"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
That famous line, attributed to Jesus in Luke 23:34, could well apply to the folks at Conservapedia -- the "conservative version" of Wikipedia -- who have embarked on a project to rewrite the Bible.
In an effort to rid the Good Book of "liberal bias," the group has set up the Conservative Bible Project, which aims to rewrite the Bible from a modern, conservative perspective.
"Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations," the project's Web site asserts.
And the line quoted above is one of the group's targets for deletion in a truly "conservative" Bible. The "forgive them father" quote "is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible," Conservapedia states.
And evidently many of Jesus' other teachings -- from the "turn the other cheek" lesson, to his disdain for profiteering -- will also no longer be acceptable in the conservative Bible.
"Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification," the Web site states -- a strange assertion, given that English versions of the Bible date back at least to the 16th century, while socialism as a concept was formed in the 18th century.
To combat the Bible's "socialism," the Conservative Bible Project wants to see Biblical use of the words "comrade," "labor" and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") reduced.
Not surprisingly, the project has come under ridicule and derision from some corners.
"Jesus was obviously misquoted all over the place," blogger P.Z. Myers writes sarcastically. "So what to do? When your claim of godly authority rests on your interpretation of God's holy word, but God's holy words contradict your desired ends, you're in a bit of a pickle. There is a solution, though: rewrite the Bible and change the liberal bits!"
"The insane hubris of this really staggers the mind," writes Rod Dreher at Beliefnet. "These right-wing ideologues know better than the early church councils that canonized Scripture? They really think it's wise to force the word of God to conform to a 21st-century American idea of what constitutes conservatism? These jokers don't worship God. They worship ideology."