The Bible and Earth Day

Last year, on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, I wrote the following post:

The Bible and Global Warming

People who say politicians do not know their Bible are not aware of all the biblical quotations we find in speeches published by the distinguished men and women who serve in Congress. At times, politicians like to act like preachers. Politicians like to quote the Bible to prove their argument is solid.

Take the case of the Honorable Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California and the Speaker of the House. In a speech before the House Science and Technology Committee Hearing, she spoke on the pressing issue of global warming.

Speaker Pelosi said that the future of our children and grandchildren is in our hands. She spoke about the need to act now in order to save our planet. To prove her point, that government needs to act now and tackle “humanity’s greatest challenge,” she quoted the Bible. She said:

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.”

These are touching words. This biblical admonition is very important and highly relevant to the pressing issue of global warming.

Too bad this biblical admonition is not in the Old Testament.

According to CNSNews, today, “Earth Day,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked God and the Bible in her Earth Day Declaration. According to the CNSNews news report:

Pelosi explained what the “New Direction” Democrats are doing to fix the problem, then concluded by quoting from the Bible:

“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 honor the earth and our future generations with a commitment to fight climate change.”

This is the same quote she used before and I have to say, her quote is still not in the Old Testament.

Joe Osborne at House of Leoj did a Google search on Nancy Pelosi’s use of the Old Testament and here is what Joe wrote:

So I searched Google for the direct quotation. It turns out that this is not the first time she has used this “quote”. The Pelosi Op-ed on Dr. Martin Luther King Day contains the same words. I also found it in an October 2007 interview with Tavis Smiley. (No, I am not making that name up!) She even used the same quote in her Earth Day 2007 statement, the budget bill in 2005 debate and, evidently, her Christmas 2005 statement.

It seems that when people do not have much to say, they recycle their words over and over again as Nancy Pelosi has done. It is easy to make up what the Bible says when you don’t know what the Bible says. Pelosi’s words say a lot about her knowledge of the Old Testament.

Somebody should tell the Speaker that her words of wisdom from the Bible are not in the Bible.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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13 Responses to The Bible and Earth Day

  1. D. P. says:

    >Is this from the book of Hezekiah?


  2. >Hi D.P,Welcome back.This text surely belongs in the book of Hezekiah. Maybe I will included it in my second edition of the book.Nice to hear from you again.Claude Mariottini


  3. >Professor;I’ve emailed the Speaker’s office, asking for some hint on the source of that quote. I really don’t expect a reply.I wonder, though, just *what* is the source of the quote (it is usually enclosed in quotation marks). I really don’t think that Ms Pelosi invented the quote from the whole cloth. Some other book? People who aren’t very biblically literate often mistake quotes from Shakespeare, Milton, or even Ben Franklin for scripture. It sounds very New-Age-ish, but that may just be my Evangelical bias.


  4. >Dear WhidbeyIslander,I am quite sure that the quote comes from another source. I know the quote is not in the Bible.It is difficult to ascertain the source of the quote. Many people fabricate quotes from the Bible in order to give authority to what they are trying to say.If her office tells you the source of the quote, let me know. I want to know too.Claude Mariottini


  5. Bob Buller says:

    >Note that Speaker Pelosi attributed this “biblical quote” to Isaiah in the Tavis Smiley interview linked above. The quote in context there is: “And that faith [her family’s] was related to our Democratic values. That is to say the gospel of Matthew. ‘When I was hungry, you gave me to eat.’ You know, the least of our brethren. So that’s an inspiration in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Isaiah says, ‘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.'”


  6. >Cited in the closing moments of Rush Limbaugh, now. You’ve arrived, Dr. Mariottini!


  7. Jennifer says:

    >Please pick up the book of Genesis in Hebrew and you’ll find it. Happy reading!


  8. >Jennifer – I can tell you for certain, that this “quotation” is not from Genesis (B’reshit) in the Hebrew bible, nor is it from any one of the other four books of the Hebrew Bible (the Torah.) Nor is the sentence structure nor the way the thought is put together anything that sounds remotely like the holy words of the Torah. Best regards,SteveR


  9. >Bob,Thank you for your comment. As you know, the words the Speaker used are not in Isaiah. Her words must be a quotation from another source.Claude Mariottini


  10. >Chuck,Thank you for let me know that Rush quoted me in his program. I never thought that I would make it.By the way, I visited your blog today and I liked what you write. I will be visiting your blog more often.Claude Mariottini


  11. >Jennifer,You must be mistaken. There is no such a passage in the book of Genesis and nothing in Genesis comes close to the words the Speaker used. If you know where the words can be found, send me an email listing the chapter and verse.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini


  12. >Steve,Thank you for your comments to Jennifer. I agree with you. Nothing in the Hebrew Bible comes close to what the Speaker wrote. Her words do not come from the Bible but from another unknown source.Claude Mariottini


  13. goulablogger says:

    >Well, thank you, Dr. Mariottini. I am mostly a terrible cribber as a blogger, but I hope my blog can provide some information and amusement for some folk. I do try to use good sources.I have always enjoyed your blog as well, and should actually add you to my blog roll once I finally settle on which blog service to use.


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