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Drought then deluge

"Drought then deluge" Continued...

Issue: "Boy Scout dilemma," May 18, 2013

Translation clarification

Last year, under a storm of controversy over translation policies in Muslim contexts, Wycliffe Bible Translators and its affiliate SIL sought an audit from an independent panel. The World Evangelical Alliance–organized panel released its report in April that doesn’t overtly criticize Wycliffe’s policies but offers somewhat more rigid guidelines. 

Wycliffe’s previous standards said translators should use literal translations for “son of God” and “God the father” in a “majority” of cases, but left open the possibility of using an “alternative term with equivalent meaning” when the literal translation might communicate that God had a sexual relationship with Mary. Two denominations threatened to withdraw support from Wycliffe over the policy.

The new recommendations are clearer, as the panel “recommends that when the words for ‘father’ and ‘son’ refer to God the Father and to the Son of God, these words always be translated with the most directly equivalent familial words within the given linguistic and cultural context of the recipients.” Wycliffe said it would implement the recommendations. It had suspended work on the controversial translations while the review moved forward. 

French division

Despite deep divisions, French lawmakers narrowly voted to legalize same-sex marriage on April 23. French President François Hollande plans to sign the bill into law after France’s Constitutional Council reviews a challenge to the bill. The challenge appears unlikely to succeed. Same-sex civil unions have been legal in France since 1999. 

This year protests against the bill drew hundreds of thousands of people, and dissent isn’t limited to France: The bill legalizes adoptions for gay couples, prompting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to threaten to change Russia’s adoption agreement with France. 

In recent weeks, legislatures in New Zealand and Uruguay have also passed bills to legalize same-sex marriage, bringing to 14 the number of countries to do so, most of which are European. 


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