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Did Michele Bachmann Deliberately Sugarcoat the History of Slavery in America?

Around the time that “Good News for Modern Man,” the modern-English version of the New Testament, was published in the mid-1970s, I was spending a summer out of college in the Southern, suburban small town where I’d gone to high school.

No one I knew personally objected to (or cared about) the new translation, but among a vocal minority out in the hustings who believed that the Bible was the dictated word of God, there was outrage. One of their leaders, a country preacher called Rev. Johnny, found the “Good News” to be so blasphemous that he scheduled an old-fashioned book burning in front of the courthouse.

Being young, irreligious and bored, my friends and I tuned in to the reverend’s pre-conflagration sermon on a fuzzy AM radio station, during which he made this unforgettable statement:

REV. JOHNNY: The King James version of the Bible is the only true version of the Bible because it’s the version of the Bible that Jesus carried with him on the Crusades. (Emphasis his.)

For the history challenged, what Rev. Johnny asserted here was that Jesus, who is said to have died about 33 A.D., led the Crusades against the Muslim infidels in the Holy Land, circa 1000 to 1300 A.D., and that he had in hand an edition of the King James Version of the Bible — an English translation from the original Greek commissioned in 1604 by England’s James I.

I was reminded of Rev. Johnny’s rewrite of the first 1,600 years of the Christian era when I heard GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is running for president, rewrite the history of slavery in speech to potential Iowa caucus-goers over the weekend:

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