I was an abomination for wearing clothes woven from two kinds of thread!”
Published in: September-October 2008 issue.