House Speaker invents Bible verse

Maybe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quoting from the Howard Dean Version of the Holy Bible. You know, the one that has the book of Job in the New Testament. Or perhaps she’s picked up some new-fangled, biodegradable, Australian Earth Bible, with the words of Al Gore in red. Or perhaps, as congressmen sometimes do, she’s simply decided to “revise and extend” the book.

Here’s what Pelosi said in an Earth Day press release this week: “The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’ On this Earth Day, and every day, let us pledge to our children, and our children’s children, that they will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature.”

Turns out, there’s no such passage in the Bible — New Testament or Old, several Christian Right activists are pointing out.

Updated: April 24, 2008 — 10:33 am

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  1. It could be a paraphrase of Genesis 1:28 to 31. That makes it no less worthy than the entire text of the Living Bible or Good News for Modern Man.

  2. Biblical illiteracy raises its ugly head. Not only does Pelosi show her own biblical illiteracy by using a non-existent bible verse (assuming it is), and on the part of the press for not catching it earlier. Apparently this quote has been part of her standard religious speech for some time. One web site claimed she’d used it at least five times publicly over the years. As to the quote, are we sure it’s not at least a paraphrase of something? Either what Dennis suggests, or something from Isaiah? I’m no expert on the Old Testament, but she has apparently attributed the quote to the Prophet Isaiah in the past. Any Isaiah scholars out there?

    I’ll give you another one. The term “splitting the baby” has been used in law forever as a colloquial expression meaning a compromise ruling of some kind. Fearing, perhaps, the biblical illiteracy of its readers, the NYTimes today in an article about a murder case felt compelled to give the origin of the phrase:

    “The case may offer the judge the possibility of what in legal circles is sometimes called “splitting the baby,” named for King Solomon’s proposed solution to the case of two women who claimed to be the same child’s mother.

    In a criminal trial, splitting the baby is to find the defendant a little bit guilty and a little bit innocent, which tends to please the interests of neither the victim nor the accused.”

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