Letters: Phrases From The Bible And The SPLC

Following our conversation with David Crystal about his book, Begat, listeners wrote to share their favorite biblical idioms that come up in everyday speech. Also, Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Policy Law Center responded to our conversation with Matthew Franck.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments. Our conversation about the King James Version of the Bible and its influence on the English language prompted many of you to write about a perceived error regarding the phrase: The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Many of you wrote to say that phrase is in the Bible - and it may well be, but not in the King James version. Our guest, David Crystal, was correct.

And from Jim Spaling(ph), we got this bit of biblical humor: When I was growing up, he wrote, an elderly neighbor used to run across the street when the light changed. When we asked the reason why, he said, the Bible says there are two kinds of people: the quick and the dead.

Our conversation with Matthew Franck regarding his op-ed about the gay marriage debate angered many of you when you referred to the Southern Poverty Law Center as a once-respected civil rights organization.

Iliana(ph) Martinez sent this email: What has this organization done to lose any of its respect? I've come to admire this group even more than ever, as they have taken on the underreported rise of attacks on Latinos, especially Mexicans. The SPLC is one of the foremost organizations dedicated to fighting hate.

We also heard from Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the op-ed, and again, on the show, Franck accused the SPLC of designating certain organizations as hate groups for no reason other than their opposition to same-sex marriage. He cited The National Organization for Marriage as an example of a group he claimed had been unfairly tarred and feathered with the hate group label as part of an attempt to stifle debate on same-sex marriage.

Franck's charges are inaccurate, Richard Cohen of the SPLC wrote. In our recent report, we designated groups as hate groups only if they knowingly spread demeaning falsehoods about gay men and lesbians. Contrary to Franck's claim on the show, we did not designate the National Organization for Marriage as a hate group, despite its opposition to same-sex marriage, precisely because we didn't have evidence that it was knowingly spreading lies. We're all for robust public debates, but demeaning falsehoods have no place in them. Gay men and lesbians are by far the most likely group to be targeted for hate crimes in our country. Propagating demeaning falsehoods about the LGBT community simply adds fuel to the fire.

If you have a correction for us, comments or questions, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow me there @nealconan, all one word.

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