Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt and West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall have introduced a Congressional Resolution, timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, designed to express the body’s “gratitude” for the “influence” the KJV has had on “countless families, individuals, and institutions in the United States.”
The bipartisan co-sponsors were lobbied by the small non-profit Bible Nation Society, based in Corunna, Michigan, said Jason Georges, the group’s executive director. Georges said that other members of Congress, particularly the Congressional Prayer Caucus, were also interested in the KJV resolution.
The Bible Nation Society, affiliated with Immanuel Baptist Church in Corunna, was founded by Immanuel’s pastor, Douglas Levesque. At the Bible Nation Society’s 2010 Bible in Culture Conference, Levesque preached on the “Antichrist Quotient,” in which he laid out wide-ranging conspiracy theories that President Obama might be the Antichrist.
The Bible Nation Society, which is also sponsoring an Expo on the National Mall next week to celebrate the KJV 400th anniversary, came to Capitol Hill to lobby for the resolution at the height of the budget battle, said Georges. That made the effort more challenging, he said, but he saw it as an opportunity “to pause and think about the principles of money — the debtor is servant to the lender, ideas of usury, Joseph’s idea of saving, storage, national saving for hard times, that’s in the Book of Genesis. . . there is a principle there that people can glean some wisdom from.”
Georges insists, “we’re not promoting a theocratic state” — just that policymakers should find answers to the nation’s pressing questions in the King James Bible. The KJV, he added, “speaks to issues today if we would all pause for a minute, it would give us answers.”
“The resolution is completely outside the realm of Congressional expertise or interest,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “It’s mind- numbing to think that anyone would think about passing this at a time when we have fiscal, foreign policy and other matters of greater weight.” Lynn pointed out that even religious right figures have taken issue with the KJV; in the late 1990s, activists Gary Bauer, then of the Family Research Council, and Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, urged Christians not to use the KJV because, Bauer said, “it was commissioned by a homosexual.” (Note that the anti-KJV campaign never really took off; it remains the most popular translation for evangelicals, according to a recent survey by the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated LifeWay.)
Perhaps, though, the Democratic Party would have some issues with one of its House members taking up the suggestion of a group that has promoted Obama-might-be-the-Antichrist conspiracy theories. In the 2010 video, Levesque noted that “God has given us a purposeful ambiguity around” the Antichrist, yet proceeded to offer what he apparently believes is evidence that Obama might be it — or at least anti-Christian, or Antichrist-ish. Levesque claimed Obama “twist[s] the word of God” and “the Antichrist Quotient goes up above and beyond for someone who would so blatantly attack the word of God.” He added, “This man offends me, this man offends my God.”
After offering a jumble of conspiracy theories, including the evils of environmentalism, the one-world ambitions of the U.N., and the connection between the Israel-Palestine peace process and the possible end-times date of December 21, 2012, Levesque read at length from the Book of Revelation. Then, with all that great fire and brimstone in his audience’s mind, he observed that Obama’s motorcade vehicle is called “the Beast,” that Barack “means thunder and lightning” and that the name of his then-Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, means “lightning, God with us.” But Levesque saved the greatest conspiracy theories of them all for his conclusion: “Why doesn’t Obama answer the questions about his citizenship? Why doesn’t he answer questions about his faith? Why doesn’t he answer the questions about his bisexuality, his homosexuality, his drug use?” Why, Levesque insists? “Because he has a mouth speaking great lying things.”
And those, dear readers, are some of the answers you might find in the King James Bible, the one that should guide our nation’s public policy.