Say What?

Nancy Pelosi sent out an uncharacteristic press release celebrating Earth Day and calling for an end to climate change. The release ended with a biblical quotation. “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 […]

nancypelosi.jpgNancy Pelosi sent out an uncharacteristic press release celebrating Earth Day and calling for an end to climate change. The release ended with a biblical quotation. “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 invocation of scripture is raising many an eyebrow for two reasons. First, it is usually Pelosi’s republican counterparts who quote the good book. And second, it appears that no such bible verse exists. Was the Pelosi office just paraphrasing? It seems that Speaker Pelosi has used the phrase many times before and has attributed it to the book of Isaiah. This is not to say that the Bible doesn’t instruct man to care for the earth. Two passages that instruct enviromental care taking are Genesis 1:26. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” and Lev. 25:23-24. “The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.”
Addendum: Actually, the best biblical texts for Pelosi are probably Genesis 2:15 (“And the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to dress it and keep it.”) and Jeremiah 2:7 (“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.”). For an excellent portrait of religious environmentalism, see Andrew Walsh’s article in the current issue of Religion in the News.