When Liberals Abuse Scripture

The Young Turks are a group of young people who “report the news”. You may be wondering why I place that last phrase in quotes, and we will get to that in a minute or so, depending on how fast you can read. They say that they are “The Largest Online News Show in the World,” and boy is that sad. The reason I say this is because of the gross misrepresentation of the Bible found on their program. Here is a clip of Cenk Uygur discussing an interaction between Rick Santorum and, what I assume is, a New England College student:

I could discuss the validity of Santorum’s statement about same-sex marriage and polygamy, but I will refrain. What I want to discuss is Uygur’s, and many liberals, glaring misuse of Scripture. The first reference Uygur gives is Genesis 16:1-6, 3:13 in the video, which says:

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 

So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. -ESV

What Uygur doesn’t tell you is that God is concerned with the wrong done to Hagar. This is what Hagar says to God after he appeared to her:

So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.‘ -Gen. 16:13

Don’t you think that would be an important piece of information? God cared for Hagar. He understood her suffering and comforted her. Yet, we didn’t hear this on The Young Turks video.

The next reference he makes follows right after the first and it is Gen. 30:4-5, but I would rather give a more full context, so let’s start at verse 1 and end at verse 6:

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I shall die!’ Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?’ Then she said, ‘Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.’ So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, ‘God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.’ Therefore she called his name Dan.

What is crazy about this text is that Rachel is the one that gives her servant to Jacob. The question is, “Why does she do this?” Well, her actions were due to envy and the Bible is clear that envy is not a good motive for any action (Proverbs 14:30, 27:4, James 3:16). The actions of Rachel are not endorsed by the Bible or God, they are simply told in the Bible. To suggest that this action was delightful in God’s eyes is to completely ignore context.

At about 3:44 Uygur references Judges 19:1-30. Yikes! I wont post the 30 verses here because that would be ridiculous. What I will do is say that this passage only refers to an unnamed Levite who had a concubine. Two things need to be understood:

#1 Concubines were considered part of the family and their main purpose was to expand a person’s family tree through child bearing.

#2 Throughout this whole story it never says that God endorsed this relationship. You can read it for yourself.

At about 3:47 Uygur says these words:

If you’re a prisoner of war and you’re a female you’re, of course, allowed to be raped by the male soliders. That’s another way that you could have sex that’s sanctioned in the Bible.

He then goes on to give Deuteronomy 21:11-14 as his source for God’s endorsement. I am not sure why he didn’t start at verse 10, considering verse 11 is right in the middle of a sentence, but I will start there:

‘When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.’

This misrepresentation really bugs me. Uygur, apparently, didn’t read his own citations because if he did he wouldn’t have missed the last two sentences, “But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.” 

Throughout Scripture God is concerned with women and this is a perfect example. Men long for women and God knows this. God is not sanctioning what Uygur says. God is giving a command that protects women. In that time a “humiliated” woman would have no standing before others. She would be left to fend for herself and that would eventually lead to poverty or even death. God is giving the captive woman a means of starting over. God is giving the captive a chance at living a life that is not reduced to scraping by. She doesn’t need to stay within a certain region, so she is free to move to a place where nobody knows her. She also is not to be sold into the slave trade. She is free. That is the God I serve and the God that Uygur doesn’t know anything about.

The last reference Uygur gives is at about the 4:11 mark. Deut 22:28-29 says:

‘If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.’ 

Read those verses again and then read what Uygur said:

And then, umm, in fact, if you just rape a woman who is not married, well, she can save herself later by marrying her rapist. 

Wow! This is frightening. I cannot believe that someone would have the nerve to portray God in this way. It baffles me that simple context is not taken into account. Like I said in the previous reference, a raped woman would be deemed unclean and humiliated. God is not giving the woman a way out…God is saving her life. A raped woman wouldn’t be able to marry and that would take away her chance of bearing children or having a life without poverty. To suggest that the woman is somehow “saving herself” is ridiculous. The man must take her in and support her, and not only that, he is forbidden to divorce her which would leave her poor and helpless.

So there you have it. These are the passages referenced by The Young Turks. The only good thing about this clip is at the 3:46 mark when Uygur said:

You can look any of this stuff up. 

Boy, I am glad I did.

Thanks for reading.


About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we have one amazing child! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on April 30, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I agree with your analysis in that fact that those passages do show that God is concerned about women, and if the argument that The Young Turks were proposing was that the bible is sexist and does not show concern or care for women they would be abusing the scripture.

    But, The Young Turks were using those passages to demonstrate places in the bible where notion of marriage being between just one man and one woman, along with the notion that sex is only alright in the confines of marriage, is inconsistent with what is written.

    I’d be happy to be shown where the bible does show those two premises being exemplified at the same time, but then I would ask how are those passages reconciled with these. In these passages, while God does appear to be showing care for the woman, it also appears that God is condoning extramarital sex, OR is condoning multiple marriages.

    The basis of this is that God could have explicitly forbade the societal practice that would have made a woman “humiliated” and have no standing before others. But instead safe haven is granted by granting men then right to have more than one marriage.

    My question is, how are the verses quoted not being used appropriately in attempts to validate the statement that The Old Testament does condone either extramarital sex or polygamy?

    • Hey Kevin,

      I think the texts that The Young Turks referenced were not a case for their point. The Bible records many things for us and not everything recorded means that God is pleased with the action.

      You said: “In these passages, while God does appear to be showing care for the woman, it also appears that God is condoning extramarital sex, OR is condoning multiple marriages.”

      Me: Show me anywhere in these passages where God is endorsing multiple marriages or extramarital relationships. I don’t think you will find it. Again, just because it was recorded in the Bible doesn’t mean God endorses it. Sometimes the Bible writers are giving us what happend. I would point you to the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:3-9:

      And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ 4 He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,’ 5 and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’ 7 They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?’ 8 He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.’

      I want you to look at Jesus’ words in verse 8. Their hardness of heart is why God allowed them to get divorced but from the beginning it was not so. And in verse 6 Jesus says, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” By referring back to the creation of Adam and Eve, Jesus is telling us what marriage is.

      You: “My question is, how are the verses quoted not being used appropriately in attempts to validate the statement that The Old Testament does condone either extramarital sex or polygamy?”

      Me: It is your job to show me that God is endorsing polygamy or extramarital relationships within the context of Scripture. These passages do not do that.

      Thanks for commenting and reading Kevin,


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