Smoke and Mirrors Exposition

I am sensitive to politicians who misuse Scripture. (Please note that a lot of politicians do this, regardless of political affiliation.  I fault any who do this, regardless of what letter they have after their name.)  Today I read a news article where a presidential candidate used a verse inappropriately.  I’m going to call this particular error “Smoke and Mirrors Exposition” which I define as taking a verse out of context to support an issue in which the verse has no bearing on the issue at hand.  With this particular error, oftentimes the same issue supported by the politician is clearly condemned by other passages of Scripture.

Case in point: presidential candidate Cory Booker quoted Micah 6:8 to denounce perceived discrimination of LGBTQ people. The issue was over a Catholic school which rejected repeated requests by an LGBTQ group to form a school-based club.  Regardless of your personal position over this, the concern I have is the validity of applying the verse he used to the issue.

Let’s examine this.  The verse states, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8) I suppose that Mr. Booker is focusing on the justice aspect because he believes people are being treated unfairly. But given the context of this passage, which is a condemnation of Israel, I’m not sure how this applies to Mr. Booker’s point. 

The passage is clearly directed at ancient Israel.  (see Micah 6:2-4)  Would Mr. Booker also apply the judgments from this passage upon himself or our nation??  (Micah 6:13-16)  I think not.  Nothing in this passage has anything to do with LGBTQ issues.  The point of Micah 6:8 is that Israel (specifically the Southern Kingdom, Judah) is not acting correctly toward God and the nations around them.  God emphasizes the personal, internal issues of justice, mercy, and humility rather than the external issues of sacrificial offerings. God also condemns Israel for cheating as a part of their trade dealings.  Read the passage.  It’s clear.  

Regardless, I’m sure Mr. Booker would accuse me of gross discrimination if I pointed out that the same God referenced in Micah 6:8 is the same God Who also commanded Israel, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)  However, if you’re going to use the Bible, don’t take a verse out of context just to make it support one of your pet issues.  That is using a smoke and mirrors technique to disguise your misuse of the Bible.  This is especially egregious when another passage demonstrates that your fallacy.