King James and vulnerable girls
There are two subjects which need comment, though in rather different ways and not unrelated.
First, 2011 sees the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James’s Bible, known as the Authorised Version (AV). It was good that in January BBC Radio 4 celebrated this historic Bible translation.
There were three programmes fronted by the Today programme presenter James Naughty telling the story of how the King James’s version came about. These included visits to Hampton Court, where the conference took place which first commissioned the work, and Oxford, where one of the groups of translators worked on the project. On the second Sunday of the year there were long readings on Radio 4 from the Authorised Version. It was delightful to listen to the early chapters of Genesis over our Sunday breakfast.
The BBC eulogised the AV as a cultural icon. But this is to miss the main point. The Bible is the Word of God. In it God has revealed himself to a lost world. Though way after 1611 the Puritans still favoured the Geneva Bible, following the Restoration of 1660, the AV came to the fore and it was this translation which was read and preached in churches to feed the souls of God’s people and used of God in times of revival in our nation down the years.
George Abbott, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, who came from Guildford, was involved in the King James’s project and so our town has been inviting the churches to put on events relating to the anniversary. In the town’s Guildhall we are hoping to stage a ‘through the Bible story in one hour’ and a one-man play on the life of Bible translator William Tyndale. There may well be opportunities for your church to put on events in your own area.
Secondly, in January, Jack Straw, the former Home Secretary, stirred controversy by saying that white girls were seen as ‘easy meat’ by some Pakistani men in Britain. This followed the jailing of two Pakistani men for a series of rapes and sexual assaults on girls as young as 12 around Derby.
There are two aspects to this tragic situation. First, the judge in the case spoke of these men preying on ‘vulnerable’ girls. The reason these girls are ‘vulnerable’ is very often because they have been given no morals by our Western secular society. Girls who are simply out for ‘a good time’ are readily susceptible to ‘grooming’. But, secondly, this must raise issues not of race but of religion. Though the majority of Muslims are very nice people, Islam as a religious system is both flawed and often inhumane. In particular, women are second rate compared to men. In Islam a man may have up to four wives, but a woman only one husband, (Qur’an, Al-Halili* 4:3). Concerning inheritance, the Qur’an specifies as follows: ‘Allah commands you as regards your children’s [inheritance]; to the male, a portion equal to that of two females’ (Qur’an, Al-Halili 4:11). As for a woman’s testimony in law, her word is worth half that of a man and less. If a Muslim woman is regarded as so much less than a male one can only wonder of how much less value non-Muslim women are regarded by some Muslim men.
Christ treated women with the greatest respect. It is where biblical teaching is suppressed, whether it be by godless secularism or misguided religion, that the status of women and attitudes towards them suffer.
* Al-Halili is a Saudi translation of the Qur’an