Letter to the editor: Sacknoff letter takes Bible quotes out of context

After reading Lance Sacknoff’s “Learn Bible before judging religion” I needed to formulate a response. Immediately. Numerous errors and stereotypes thoroughly riddle his opinion piece, and those errors need illumination.

First, Sacknoff shows confusion as to which deity Clarke is speaking of. If Sacknoff had read the second sentence of the opinion piece, he would have found the answer given explicitly as Jesus Christ. Yet how would the readers come to know Sacknoff’s extensive knowledge regarding world religions, had he no opportunity to list off every god that fluttered into his mind?

Sacknoff continues to challenge Clarke and his supporters with the claim that, “Jesus never condemns homosexuality. Not once.” In fact, Jesus implicitly denies the acceptability of homosexuality when he affirms marriage, and the sexual union that takes place within that context, when he says, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:6-8 ESV). Additionally, Sacknoff jumps off his logical pedestal, implying that because Jesus did not explicitly teach on the subject, it only follows that he accepts homosexuality. Clearly, Sacknoff, this is illogical.

My second issue is with Sacknoff’s interpretation of Biblical verse. Perhaps Sacknoff would do well to pick up his own copy of the Bible and read it for himself. Despite his graduate work in English, Sacknoff has failed to understand the concept of literary context. The author shows all the hallmarks of chronological snobbery as he imposes his view of the world on the texts of Scripture. Just as it would be foolish for me to take one sentence from Sacknoff’s piece and explain it apart from the overall message of his writing, so it would be of utmost stupidity to take the words of Jesus Christ and rip it from its context so that my views can be justified.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what Sacknoff does repeatedly. Not only is he wrong on every Biblical interpretation he put forth, but Sacknoff’s words of sarcasm, laced with loathing and contempt for all who disagree with him as the arbiter of truth, make the piece nearly worthless. Sacknoff declares himself as “educated, intellectual, open-minded, accepting, and virtuous.” However, his opinions do not show this. Though he is capable of crafting clever prose, Sacknoff shows himself to be uneducated in Scripture, close-minded to the views of those who disagree, and utterly sinful in his hateful attitude towards the only person’s opinion who actually matters: Jesus Christ.

I entreat you to see these words not as hate, but as sharp rebuke. Listen not to my words, but of the one who can save you. For you, Sacknoff, Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God for your sin in his very body. He cried out for your forgiveness as he bled and suffocated on the piece of wood he was nailed to. So what does Jesus demand from you, and from Iowa State, and from the world? “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5 ESV).