Recently, in the Religion section of the St. Petersburg Times, there appeared an article stating that an atheist had filed a petition with a school district in Minnesota seeking removal of the Bible from public school libraries in the district.
This gentleman claims the Bible's content is "lewd, indecent and violent" and, therefore, should be banned in a school and learning environment.
Anyone who has ever read the Bible from cover to cover would have to agree, since the Bible is replete with tales of polygamy, rape, incest, murder, slavery and subordination of women.
It will be interesting to see how the religious right rationalizes and justifies these sordid tales.
There is one ray of hope, however, for a fair and reasoned decision regarding this petition: The assistant superintendent of the district did not dismiss the claim as trivial and unjustified. Instead, he said the Bible does, indeed, contain some "poor human decisions and some rather archaic social practices."
The ruling, due in four to six weeks, may be surprising.
The changed character of Mary Magdalene
Scholars cast light on Mary Magdalene? Wrong! They really don't. They confuse the Bible narrative with their own moral precepts.
The article on Mary Magdalene (the Times, Sept. 26, 1992) says that "there is no evidence that Magdalene was a prostitute." The Bible clearly says that she was a sinner (harmartalos). And Simon the Pharisee said: "This man (Jesus) _ if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him for she is a sinner." This was a clear description of a harlot. Luke added a postscript to the story to identify this woman as Mary Magdalene, out of whom Christ had cast seven demons.
Mary Magdalene was a repentent prostitute who loved Jesus for saving her. One of those demons was surely immorality.
It seems strange that some cannot accept the fact that Jesus would let a harlot touch him, or that he could heal such a person.
Many times the greatest sinners have turned out to be the greatest saints.
B. P. Stanton, St. Petersburg