October 15, 2003


Adams, you blundering oaf! Writing the other day about his bestest pal James Randi, the Inaccurate One claimed that Randi “proposed the following constitutional amendments” based on his literal Biblical interpretations:

a) Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women (Gen 29:17-28, 2 Sam 3:2-5.) Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wives. (2 Sam 5:13; 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Chron 11:21).

b) A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21). Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30).

And so on. All very funny. Adams wrote that “James’ proposed amendments to the US Constitution will place a great premium on virginity, permit men to have multiple partners within wedlock and eliminate the necessity for expensive pre-nups.” But according to Randi himself, these aren’t his proposals at all. He sent this reply to a reader e-mail:

I’m suitably flattered by my excellent friend Phil Adams.

However, those “amendments” did not originate with me, and I should not be credited with them.

Adams should pay closer attention to his friends.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 15, 2003 06:36 PM

This fellow Adams doesn't know much about religion or Bush. Bush is an evangelical, not a fundamentalist. He attends a methodist church -- just like Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: tgs at October 15, 2003 at 08:38 PM

"Adams should pay closer attention to his friends."

Friends? The only friends this guy has are filled with cream and covered in pink icing.

Posted by: donnyc at October 15, 2003 at 08:39 PM

Unlike Adams, Randi insists on facts not dribble. What a contrast and what a guy - check him out each week for his great update. Also treat yourself to his archived radio files, not to be missed:


Posted by: Rob at October 15, 2003 at 09:11 PM

Here is Randi's original posting of this on his web site: http://randi.org/jr/100303.html

He says it's "a document which has been around the Internet. I've amplified and changed it a bit. I can't ascribe it to any specific source, though I tried hard."

Posted by: dc at October 15, 2003 at 09:28 PM

The "Proposed Constitutioal Amendments" have circulated widely on the internet recently, but appear to have originated at a blog called Public Nuisance on August 18, 2003. The August archive is incomplete, and the entry appears to have been deleted. The Google cache is still intact, and the introductory paragraph suggests that it is original:

Here at the Nuisance, we believe prayer should be balanced by action. And, perhaps unlike certain others, we actually do read the Bible. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles:

Posted by: Ernie G at October 16, 2003 at 12:57 AM

Interesting that all the citations are Old Testament, and show no understanding of Jesus' comments on or summary of the law...you know, Jesus Christ, the guy we named the religion after?

Posted by: Parker at October 16, 2003 at 12:57 AM

OOOH i've been caught out SNUFFFLLLE there's some lovely ones here SNOORKKK!!!!!

Sorry, is the ABC helicopter here?

Posted by: Hunter Valley truffle Pig at October 16, 2003 at 01:00 AM


In my experience, fundies are very good at picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to be fundamentalist about. Sauce for the goose...

Posted by: Dave S. at October 16, 2003 at 03:38 AM

Dave S,

When "picking and choosing" which parts of an authoritative document one will treat as binding, the usual approach is that the later overrides the earlier in case of apparent conflict. This is why you can legally drink alcohol in the USA today, you see. Phaddams can run around saying "Hey, all you people who reckon free speech and no torture are constitutional rights! This same 'Constitution' thing also says you can't drink grog! What a crock the whole thing is!" BZZZZZZRRRRTTTTT! Sorry, Phil -- the Eighteenth Amendment (inserted 1918) has been repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment since 1933.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at October 16, 2003 at 06:41 AM

Well, Milk, in the antebellum South, Baptist preachers were one of the bulwarks of the slave system, telling their sheep that slavery was divinely ordained in the Old Testament.

Do they believe that today (well, outside of Bob Jones University)? I mean, they once said their "authoritative document" sanctioned the enslavement of blacks, so if they're not believing that today, it sure looks like "picking and choosing" to me.

Posted by: Dave S. at October 16, 2003 at 09:51 AM

Nice smear. Don't you think there's a considerable moral distance between a ban on interracial dating, which ended, and slavery? Jeezus...

Posted by: Roger Bournival at October 16, 2003 at 12:18 PM

Dave S.--

Northern Protestants used the very same Bible to support the abolition of slavery. They won the doctrinal dispute, too. With guns. So there!

Do yourself a favor and check out a book called "The Bible Tells Me So". It gives chapter and verse on how the Bible often supports contradictory injunctions.

A friend forwarded this email several years ago. Sounds like the same type of 'shtick' used by Randi to prove his point.

(For Aussie Readers; Dr Laura Schlessinger is a rightwing syndicated radio advice show host and author.)

"Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with many people as I can.
When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Concerned Individual"

Posted by: JDB at October 16, 2003 at 01:34 PM

>Well, Milk, in the antebellum South, Baptist preachers were one of the bulwarks of the slave system, telling their sheep that slavery was divinely ordained in the Old Testament.

As JDB pointed out, a lot of Abolitionists were also inspired by Christianity; read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" some time, which pretty explicitly makes Uncle Tom a Christian martyr.

Posted by: John Nowak at October 16, 2003 at 03:24 PM

This forthcoming book looks interesting: A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, by David L Chappell (Univ of North Carolina Press, January 2004). Here's the Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com synopsis:

"The civil rights movement was arguably the most successful social movement in American history. In a provocative new assessment of its success, David Chappell argues that the story of civil rights is not a story of the ultimate triumph of liberal ideas after decades of gradual progress. Rather, it is a story of the power of religious tradition. Chappell reconsiders the intellectual roots of civil rights reform, showing how northern liberals' faith in the power of human reason to overcome prejudice was at odds with the movement's goal of immediate change. Even when liberals sincerely wanted change, they recognised that they could not necessarily inspire others to unite and fight for it. But the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament - sometimes translated into secular language - drove African American activists to unprecedented solidarity and self-sacrifice. Martin Luther King Jr, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Lawson, Modjeska Simkins, and other black leaders believed, as the Hebrew prophets believed, that they had to stand apart from society and instigate dramatic changes to force an unwilling world to abandon its sinful ways. Their impassioned campaign to stamp out "the sin of segregation" brought the vitality of a religious revival to their cause. Meanwhile, segregationists found little support within their white southern religious denominations. Although segregationists outvoted and outgunned black integration-ists, the segregationists lost, Chappell concludes, largely because they did not have a religious commitment to their cause."

Posted by: Uncle Milk at October 16, 2003 at 05:47 PM

Taht stuff sent to Dr Laura Schlesinger should obviously have been addressed to "Ask the Imam" in Camperdown, KwaZulu-Natal. He can answer it properly.

Posted by: Dave F at October 16, 2003 at 09:24 PM