Man Sues Third Bible Publisher for Anti-Gay Passages

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Sep 10, 2009

A man who previously sued two Bible publishers on the grounds that they allegedly distorted scripture to enshrine anti-gay bias in holy writ has now brought suit against a third publisher.

Anti-gay religious site WorldNetDaily posted a Sept. 9 article reporting that Bradley LaShawn Fowler had brough suit against Tyndale House Publishers.

The article said that the Tyndale House translation included the word "homosexual"--a modern word reflecting a contemporary understanding and definition that arguably did not exist in the time of the bible's original authors--in both the company's edition of the New Living Translation Holy Bible and in another publiction, the company's New Life Application Study Bible.

The article said that the word appeared in 1 Corinthians 6:9.

In an article where an ad for a book about "The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told" regarding the Bible's content was prominently placed, WND quoted Fowler as blogging, "One Bible dictates homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God, while the other is completely [silent] on the issue altogether."

The article also pointed out that Fowler had previously had a blog at President Obama's Web site during Obama's 2008 campaign.

Fowler, the article recalled, had previously brought suit against two other concerns, Thomas Nelson Publishing and Zondervan.

In his action against Zondervan, the article said, Fowler asserted that the publisher's edition of the Bible aimed to pique anti-gay sentiment and lead to "me or anyone who is a homosexual [having] to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence ... including murder."

The article also quoted Fowler as saying in an television interview that he sought damages "for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability."

WND referenced, where a report on Fowler culled a quote from Fowler's blog in which the plaintiff outlines part of his argument.

"In 1970, I Corinthians 6:9 read as followed [sic]," Fowler wrote in a comparison over time of various editions by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

"'Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulteres [sic], nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.'"

Continued Fowler, "In 1982, the same scripture read like this--

"'Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodimites [sic]."

Fowler continued, writing, "In 2001 the same scripture reads like this--

"'Surely you know that the people who do wrong will not inherit God's kingdom. Do not be fooled, those who sin sexually, worship idols, take part in adultery, those who are male prostitutes, or men who have sexual relations with other men, those who steal, are greedy, get drunk, lie about others, or rob thses [sic] people will not inherit God's kingdom.'"

The textual allegations that being gay is sinful, Fowler claimed, led to his being rejected by his own relatives, and helped bring about "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment" in his life.

The article noted that the earlier suits were filed too long after the initial publication of the translations, and were thrown out.

With his third suit, Fowler is seeking $10 million in compensation, WND reported.

The article quoted Fowler further, reporting him to have written that, "[W]hen William Tyndale Publishing [sic], Inc., Zondervan Publishing, Inc., and Thomas Nelson Publishing, Inc. began revising the scriptures, each publisher implemented the term homosexuals within its Bible, yet failed to follow what the scripture teaches about doing so.

"As a result, homosexuals have endured a life long struggle of being accepted within the American culture."

A Gaywired article carried at EDGE on July 11 of last year quoted Fowler as writing that he was "flabbergast[ed] to find out this Christian publisher [Thomas Nelson Publishing] had imposed its own opinions upon religious sectors, by fraudulently implementing the terminology homosexual to its Bible; then removed the term from its 1994 Holy Bible--without informing the general public."

Fowler claims that the newer translations constitute an attempt to mislead Biblical literalists so that they will engage in "mistreating homosexuals."

In a statement, the publisher Zondervan responded that their publications drew "on the scholarly judgment of the highly respected and credible translation committees behind each translation and never alter the text of the translations we are licensed to publish."

Added the publishing company, "We only publish credible translations produced by credible Biblical scholars."

The article also quoted Tara Powers, a spokesperson for Zondervan, who told The Christian Post that, "Since Zondervan does not translate the Bible or own the copyright for any of the translations we publish, we are not in a position to comment on the merits of how a word should or should not be translated."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • Stroker Ace, 2009-09-10 16:11:08

    Let me suggest that Mr. Fowler set his sights a bit higher. Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to sue God? It is His Word, afterall. These companies have done nothing but translate the Greek and Hebrew into understandable English. If he were to visit, I think he would clearly see that virtually all translations include (and condemn) "homosexuals," "sodomites," or "effeminates" in this and other verses. The idea of suing anyone/everyone he deems a participant in the criticism he’s faced is really ludicrous. I would really hope a judge would have the common sense to throw this thing out. It’s too bad that our court systems get cluttered by garbage like this.

  • , 2009-09-11 17:40:18

    no one would not need to sue if translations were done faithfully and accurately. our judeo-christian cultural bias leads us to take these issues seriously, and those who have done their exigetical homework know that there are definitive nuances in the translation of the terms in question. it’s time to stop lying to the bible reading public

  • , 2009-10-28 07:59:34

    GOD does not lie! His Word does not lie. Those with different sexual habits then, one man and one women together, don’t want to face the truth. You can not make Gods Word fit your life choice. Sin is sin. You break in command of Gods and you break them all. After so much sin forgiveness runs out. To die in this much sin means unforgiven sin and those are the ones who will not see heaven. Many are called but the gate is narrow.

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