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Jeanette Rishell’s Bible References

By Greg L | 28 September 2006 | Jeanette Rishell | 6 Comments

During last Thursday’s debate Jeanette Rishell referenced the Holy Bible in order to support her policy positions. I was pretty shocked by this, as the context she used made the Bible seem more like it’s a social manifesto of one of the “three Abrahamic faith traditions” rather than the sacred text of the inspired Word of God. It’s bothered me terribly all this week, and I’ve pondered, reflected and prayed about what to say about this ever since. While I can crank out a response to a political question pretty quickly, when the matter is this utterly serious it’s a challenge to come to terms with the proper way to address this. Hopefully after all this reflection I have.

Why is this episode so bothersome? Ms. Rishell threw out these references pretty casually, and quoted Book and Chapter only (specifically Leviticus 3 and Matthew 25) which is rather unusual. Devoid of any context about why these passages were important, and what we are to learn from these parts of the Bible I looked these up as soon as I could, especially since Leviticus is very infrequently referenced and I wasn’t familiar with this passage. I was then shocked to discover that it appears that these two passages were selected entirely at random, have no relation to each other, and have nothing at all to do with what Jeanette Rishell was speaking about at the time. To me, it clearly was an attempt by a candidate to appear more informed and introspective than she really was, and her convenient weapon to wield at the time was her rather poor grasp of the Holy Bible and it’s message of salvation.

The Bible is not simply some ancient piece of literature to many of us. It serves a clear and distinct purpose, which is described in John 20:31:

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

What I learned when I went to the passages Jeanette Rishell quoted was that the first several chapters of Leviticus describe in great detail the rules God gave to Moses regarding the proper method of sacrificing animals. To Christians (Jews also regard this text as sacred, but have a different understanding of it’s meaning) these books show how hugely significant the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was, and these chapters presage this sacrifice for us. Chapter 25 of Matthew talks to us about the end times using three parables, and shows us how vitally important it is for us to be ready as the end of the world can come at any time. I invite readers familiar with the Bible to read these passages, especially those from Matthew in order to strengthen their faith and more closely follow God’s law. For readers less familiar with the Bible it’s probably wiser to start with passages which are easier to understand, such as John 1:1-18. That passage is pretty short, very meaningful, and doesn’t require much in the way of context outside of the passage.

I urge Ms. Rishell to display more discretion and not use the Bible in a manner inconsistent with it’s purpose and teachings. Perverting God’s word is a serious sin, and setting aside my political differences with her, I do not wish to see her sin and suffer the consequences which result. Ms. Rishell, I hope you come to grasp the true meaning of the Bible, it’s message of salvation, obtain forgiveness for your sins as I have for mine, and experience the same joy which this has provided to me. I may not want to see you elected, but I do hope and pray that you will be saved.



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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous said on 29 Sep 2006 at 12:20 am:
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    Greg:

    Do you think it is somewhat ironic that suddenly, after months of subjecting Jeannette to non-stop ridicule and cruel mocking that is in its savage tone very unchristian, that she should really take your concern about her use of the Bible as something you are seriously concerned about. Then, without knowing her personally, without even so much as one normal human conversation with her, you accuse her of pretending to be more spiritual and introspective than she is. I have no doubt about the sincerity of both your political views and religous convictions. But haven’t you spewed enough vile on Jeannette Rishell. Can you at least grant her the sincerity of her moral and spiritual convictions. Or is even that small concession to her humanity too much for you to muster in your zeal to carry out what has become a personal vendetta against somebody who has never done you any harm.

  2. Greg L said on 29 Sep 2006 at 10:35 am:
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    If I am acting in an unchristian manner, perhaps you can demonstrate why by providing some relevant passages to support that conclusion. Honestly, I will read them and reflect on them, as it’s a mite bit more important for me to follow God’s word than succeed in some transitory and earthly political debate. Help me be a better christian — I do not deny that I fail to follow the Word as I should and am a miserable sinner who could stand some major improvement. Show me what I do not understand about God’s Word.

    And no, it’s hard for me to take her seriously on this when she starts throwing out random Bible passages without understanding what they mean in order to make political hay. I hope she’ll take notice of what I’ve said and do better, if for no other reason than it’s her soul that’s at stake.

  3. Anonymous said on 29 Sep 2006 at 12:55 pm:
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    Greg:

    I think it comes down to the golden rule — “due unto others as you would have them due unto you.” Perhpas you think it is ok to belittle and ridicule a person on an almost non-stop basis, as you’ve done with Jeannette for the last several months. Maybe you don’t think it is unfair. Fine. We differ on that point. However, I think you go beyond the pale when you question the sincerity of her spiritual and religous convictions by accusing her of making opportunistic use of the Bible. You may disagree with her interpretation of the scriptures — a legitimate point of difference. However, since you can’t see into her soul, you don’t have any basis for knowing whether she is sincere or not. Suggesting that she is in a state of grave sin becasue she hears a call to social justice in the Bible, a call that puts her in the company of people like Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Social Worker movement, doesn’t make her a sinner, it just makes her somebody who looks at the Bible in a different way than you do.
    I acknowledge the sincerity and passion of your convictions. Is it so much for you to do the same for Jeannette?

  4. Greg L said on 29 Sep 2006 at 2:51 pm:
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    I believe she doesn’t understand the scriptures at all. If she understood the scriptures she would be able to quote an appropriate passage when speaking of Christian charity rather than Leviticus 3 and Matthew 25. And if she did undertand the scriptures, she would have immediately understood that her usage of the Bible in the debate was inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible, that it was sinful to do this, and that doing so puts her soul at risk. Why do I believe this? Because the passage I cited from John unambiguously tells me so. And because Galatians 1:9 tells me “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

    It would be better for Ms. Rishell to refrain from quoting the Bible until her understanding of it is more fully established, and she can use that understanding to better serve the Lord.

    And by the way, your reference is to Luke 6:31. There’s a lot more in that beautiful chapter, and it’s always worth revisiting that one. It’s another easy read, and a good beginner passage.

  5. Anonymousisawoman said on 3 Oct 2006 at 9:22 pm:
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    Greg, as a non-Christian who is very familiar with both the Hebrew testament and the newer Scripture (referred to by Christians as the New Testament) may I say that you sound sanctimonious.

    The Bible doesn’t belong to just you and those who interpret it as you do. There are many sincere people who disagree about the meaning of Scriptural passages.

    For me Levictictus has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ sacrifice. It is the holy Law that was given to the ancient Hebrews. Period.

    To you it is something completely different. Fine, we disagree. Yet we are both well meaning and sincere people of faith. If Jeanette Rishell’s use of and understanding of Holy Scripture differs from yours, fine. Debate it. Disagreement is valid

    But don’t put her down for it. The Bible doesn’t just belong to you. Or to me, for that matter.

  6. Greg L said on 3 Oct 2006 at 9:41 pm:
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    I noted that Leviticus holds a different meaning for jews, and avoided trying to characterize how they may read these passages. Since I am not a jewish scholar by any stretch of the imgination, I tried to avoid commenting on that perspective. I am sure had I done that it would have been pretty offensive. If I didn’t make that clear enough, I apologize for not being as sensitive to your beliefs as I should have. I cannot speak with any authority on the jewish faith.

    Had I intended to inform jews about the meaning they should hold in Leviticus, you’d probably feel just as disturbed as I was when Ms. Rishell characterized chapter three of that book as an example of christian charity. I can appreciate evangelism, but only when it’s informed.

    I wish scripture had never come up in that debate. I had thought there might be an opportunity in this to share the Word and have something good come of this, but God’s plan in all of this continues to elude my understanding.

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