Feature

Only in America: Banning 'booty' from the Bible

The first overhaul of the New American Bible in 41 years excises a word that has taken on a sexy connotation... and spoils the fun of adolescent Sunday schoolers

The story: Some words that won't appear in the new version of the New American Bible: "Booty," "holocaust," and "cereal." Instead, thanks to the popular Bible's first update since 1970, readers will find "spoils of war," "burnt offerings," and "grain." About 50 scholars from all faiths, along with a committee of Catholic bishops, tinkered with the language for 17 years, and the result is "a beautiful translation," says Mary Sperry, who oversees Bible licensing for the U.S. bishops. "It's a new way to look at an old love."The reaction: I guess "all the teenagers in Sunday School will have one less thing to laugh about now that 'booty'" is getting the boot, says the Rev. Alan Rudnick in the Albany Times Union. The "smart translators" are making "a tacit acknowledgment that 'booty' has acquired a certain sexual connotation in contemporary English," says Bryan Cones in U.S. Catholic. Well, "right on" — the faithful deserve a Bible that "speaks clearly in today's living English."

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