Thursday, August 8, 2013

The King James Bible and the Story of American Freedom

Bowdlerizing the King James Bible:
In a New York Times story about the 400th anniversary of the Bible's translation into English, Edward Rothstein concludes by invoking Winston Churchill who wrote about

'"English-speaking peoples,' and their distinctive perspective on the world. Could some of this be traced to the heritage of the King James Bible, including emphasis on individual liberty and responsibility?"

Mr. Rothstein neglected to note the unique place of King James Bible in the story of American freedom. The first objection to use of the Bible in America's public schools, occurred in 1840s New York City, when Catholic immigrants strongly objected to use of the King James Bible for instruction of Catholic children in city's public schools. America's largest Christian denomination does not use the King James Bible produced by the British, and stubbornly resisted forced assimilation into Anglo-Saxon Protestantism via the public schools. 

Others using more overtly racist language than Churchill invoked older pre-Christian, tribal roots.