(Imagine me saying that in my best Cary Grant impersonation voice.)
I've tried to help you out with this Bible thing before. Back in December of 1995 I helpfully pointed out that the "Bible scripture" that you were quoting wasn't in the Bible at all! At least it wasn't in any of the translations to which I have access.
But you weren't listening. Not that I blame you, really. You are a big-shot Democrat, I'm a nobody Republican. You are from San Francisco, I'm from a small town in Puget Sound.
But you're still doing it; and you're still using the same oddball misquote. In your press release for 2008 Earth Day, you write:
“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.”I'm still scratching my head over this quote. I'm not the only one.
But, I'm a big man. Maybe you do know better than me. I read neither Hebrew, Koine Greek, nor Aramaic. So I am writing you via your big shot Congressional Speaker's website's "contact" page:
Speaker Pelosi;I promise I will post your reply here.
In your press release "Celebrating Earth Day," you quote the Old Testament using the following scripture:
‘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.’
Would you please tell me where in the Old Testament that this quote is found? I understand that there are many translations and that quote may not be word-for-word, but where can I find this quote's source?
Thank you for your time and attention.
UPDATE: No, not a reply from Ms Pelosi. But of course I'm not the only person trying to get to the bottom of this quote. CNSNews has tried for two days to get a reply from Speaker Pelosi's office to source the quote. They have also surveyed several Biblical scholars to see if they could provide a plausible (or even implausible) source for the quote:
John J. Collins, the Holmes professor of Old Testament criticism and interpretation at Yale Divinity School, said he is totally unfamiliar with Pelosi's quotation.The problem with the "paraphrase" theory is that her press release enclosed the questionable text in quotation marks.
"(It's) not one that I recognize," Collins told Cybercast News Service. "I assume that she means this is a paraphrase. But it wouldn't be a close paraphrase to anything I know of."
Claude Mariottini, a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Cybercast News Service the passage not only doesn't exist - it's "fictional."
"It is not in the Bible," Mariottini said. "There is nothing that even approximates that."
Other scholars agree that nothing remotely resembling it can be found in any version of the Scriptures - Old Testament or New Testament.
"The quote does not exist in the Old Testament, neither in the New Testament," said the Rev. Andreas Hock, a doctor of Scripture who teaches in the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Denver's St. John Vianney Seminary.
"Even in pieces or bits, (it) cannot be found in the Old Testament," he added.
CNS also review the fact that Speaker Pelosi uses this quote more than an Evangelical uses John 3:16:
So, until I hear from you, Nancy, I'm going with the explanation provided by Professor Mariottini:
- December 2005, in a Christmas message to the U.S. House of Representatives, Pelosi said: "And as the Bible teaches us, 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. Let us vote no on this budget as an act of worship and for America's children."
- Feb. 8, 2007, in remarks before the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee, when it held hearings on global warming, she used the same quote, verbatim, as in her Earth Day release.
- April 6, 2007, in congressional remarks before the Easter recess: "In this Holy Week, we are reminded of these words 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.' We must move quickly to honor God's creation by reducing greenhouse gas pollution in the United States and around the world."
- April 25, 2007, in a speech to the League of Conservation Voters in Washington, D.C.: "We are now charging ahead to tackle one of humanity's greatest challenges yet - global warming. We will do this because we hold our children's future in our hands - not our grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, but our own children. "As it says 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.'"
- Oct. 22, 2007, in a television interview with PBS host Tavis Smiley, she used it in discussion of her roots, attributing the quote to the book of Isaiah: "I'm raised in a family in Baltimore, Maryland, my father was the mayor. He was in Congress when I was born. And we were devoutly Catholic, very patriotic. We love America. Devoutly Catholic, deeply patriotic, proud of our Italian American heritage, and in our case, staunchly Democratic.
"And that faith 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.'"
"People try to use the Bible to give authority to what they are trying to say," he said. "(This) is one of those texts that you fabricate in order to support what you want to say."