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Monday, February 20, 2012
CNS' Starr Has Another Smithsonian Freakout (And Gets A Key Fact Wrong)

Does Penny Starr spend all of her waking hours wandering around Smithsonian museums looking for something to offend her? It seems so.

The highly biased reporter has a long history of manufacturing outrage over Smithsonian exhibits, most notoriously freaking out over a gay-themed art exhibit at one museum. Now she's at it again.

In a Feb. 14 CNS article, Starr is a couple hundred years late to the story of Thomas Jefferson's edited version of the Bible, the subject of a new Smithsonian exhibit. She complains that Jefferson's Bible omits Jesus' resurrection, suggesting that the Smithsonian is calling Jefferson a "genius" for editing the Bible.

But Starr can't get her facts straight. She writes:

In an exhibition that runs through May at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Founding Father and U.S. President Thomas Jefferson is described as a “genius” and “revolutionary” who created his own Bible by cutting and pasting the verses he preferred into a separate compilation.


The Web site states Jefferson’s “New Testament”  is “an extension of his revolutionary spirit” and that, “In religion as in politics, he imagined liberating contemporary minds from inherited misconceptions and superstitions.”

A 3½-minute video that is in the exhibit and available on the Web site states that it is “a brick and mortar glimpse into the mind of a genius.”

In fact, the video applies that description to Jefferson's home, not his Bible. The video's very first words are "Monticello -- a brick and mortar glimpse into the mind of a genius." The Jefferson Bible itself is not mentioned until nearly two minutes into the video.

Given that Starr's central grievance has no factual basis, all she's left with is complaining that a revered figure in American history interpreted the Christian faith differently than she does. Is that really something to make a "news" article out of?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EST

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