Do conservatives love anything as much as they love dramatically misquoting the Bible on Twitter?

It’s been a bad week for conservatives. By bad, I mean that gay people now have equal marriage rights in thirteen states and a comprehensive and bipartisan immigration reform bill was passed. I don’t know what it says about the Grand Old Party’s current state that this is “bad”, but many of its members certainly are upset about it. And when conservatives get upset, they misquote the bible on Twitter.

First off was Mike Huckabee, who took to twitter to vent his rage at the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA,

Just so you know, this famous biblical verse has nothing to do with gay marriage or anything even remotely related to gay marriage. It’s Jesus’ response to the death of his friend Lazarus. HuffPo blogger Emily Timbol summed up just how callous Huckabee’s use of this verse was,

“If Mike Huckabee had even a smidgen of compassion for the LGBT community, he’d realize how callous and inappropriate it was to quote this verse as a sign of his unhappiness with the verdict. Jesus didn’t weep in verse 35 because He was angry that the culture was turning in a direction He didn’t agree with. He wept for a family. For a friend. For people He felt deep compassion and affection for. People who lost a loved one.”

Well said. And if that’s not enough righteous Huckabee-bashing for you, Buzzfeed also collected fifteen twitter responses to his tweet, which call Huckabee out for being a gross hypocrite.

But Huckabee wasn’t the only formerly-relevant republican politician to utterly misuse a bible verse this week.

After the house passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, Palin took to twitter to lambast the GOP’s most (possibly only) visible example of racial diversity – Marco Rubio, one of the authors of the bill. Palin tweeted,

Comparing bipartisan collaboration to selling out the messiah is downright bizarre. I guess in Palin’s mind, any sort of work that Barack Obama approves of  is equivalent to the betrayal of Jesus.

Judas is thirsty.

Here’s the thing: The Bible is a really compelling book full of interesting stories, important life lessons, and a lot of strange morality plays that made sense to fourth-century-B.C. Jews but don’t make a whole lot of sense to us. Basically, there’s a lot of contextual information needed to understand it, which is why plenty of scholars devote their whole lives to understanding even small parts of The Bible.
The problem is that there’s an unfortunate tendency in modern Christianity to use the Bible the way an eight-grader writing an English paper uses Wikiquote. Take for example the common practice of opening a bible to a random verse and using that verse as life advice, which I learned of when I attended a mildly Christian summer camp growing up in Michigan. This practice, apparently called a “Bible Dip“, might not be all that common, but its not dissimilar from what Palin and Huckabee are doing. They open up their Bible, look for a verse that sounds dramatic, and toss it up on the internet without context to show how God backs them up.

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