At a press briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney attempted to defend President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, and accidentally ended up misquoting the Bible.
Carney was responding to a question from a reporter regarding the American Jobs Act. When asked if the White House thought the government should be helping Americans with jobs, Carney responded, “Well, I believe the phrase from the Bible is, ‘The Lord helps those who help themselves.’”
Turns out, it isn’t.
The White House’s own fact-checkers confirmed this when they released transcripts with a note next to the quote, reading, “This common phrase does not appear in the Bible.”
Carney was trying to use the same defense the president used when speaking on his jobs bill (and the lack of progress concerning its passing) earlier that day. Obama said, “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work,” while speaking to an Ohio audience.
The widespread phrase Carney used has been traced back to Benjamin Franklin, who is first known to have said it. Further digging reveals the idea to come from a Greek playwright, Euripides, who wrote, “Try first thyself, and after call in God; For to the worker God himself lends aid.”
Carney is not the first person to use commonly known phrases and attribute them to the Bible, however.
Some of the daily phrases are actually contrary to what the Bible teaches.
“Money is the root of all evil,” is frequently heard expression, but the 1 Timothy 6:7-10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Although similar, the Bible denotes the “love of money” to be the cause for man to err, not necessarily money itself.
Another popular saying is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” also known as the Golden Rule. The actual verse is, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” (Matthew 7:12). The widespread saying is a pretty close paraphrasing of the original scripture.
Fortunately, most times misquotes aren’t perceived as very harmful to the message being propagated.
Besides some minor embarrassment, Carney’s case isn’t any different.