Politicians have a tough time with Bible memorization. Seems like it wouldn’t be that hard to just commit something simple to memory if you need to have a verse handy, but there are a suspicious number of examples of politicians caught off guard by the “what’s your favorite verse?” question, like this infamous word salad that came from President Donald Trump.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi does have a favorite Bible verse. She actually just quoted it to a gathering of Christian college presidents in Washington: “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.”
Pelosi hedged her recitation of the verse a little, saying “I can’t find it in the Bible, but I quote it all the time. I keep reading and reading the Bible. I know it’s there someplace. It’s supposed to be in Isaiah.”
Alas, it is not in Isaiah. In fact, it’s not in any book of the Bible. To be honest, it’s not totally clear where this quote comes from. You could make the case that the sentiment is biblical, but that’s about as far as it goes.
As Slate reports, Pelosi has definitely used the quote a lot over the course of her political career, dating all the way back to 2002. The language has been tweaked here and there, but the quote has generally stayed pretty consistent in the 11 times she’s referenced it.
So if this quote isn’t in the Bible, where is it from? Outside of Pelosi, the internet finds no other uses of the quote. Pelosi has attributed it to a Bishop in the past and if so, it wasn’t written down anywhere Google-able when he said it. If anyone out there has any clues, feel free to let us know.
Pelosi has spoken regularly about her Catholic faith and none of this is meant to cast doubt on her sincerity. But if she’s gonna “keep reading and reading” to find the verse she’s looking for, she’s in for a long Bible study. Still, there are worse ways to spend your time.