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Verses, Foiled Again!

Claim:   Politician cites the wrong verse as his favorite Biblical passage.

LEGEND

Examples:

[Collected on the Internet, July 2004]

Subject: Bush and John 3:16

Worth thinking about . . . The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don't!!!

Think about it! Bush gave a big speech last week about how his faith is so "important" to him. In this attempt to convince the American people that we should consider him for president, he announced that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3. Of course the speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Bush camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error. And do you know what John 16:3 says? John 16:3 says; "And they will do this because they have not known the Father nor Me".

The Holy Spirit works in strange ways. Pass it on.
 

[Collected via e-mail, August 2004]

The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don't!

Think about it!

Kerry gave a big speech last week about how his faith is so "important" to him. In this attempt to convince the American people that we should consider him for president, he announced that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.

Of course the speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Kerry camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error. And do you know what John 16:3 says? John 16:3 says; "They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." The Spirit works in strange ways.
 

[Collected via e-mail, March 2009]

The Lord has a way of revealing to those of us who know Him and those that don't! Think about this!? Obama gave a big speech about how his faith is so "important" to him.? In an attempt to convince the American people that he should be president, he said his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.? Of course the speech writers meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Obama camp is familiar enough with scripture to catch the error, including Obama. Do you know what John 16:3 really says? "And they will do these things because they have not known the Father nor Me." The Holy Spirit works in strange ways .
 

Origins:   This item is a yet another oft-recycled jab which gets updated every few years to target the political figure du jour. It circulated in March 2009 as an anecdote told about President Barack Obama and in mid-2004 about President George W. Bush and (Democratic presidential nominee) Senator John Kerry, and all those tellings were merely slightly different versions of a rumor circulated in June 1999 about Vice President Al Gore:
In an important speech given this week, Al Gore attempted to portray how important his faith is in his life. He of course was trying to apply what he's learned from his mentor Clinton. Here's what happened.

In his typically stiff, condescending, and insincere manner, he said his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3. Of course, the speech writer meant 3:16, but wasn't even familiar enough with this often quoted & of course often taken for granted Scripture to catch the error. Neither was Gore, and how incredibly appropriate it is.

"And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me." — John 16:3
The irony in this put-down is easy to see: a leading political figure seeks to reassure the voting public of his devoutness and commitment to religion by mentioning his
"favorite" Biblical passage, but instead of citing John 3:16, a verse that expresses the central tenet of Christianity ("For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"), he instead transposes the numbers and cites a verse in which Jesus warns his disciples about the danger posed to them by those who have not heeded the true word of God ("They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me").

When this rumor referenced Al Gore back in 1999, it was readily spread by conservative commentators. (Paul Harvey, for example, mentioned it during his noontime broadcast on 6 July 1999.) Oddly enough, conservative columnist Cal Thomas maintained that the story was indeed true, only it had to do with President George H. W. Bush (father of George W. Bush):
Bush said it in my presence at a religious broadcasters convention about 1990, and I wrote about it in my book, Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America. But somehow it got twisted around and stuck on the Internet and put in Al Gore's mouth. He's got a lot of stuff that he has to defend, but that's not one of them.
The relevant passage in Thomas' book reads as follows:
These religious sideshows take on the trappings of political conventions. The president is always invited, but clearly the [National Religious Broadcasters convention] delegates prefer a Republican. One year, George Bush was a speaker at the NRB convention and said that his favorite Bible verse was "John 16:3." Unless he had dyslexia, he meant to say John 3:16, but the moment taught a lesson. Someone must have said, "Here, give them a Bible verse, mention God, and they'll vote for you next time."
Last updated:   29 March 2009

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Sources:

    McCaslin, John.   "Inside the Beltway."
    The Washington Times.   25 February 2000.

    Meakes, Daryl.   Drunkcow Landmines.
    Infinity Publishing, 2004.   0-741-42257-3   (p. 257).

    Thomas, Cal and Ed Dobson.   Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America
    Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999.   ISBN 0-310-22650-3   (p. 97).