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Worst Web Site in the World: Why does Marco Rubio keep quoting the 'most Republican part of the Bible'?
They call themselves Politico, after all, regardless of what we may choose to call them. So I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they think of the Bible (to the extent they think about it at all) in terms of "Republican parts" and, I guess, "Democrat parts." I'm sure that's what God had in mind when He inspired its writing.
But Joel Baden seems to see a particularly partisan bent to Proverbs, which is sometimes referred to as the Book of Wisdom. He thinks all this wisdom is too . . . Republican, and doesn't like Marco Rubio always tweeting quotes from it:
Proverbs is notable in that is presents a fairly consistent view of the world: The righteous are rewarded, and the wicked are punished. In the understanding of Proverbs, everyone gets what is coming to them; behavior is directly linked to reward or punishment. This worldview has social consequences: Those who succeed in life must be more righteous than those who struggle.
Some of the statements in Proverbs look strikingly similar to those made by modern-day conservative policymakers. Take, for example, Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who, arguing that poorer people should pay more for health care, recently said, “Those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy.” It’s not quite a direct quote from Proverbs, but it’s not too far from these: “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry” (Proverbs10:3) and “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4). In short: Proverbs is probably the most Republican book of the entire Bible.
Proverbs is really a collection—or, more accurately, a collection of collections. Some of these sayings have very ancient origins, including one section that is clearly dependent on an Egyptian wisdom treatise from the second millennium B.C. Overall, though, the book was put together rather late—and not, as tradition holds, by King Solomon—and generally deals with questions of how to live a righteous life.
For example: Just this past July 5, Rubio tweeted, “They will die from lack of discipline, lost because of their great folly. Proverbs 5:23.” Of course, it’s not all diligence and righteousness—in Proverbs, faith in God, too, will keep you away from things like poverty and failure. On June 16, Rubio tweeted, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Other Republicans appear to have a thing for Proverbs, too. Ben Carson, during the 2016 presidential campaign, compared himself favorably to the blustery style of then-candidate Donald Trump by quoting Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” Gerald Ford’s favorite Bible passage was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh [the Lord], put no faith in your own perception; in every course you take, have him in mind: He will see that your paths are smooth.” Ford repeated this when he served in the Navy during World War II, throughout his presidency and in his swearing-in.
I've heard certain liberals, clearly the very delusional ones, claim "facts have a liberal bias." Maybe I could resopnd that wisdom has a conservative bias.
Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe people like Marco Rubio embrace the wisdom that's offered in Proverbs, and that has informed the worldview that also led them to be political conservatives.
But as is usually the case with liberals and journalists (but I repeat myself), Baden gets the wisdom of Proverbs backwards. He thinks all these admonitions about responsibility and righteousness serve as license to toss aside and disregard those who have made mistakes in life. Quite the opposite, Proverbs serves as guiding wisdom for people who have made mistakes in their lives and would like to change directions and get on a better path. If you're close to God, it tells you how to stay there. If you're far from Him, it shows you the way back.
Baden can't see this, though, because he insists on looking at everything through the lense of 21st century partisan politics. That's why he urges Rubio and other Republicans to read a variety of other verses that sound more liberal to him, like those that command us to help the poor, or caution about how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Here's the truth: None of these passages are Republican or Democratic. They are all distinct parts of God's revelation of Himself to those He created. The Bible is not a guide for how to make public policy, and it's certainly not a tool for one political party to use to try to bludgeon the other.
Proverbs is excellent advice for any individual who wants to live a good life. It's also 31 verses, and for that reason many people like to read a Proverb a day throughout an entire month. Rubio is probably doing something like that with his current practice of tweeting a proverb a day. If Joel Baden understood the heart of God at all, he'd be hoping to see more people live according to the advice in Proverbs rather than fretting about how "Republican" it seems.
By the way, he seems to think Ecclesiastes is an example of a more "Democrat part" of the Bible. Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Old Testament, and I know it well. It is not political in any sense, except to the extent it warns that worldly philosophies (along with all kinds of other pursuits) are ultimately a chasing after the wind because the whole duty of man is simply to fear God and keep His commands.
I guess Baden doesn't know what to do with that because he can't figure out the political angle. We don't call it the Worst Web Site in the World for nothing, folks.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!