To the editor: The Rev. Greg Laurie asks, “Why is the Bible so offensive?”
Laurie is quite intelligent, so surely he knows that the Bible itself is not offensive. Rather, it’s the attitudes and behaviors of those who wield the Bible as a weapon that bother people.
Seeing a billboard of an evangelical pastor holding a Bible above his head isn’t offensive to me, but what is sometimes preached by these men could very well be offensive. What I find offensive are the people who try to impose their religious beliefs on me or judge me because of who I am.
So, in answer to Laurie’s question, there’s nothing offensive about the Bible — it’s those who use it to discriminate, judge and malign whom we find offensive.
Alex Hart, Santa Ana
To the editor: Laurie’s pious defense of the Bible abounds with what I’d call “straw-atheist” contentions.
No, Rev. Laurie, you needn’t “tiptoe around” this nonbeliever. I don’t find the Bible to be any more or less offensive than, say, the Church of Scientology’s sacred tomes. So long as a religion’s holy text isn’t forced on nonbelievers, there’s no problem.
Too often, however, Bible lovers seem intent on filling public spaces with sacred scriptures, as if Christianity rates preference in our supposedly secular governance.
In my view, no writing is more sacred than the Constitution. As originally enacted, it touches on religion only in its final substantive paragraph: It prohibits imposing any “religious test” as a qualification for public office, and allows a secular “affirmation” to swear in any office-holder.
Myself, I find inspiration in how our nation’s founders “tiptoed around” the subject of religion.
Sarah S. Williams, Santa Barbara
To the editor: Laurie feels those who complained about billboards for his Southern California Harvest event that prominently featured a Bible are intolerant. My guess is that people complained out of fear, not intolerance.
Laurie cites people whose belief in the Bible prompted them to do great things. He overlooks others who used their belief in the Bible to justify slavery and persecution.
I know that I am not alone in being bothered by the fact that under religious liberty laws, a person can be denied service or benefits based on someone else’s cherry-picking of Bible verses.
Sara Schmidhauser, Goleta, Calif.