Friday, 25 November 2011

Bible bother

The Government has let it be known that the Prime Minister plans to send a copy of the King James Bible to every school in the country. The initiative is intended to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the KJV and to acknowledge its impact on our culture and society. Apparently Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education,  is writing a forward to the edition and has commented on the significance of the KJV:
Some people look at certain battles, or some look at certain parliamentary acts, as hinge moments in history, I actually think the translation of the Bible into the vernacular is a critical moment in the life of the nation.
It’s a thing of beauty, and it’s also an incredibly important historical artefact. It has helped shape and define the English language and is one of the keystones of our shared culture. And it is a work that has had international significance.
I would want to say that the Bible is much more than an important historical artefact but welcome the government’s attempt to acknowledge the significance of the KJV.

Needless to say, the usual headbangers have been swift to respond. The National Secular Society’s President Terry Sanderson comments:
“It‘s not as if Bibles are in short supply in schools, but if (Mr Gove) intends to go ahead with this, will he also please ensure that a copy of On the Origin of Species is sent out on Darwin Day. This book is much harder to find in schools and would be in line with his policy of promoting science and evidence-based education. I‘m sure that he could write an excellent foreword to this, too.
The British Humanist Association has joined in with its campaigns officer Richy Thompson stating:
Either the Government is funding this initiative itself at a time when it is making severe cuts elsewhere, or the Church is funding it but using the Government as a vehicle through which to promote Christianity - both are unacceptable.
I really don’t think the NSS and BHA interventions merit much comment and to be honest their complaints sound rather half hearted.

Much more interesting is the revelation that The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley have a bit of a scoop with an exclusive of the preface to the KJV written by Little Mickey Gove.

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