Hoping to score some cheap evangelical cred, Lauren Boebert asked her Twitter followers what their favorite Bible verse is. Did she really think that an open social media forum was going to give her what she wanted? Perhaps. She’s dumb enough to think it might. Or maybe she’s from the Marjorie Taylor Greene school of affirmation by scorn.
The Bible is a useful tool for the bigot. The King James Version (KJV) comprises 31,102 verses. Pretty much whatever your philosophy, you can find one to support it. And the best strategy is to remove the verse from its context.
The classic example of this kind of cherry-picking is the favorite go-to for homophobes,
Leviticus 20:13: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
But these unpleasant little people ignore the rest of the chapter. Before this verse, there is one that demands the death penalty for “everyone that curseth his father or his mother” and another for “the adulterer and the adulteress”. Later, the chapter mandates death for bestiality — which is still legal in several states. And Leviticus 20 also requires people, who have had sex during menstruation, to be exiled.
But let's play along with Boebert. Here are some of the verses people alluded to. Let’s start with the one welcoming immigrants.
Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
The Bible is particularly tough on liars
Proverbs 10:18 “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.”
Proverbs 25:18 “A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.”
Exodus 20:16 (9th comandment) “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Also religious hypocrites
Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.”
Matthew 7:3 “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
And the stupid
Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
The Bible is for a welfare state.
Leviticus 25:35 ”If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.”
But it is not in favor of bearing arms.
Matthew 26:52 “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
The Bible is not a fan of money-grubbing or political contributions
Proverbs 15:27 “Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.”
Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”
It is against idolatry (def: extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone — like the last guy.)
1 Corinthians 10:14 “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”
And the Bible demands the separation of church and state
Matthew 22:21 “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”
Let’s end with the Golden Rule — which is a sentiment common to all cultures.
Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Just in case you were wondering, Boebert’s favorite verse is in Isaiah
Isaiah 8:18 “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.”
It is an unsurprising choice. It’s the sort of verse an unintelligent person thinks an intelligent person would pick. It is opaque. It sounds important when it’s really portentous. And it has ‘the Lord’ in it— twice — as well as ‘signs’ and ‘Zion’. You can’t get more biblical than that.
Note: There will be biblical scholars, some with years of theology under their belts, and others who just ‘know’ the real meaning, who will disagree with my assessment. And that is exactly my point.