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Smut for Smut: College Students Trading Bibles for Porn

Students at the University of Texas – San Antonio supporting a student organization dubbed the Atheist Agenda, are in an active bartering process on campus: free porn to trade in those dusty old bibles. After all, it’s "Smut for Smut," right?

I don’t know, I don’t remember any sexy drama in Genesis, except a lot of people sleeping with their sisters (and daughters–thanks for that, Lot), so maybe it’s a New Testament thing. Which might be why it seems like only Christians were protesting.

According to the UTSA Paisano student newspaper, the club collected roughly ten religious texts on Monday–Qurans, Torahs and Bibles–in exchange for issues of Playboy, Penthouse and other adult-oriented magazines. Why? Because the Bible advocates the mistreatment of women, and pornography is mistreatment of women, therefore Bible = porn. Obviously.

University officials, who are clearly not products of Fordham University, are apparently fine with it, saying it’s an issue of free speech. I’d love to see what my Jesuit dean, who already hates me for writing articles about Fordham’s Catholic problem, would have to say about a campaign like this one. I feel like expulsion would be in the cards. But alas, the UTSA club has done it before and will likely do it again: the campaign was first launched in 2005, propelling former president Thomas Jackson to go head-to-head with conservative pundit Tucker Carlson on MSNBC.

Carlos Morales, the current president of The Atheist Agenda, told The Paisano, "It’s an ancient text that condones violence, genocide, misogyny towards women and is almost completely fictional. The Jews were never held by the Egyptians; Noah’s ark never happened. All these things are completely fictional."

Fiction is one thing. I tend to agree with The Friendly AtheistPurdue’s Society of Non-Theists‘ "Fiction for Fiction" campaign seemed a lot more legitimate. 

But still, if it’s all fictional, how come we Jews have so many holidays centered around "They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!"? Silly atheists.

Here’s the thing: regardless of what you believe about the legitimacy of the Bible, it’s the basis of so much of our culture, both religious and secular, around the world. We have weekends because of the commandment to keep the Sabbath. But maybe we should get rid of Saturdays and Sundays, too. And the constitution, because, don’t forget, the U.S. was founded on Judeo-Christian values. No big.

You don’t have to take the Bible at its word (as God’s word) to recognize that there are positive messages to be shared. Take, for instance: "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Romans 13:9) or "Eat, drink, and be merry" (Ecclesiastes 8:15) or "Great men are not always wise" (Job 32:9) or "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). I can go on.

As for those who think it’s all fiction, that’s cool too: Biblical themes are the staple for so much of well-respected modern literature. Think C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman, John Steinbeck, Jeanette Winterson, John Milton, Joseph Conrad, Flannery O’Connor, and yes, even J.K. Rowling. Are you really going to try to tell me that the Chronicles of Narnia was smut? I think not.

I’m all about being a little controversial to spark conversation, but equating the Book of Psalms with Hustler just doesn’t make any sense. It’s these kinds of college students that give the rest of us a bad name. Even if you’re not religious or you don’t believe in the legitimacy of the Bible, there is something to be taken from the text. You can be a liberal academic without reducing the Bible to porn. I promise.

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