Homosexual Man Sues Bible Publishers over Scripture Verses against Homosexuality
By Peter J. Smith
NASHVILLE, Tennessee, July 11, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A homosexual man upset by biblical verses condemning homosexuality as a sin has decided - in lieu of suing God or claiming damages from the Holy Spirit - instead to go after two Christian publishers for their versions of the Bible, which he says violate his constitutional rights and have caused him emotional pain and mental instability.
Bradley LaShawn Fowler of Canton, Michigan filed a suit in US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on July 7 against Zondervan Publishing House Corp. seeking $60 million. Fowler also filed another suit earlier in June seeking $10 million from Thomas Nelson Publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fowler is representing himself in both cases. U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. declined Fowler’s request for a court-appointed attorney to represent him in the Thomas Nelson case, saying, "The Court has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims."
Fowler, 39, blames references to homosexuality as a sin in Zondervan’s Bible for his poor relationship with his family, his own periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment," and even the death of homosexual Matthew Shepard. Shepard was brutally murdered in 1998 in a crime that was widely reported as being motivated by Shepard’s homosexuality, although a 2004 ABC report has since offered evidence disputing that claim.
Fowler said he was raised with a religious background that taught him homosexuality was a sinful lifestyle.
"That’s why I was completely distraught after discovering the term - homosexual - was added to the bible, in 1982, and then removed, in 1994 without any consideration to the many victims who committed suicide or were murdered because of their sexual preference of homosexuality," he writes on his blog "Bradley-Almighty."
He continues, "Sadly enough though, the publishing company that initiated this mental war against homosexuals has never attempted to apologize to Matthew Shepard or anyone else who lost their life, because of their malicious and strict liabilities."
Fowler says the Bible publishers are part of a vast conspiracy to design a sacred document to cause "me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence…including murder."
Fowler says he is most particularly unhappy with the Zondervan Bible’s use of the word "homosexual" over other words indicating the same thing. On his blog, Fowler explains that in the 1964 edition of the Bible, the word used in 1 Corinthians Six, verse Nine was "effeminates," with the passage reading as follows:
"Know ye not that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…"
In the 1982 edition the word "effeminates" was translated as "homosexuals," while in the 1987 version it was translated, "those who participate in homosexual behavior."
But the 1994 edition, says Fowler, again denounces "effeminates" and "abusers of themselves with mankind."
Fowler then asks his readers, "Which one of these is truth? Which one is not?" He then continues to say that the publisher should have issued a warning about the name change, claiming it resulted in violence against homosexuals.
The lawsuit also may serve as a publicity boost for Fowler’s self-proclaimed Biblical scholarship, which is being debuted in his forthcoming work, "365 Reason’s to Study the Bible." One description says the book is "compiled with extensive research gathered for a civil suit filed against one of nations largest and most respected bible publishing companies in America," and another says it takes the reader "on a journey through time…slowly exposing hidden secrets bible publishers have fought feverishly to keep hidden from the general public for centuries. An avalanche of secrets that are keeping millions around the world enslaved today."
A company spokesman for Zondervan told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids that the publishing house does not translate the Bible or own the copyright, but relies rather on the "scholarly judgment of credible translation committees."