You said it Shakespeare!!
I was having an interesting chat with a friend last night about Biblical quotes and the different ways in which they are used. If there is anything out there that is completely open for interpretation (and personal interpretation that gives rise to violent conflict), it is our dear old friend The Bible.
Remember it took approximately over 1600 years for the writings that would be compiled into the Bible to originate, be recorded, and selected as scripture. Numbers on how many authors there were vary, but historians generally agree that there were about 40.
Although the majority of the pieces in the Bible were selected in an effort for coherency, there is clearly some disparity throughout (as can be expected for such a large, patchwork text). And don't forget the mistranslations!! There is quite a bit of scholarly work done on these, very interesting.
(This guy Chris Harrison builds these cool charts based on the frequency of words in the Bible. Check him out--- http://www.chrisharrison.net/index.php/Visualizations/BibleViz )
And so we have the Bible, an endlessly fascinating codex with shifting tones and beautiful quotes that mean something different to everyone who reads them. This ability and desire to interpret is why there are so many different translations of the Bible.
Which brings us to.... POLITICS!!
It seems like everyone and their dog is quoting (their translation of) the Bible lately, and to their own purpose (not surprising, not many quote the Bible simply to quote the Bible).
Yesterday Obama was saying "as a Christian" and relating it to taxes and wealth, etc. And that started candidate Santorum on Obama as a "liberal Christian" and attacking his beliefs. People are pretty confused about Santorum's general understanding of the Bible and the way that he employs it as a support for his cause. As Mike Lux wrote yesterday, What Bible is Santorum Reading?
A question many Americans are asking, no doubt. Ranger Rick Santorum takes his theology seriously, to the point of keeping women out of military combat and restricting their hours in the workplace (in a gentle effort to encourage them to stay home and be good mommies), no abortion (no exception), no contraception, and the list goes on and on.
The issue of religion is so tricky in these elections! We need a President that has solid beliefs, but doesn't feel the need to make these beliefs the law of the land that all Americans must follow, regardless of their personal creed. (I wrote a blog on this weeks (months?) ago regarding Mitt Romney's Mormonism.)
Presidents must be able to adapt and understand the whole Melting Pot ideal (which I fear we are losing). They can worship however they want, but just as they refuse to be told what to believe, so they should not direct us in our beliefs, nor should they use the law as a weapon to enforce them.