A vicar in Wales has outraged his church authorities by refusing to make an apology a week after he burned pages from the King James Version Bible which he said portrayed God as “cruel and vile.”
“The passages I cut out [and later burned] referred to the wrath of God, a God who killed millions of people in a vengeful, spiteful way,” the Rev. Geraint ap Iorwerth, the vicar of St. Peter ad Vincula Church in the town of Machynlleth, told Walesonline Saturday.
The charred remains were “a memorial to the millions whose lives have been destroyed as a result of the cruelty of this kind of God and his followers,” the 60-year-old priest was quoted as saying.
Iorwerth insisted his action had “absolutely nothing to do with Jesus,” who he described as “a reactionary leader who preached peace.” However, he warned that he was “not a complete pacifist” and wouldn’t mind using “a baseball bat if anyone came for my family.”
The philosopher Nietzsche said one should philosophize with a hammer, “I prefer to theologize with a scissors,” the vicar added. “I have no intention of apologizing for preaching the qualities of the prince of peace, Jesus. My congregation is 100 percent behind me.”
While the priest sought to justify his deeds, the leadership of the Church in Wales, Iorwerth’s organization which is part of the Anglican Communion, plans to investigate.
Bishop of Bangor Andy John thinks destroying difficult-to-understand parts of the Bible was “disrespectful” and “offensive.” “I have therefore written to Rev Geraint ap Iorwerth and will be investigating the matter,” he was quoted as saying.
Bishop John admitted the life today was culturally different from the time the Bible was written. “However, it is not given to us to pick and choose – sometimes the most challenging parts are those which we need to wrestle with most of all.”
“I am also carrying out the investigation,” the priests said, “out of respect for the millions who have suffered and died at the hands of the followers of this cruel God.” He said he wanted to make sure that people knew “the difference between him and the mysterious source of unconditional love and compassion that Jesus referred to.”
The Bible burning was part of a larger art experiment, according to BBC, as it sought to juxtapose the language of the King James Bible with the festive greetings of Christmas cards. “I cut out all the nasty bits of that Bible, the language of which is being celebrated all over the place this year, because I don’t think you can separate that language from the God it is representing,” BBC quoted the priest as saying.
The priest displayed the charred portions of the Bible on a wall of the church, called it the “Wall of Shame.” Iorwerth spent months cutting out negative passages of the Bible to hold this exhibition at a time when the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, an English translation by the Church of England which completed in 1611, was being celebrated.
The official website of the King James Bible claims that while the Bible is the most popular book in the world with over 6 billion copies published, the King James Bible is the most published Bible translation with over one billion copies published.