America has its share of illiterate politicians. Nancy Pelosi tops the list finding Bible verses that aren’t in the Bible. For example, on Earth Day, Nancy Pelosi quoted what she said was the Bible:
“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.”
There’s no such verse.
It’s not just in America where biblical ignorance among politicians seems to be an epidemic. Kevin Rudd is the Prime Minister of Australia. He’s trying to secure the job in the next election by appealing to the homosexual community. Rudd claims to be a Christian.
Mr. Rudd was asked how he could support homosexual marriage as a Christian. “If you call yourself a Christian, why don’t you believe the words of Jesus in the Bible?” Pastor Matt Prater asked.
Rudd responded: “Well mate, if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.”
Rudd received loud applause for his answer. The audience was equally ignorant.
Where is that verse? Maybe he was channeling Nancy Pelosi.
Aristotle believed in the reasonableness and “natural order” for slavery because there are some people who are “slaves by nature,” a phrase found in his Politics:
“Of all the ideas churned up during the early tumultuous years of American history, none had a more dramatic application than the attempts made to apply to the natives there the Aristotelian doctrine of natural slavery: that one part of mankind is set aside by nature to be slaves in the service of masters born for a life of virtue free of manual labour.”1
“For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary,” Aristotle wrote, “but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.”
God brought the Israelites out of slavery (Deut. 15:15). The Bible called for the death penalty for the crime of “man stealing”: “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death” (Ex. 21:16; Deut. 24:7; 1 Tim. 1:9-11).
Can you imagine where we would be today if that law had been followed? The slave trade would have been designated a criminal act. Instead, Aristotle replaced the Bible.
The Bible requires restitution for most property crimes (Ex. 21:33–34; 22:3, 5, 6; 22:12). Restitution assures that only the thief pays. Those not associated with the crime are not taxed to punish the thief through an expensive prison system. If a person is not able to pay restitution, then indentured servitude is a lawful option instead of a degrading prison system.
The Thirteenth Amendment maintains this aspect of biblical law:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Some people wanted to be slaves. In order to do so, they had to make their choice public (Deut. 15:16–18). We make it easy for people to become slaves today. We warehouse them in government “projects,” send them checks each month, and expect them to vote for the political party that enslaves them.
A poll was taken after Rudd’s response. It did not ask if the Prime Minister’s comments were accurate.
For a thorough study of the slavery topic, see “Slavery in the Bible.”
- Lewis Hanke, Aristotle and the American Indians (London: Hollis & Carter, 1959), 12–13. [↩]