Fox News should just stay away from theology

FOX NEWS SHOULD JUST STAY AWAY FROM THEOLOGY…. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly has made an effort to dabble in theological issues lately, and the results have been unintentionally hilarious. Today, Fox News’ “Fox Nation” website goes down a similar road, and the results were arguably even more ridiculous.

President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast at the White House yesterday, and cited a familiar Biblical verse. As far as the Fox News website is concerned, the president “botched” the Scriptural reference. Fox Nation reported (on its front page, as if this were important):

President Obama misquoted a familiar Bible verse during a faith-based address at the National Prayer Breakfast.

“Those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint,” the president said during a speech to several thousand people at the breakfast.

But the actual passage, from Isaiah 40:31, states: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

As it turns out, the notion of an “actual passage” from the Bible is itself rather ridiculous. There are multiple translations and multiple versions. Fox News’ executives no doubt think highly of themselves, but no one has yet made them the final arbiters of which Scriptural language should be considered the “actual” language of the Bible (though House Republicans may yet work on a resolution to that effect).

And in this case, as Ben Dimiero explained, “Obama was quoting from the New International Version, while Fox Nation was pointing to the King James Version to ‘debunk’ him. This would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.”

For all the effort Republicans have invested in questioning the president’s faith, maybe Obama isn’t the one whose Christianity should be considered suspect.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.