LiveScience Uncritically Reports First English Bible Sparked 'Fundamentalism'

The "First Bible in English may have sparked fundamentalism," suggested the teaser headline on Yahoo.com's front page, as of 2:45 this afternoon. Clicking the link took me to a special feature for LiveScience.com by writer Heather Whipps. Here's her lede:

The translation of the Bible into English marked the birth of religious fundamentalism in medieval times, as well as the persecution that often comes with radical adherence in any era, according to a new book.

Harvard professor James Simpson, the book's author, drew a parallel between early Reformation English Protestants and modern day Islamo-fascists:

Without the clergy guiding them, and with religion still a very important factor in the average person's life, their fate rested in their own hands, Simpson said. The rise of fundamentalist interpretations during the English Reformation can be used to understand the global political situation today and the growth of Islamic extremism, Simpson said as an example. "Very definitely, we see the same phenomenon: newly literate people claiming that the sacred text speaks for itself, and legitimates violence and repression," Simpson said, "and the same is also true of Christian fundamentalists."

Of course, nowhere in her article did Whipps point out that religious wars in the centuries after the Protestant Reformation held forth brutality, violent excess, and political injustices by both Protestant (Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell) and Catholic partisans (Queen Mary I, St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre) but that would get in the way of story that compares say, I dunno, the Puritans with Osama bin Laden.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters