If Huck Finn gets edited, why not the Bible, too?
Lately, there has been a lot of talk surrounding Mark Twain's classic Huckleberry Finn getting published without the racial slurs that graced the original.
In the novel, considered a hallmark of American literature, a boy named Huck Finn and his runaway slave companion, Jim, take off down a river: far out of sight and mind of the society they once belonged to.
In the novel, Jim is often referred to in a term which is offensive and derogatory in today's climate. Inserting "Black American" or "African American" in place of the word in question might spare a few young souls exposure to such *Questionable Content*, but not nearly enough.
If we are truly to preserve the uprightness of our young children's minds, then books far more egregious and popular than Huckleberry Finn need to be reworked, or altogether eliminated. And if we Americans expect to keep shining before all men -- so that they may see our good works and glorify us who dwelleth in America -- we must not be afraid to eliminate *Questionable Content* wherever we find it, even in the most established and revered of sources.
A few outdated racial slurs don't begin comparing to the slavery, sex, substance abuse and hedonism of all kinds to be found in the unlikeliest of places: The Holy Bible. If Huck Finn is offensive, then the Bible is unquestionably among the greatest polluters of our culture's purity.
As such, it must be pulled off the shelves of every bookstore, and removed from every bedside table in every Super 8 Motel in America.
Here's an example -- taken from the very first book of the Bible -- which makes my point all too clear:
"And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard . . . And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." (Gen. 9:20-21)
Our children don't need to read about their supposed heroes getting drunk and being found naked and sweating in a tent. Sure, Noah may have single-handedly saved all the animals and mankind itself from certain and eternal destruction. But, as Americans -- God's chosen arbiters of everything that is right and good -- we must force ourselves to look past the isolated glories in Noah's life and see him for the miserable alcoholic wreck he was.
A friend who drinks alcohol is an enemy, and a hero who does the same is no hero of mine (thank you very much). Heck, I've known that since kindergarten.
It is unthinkable that any kindly white Deity with a beard, gazing kindly on his beloved little creatures from Heaven, would sanction words like these:
"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." (Prov. 23:13)
The fact that God would have the gall to speak so indecently through his mouthpiece, David, is appalling. Clearly, it was a mistake. His true language -- doubtlessly more gentle and in line with the God we know and love -- must have been lost in translation, polluted by the human hands, which rendered it onto paper. No Savior of mine would condone punishing one's children so harshly.
More rampant and ugly than the Ten Plagues themselves, talk of slavery and servitude courses through the Holy, Living Bible like ice water in the veins of morality and truth. They are mentioned -- and condoned -- in numerous books in the Bible, but the most striking example is this verse from Ephesians:
"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ . . ." (Eph. 6:5)
Nobody, God or no God, will tell my children to stand getting kicked on by employers and bosses and "turn the other cheek" (to borrow an old saying) to their oppressors. They are going to be good little Americans, upright and independent and fastidious and above all, strong.
I'm sure there is an explanation. Perhaps the Ephesians needed to be more submissive than us. That's it. God saw fit to tell the people of Ephesia that they needed to be bow down and bend over to whoever decided to overcome them, because they simply were not built as tough as We the People: creator of Ford pickups and the Vietnam War and everything else which was built to last and dominate.
We are not God's servants, as Ephesians suggests, but his Children, his Likenesses created in His Image. If the Bible only had more of that talk, and less of the bad stuff, we would have no reason to do away with it. But seeing how far sections of the Bible stray from Christianity as we know it today, I see no option but to send it the way of Huck Finn and his African American companion, Jim.
Nathan Kitzmann is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.