Barack Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast:
In our own lives it’s easy to be consumed by our daily worries and our daily concerns. And it is even easier at a time when everybody is busy, everybody is stressed, and everybody — our culture is obsessed with wealth and power and celebrity. And often it takes a brush with hardship or tragedy to shake us out of that, to remind us of what matters most.
We see an aging parent wither under a long illness, or we lose a daughter or a husband in Afghanistan, we watch a gunman open fire in a supermarket — and we remember how fleeting life can be. And we ask ourselves how have we treated others, whether we’ve told our family and friends how much we love them. And it’s in these moments, when we feel most intensely our mortality and our own flaws and the sins of the world, that we most desperately seek to touch the face of God.
So my prayer this morning is that we might seek His face not only in those moments, but each and every day; that every day as we go through the hustle and bustle of our lives, whether it’s in Washington or Hollywood or anywhere in between, that we might every so often rise above the here and now, and kneel before the Eternal; that we might remember, Kaye, the fact that 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.
When I wake in the morning, I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to give me the strength to do right by our country and its people. And when I go to bed at night I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to forgive me my sins, and look after my family and the American people, and make me an instrument of His will.
Fox News, “reporting” on the event:
Obama Botches Bible Verse at Prayer Breakfast
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.”
Isaiah 40:31, New International Version:
But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Yes, someone botched something here. But it wasn’t the President. The Fox News reporter seems to think that the King James Version is the standard translation, and that any deviation from it constitutes error. But the New International Version is now in widespread use, especially among evangelicals.
The President in fact drew on both sources, using the KJV “wait” rather than the NIV “hope.” And he omitted “renew their strength.” But he wan’t quoting; he was paraphrasing. That’s indicated by “the fact that” and the omission of a chapter-and-verse reference.
The way Obama used the text suggests a familiarity with both the Bible (in at least two different translations) and with the way Christians use the Bible in discourse, which is different, for example, from the way Muslims use the Koran. Perhaps Fox News needs to look to the religious education of its staff.
In truth, of course, there’s no blunder here at all. If the story had been a mistake, Fox would have retracted it. What we have here is deliberate propagandistic lying. Fox has been on a campaign to stir up hatred against Obama for more than two years now. (Remember the “terrorist fist bump”?)
Now, – thank God for the First Amendment! – Roger Ailes is free to spread right-wing propaganda masquerading as news, and Rupert Murdoch is free to make money at it. But it’s time for the rest of us – and the White House – to stop going along with the charade that Fox is a news organization.
Footnote Apparently the Hebrew says, literally, “they shall put forth new feathers like eagles,” which follows naturally from “shall renew their strength.” Perhaps both the King James translators and the NIV folks missed the Isaiah-poet’s metaphor.