Thursday, April 24, 2008

Biblical Scholars Challenge Pelosi's 'Scripture' Quote
By Pete Winn Senior Staff Writer
April 23, 2008

( - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is fond of quoting a particular passage of Scripture. The quote, however, does not appear in the Bible and is "fictional," according to biblical scholars.

In her April 22 Earth Day news release, Pelosi 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.' 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."

Cybercast News Service repeatedly queried the speaker's office for two days to determine where the alleged Bible quote is found. Thus far, no one has responded.

Distinguished biblical scholars, however, cast doubt on the existence of the passage.

Doesn't sound familiar to me either.

UPDATE: Iyov is defending Pelosi: Nancy Pelosi got the Bible right.

That's overstating it. She expresses an entirely laudable sentiment and there is some support for it in Jewish midrashic and halachic tradition that draws on biblical ideas, but the quotation is not in the Bible. The closest parallel seems to be Genesis 2:15, but Pelosi's quotation would at best be a somewhat anachronistic midrashic meditation on the verse. Taking care of the land (so human beings can benefit from it!) is generally taken as divine service in agricultural societies, but the modern gaia-oriented disinterested devotion to nature is, well, modern.

UPDATE (1 May): More here.