Christian activist Ralph Reed joined Bill Maher on Friday’s edition of Real Time–and, as is tradition on Real Time–got hammered.
When discussing why faith is important, Reed claimed that religion is responsible for “over half of the social capital” in the world. Maher countered, “Ralph, I could list so many things that are bad that religion has been responsible for: most wars, the Crusades, burning witches at the stake, 9/11–I could go on.”
Reed shot back, “Homeless shelters–90% of which are connected with a house of worship, many charities…”
Maher interrupted, “Of course, but you can do those things without believing in magic. And people do.”
Maher asked his guest if he believed the Bible is literally true. The answer, of course, was yes. ” However, when Maher paraphrased 1 Peter 2:18, which instructs good, Christian slaves to submit themselves to their masters–no matter how harsh–Reed backpedaled…a bit.
Reed argued that his belief that 1 Peter 2:18 and all other instances of the Bible offering helpful hints on owning and being owned by people are literally true doesn’t mean that he supports slavery. You see, according to Reed, America had a different kind of slavery than what was seen in Biblical times. In fact, slavery was not slavery at all; it was more like indentured servitude, according to the person who actually spent time defending a system of slavery.
“Oh, come on,” said Maher. “Ralph, Ralph–Spartacus, come on man. We’ve all seen the movie. There’s no good slavery.”
“No, I didn’t say it was good,” Reed responded, hoping to recover from supporting slavery, “I’m not advocating it as a labor system. I’m saying it was totally different.”
“The Bible is O.K. with slavery,” Maher once again attempted to point out.
“No it doesn’t,” answered Reed.
Maher, seeing that this line of inquiry would not bear any form of productive discussion, moved on. “If a woman has sex before she’s married, the men of the city must stone her to death,” Maher said, grinning. “Let’s hear the good version of that.”
Reed cited a Biblical story even some Christians may recognize. As if this answered Maher’s question Reed responded, “What did Jesus say when he was presented with the adulteress and the people who wanted to stone her to death cited that verse? He got down on his knees and he wrote in the dirt, ‘We believe the sins of all those present.’ And he said, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’ and they walked away in shame. That’s in the Bible.”
[Author’s Note: Reed was somehow blissfully unaware that the Bible does not actually say what Jesus wrote in the dirt.For all we know, Jesus could have been writing the recipe for some killer hash brownies. You know who doesn’t know, though? Ralph Reed. There is nothing worse than a Biblical literalist who can’t stick to the literal meaning. Moving on…]
“But if the Bible’s a perfect book written by a perfect guy? Why is this part in there? If a woman has sex before she’s married–why did Jesus need to come along to correct his dad? I don’t get it.”
Reed shot back with the tried-and-true cop-out: the New Covenant, which almost always ignores a few select verses in Leviticus…somehow. “But Bill, you’re ignoring the New Testament,” Reed responded. “Not one of those verses occurs in the New Testament. You’re ignoring the new covenant.”
“So the Old Testament — the Jew God — he’s bad,” Maher said.
“I didn’t say that,” Reed laughed. “Bill, Jesus was a Jew.”
“But he said this–he said thing and a bunch of other crazy shit. I’m quoting,” Maher said almost hysterically.
“Bill, you’re being very selective,” Reed actually said.
See it for yourself, below: