Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Two Corinthians Walk Into a Lapsed Presbyterian

Donald Trump has reportedly gaffed away the evangelical vote. He failed the shibboleth by reading the New Testament verse 2 Corinthians 3:17 as "Two Corinthians" rather than as the more authentic-sounding "Second Corinthians" in a speech Monday to students at Liberty University, a Southern Baptist college in Lynchburg, Virginia.
And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;

Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

Judges 12:5-6 (KJV)
Let's consider the possibilities here:

(1) Trump doesn't know his Bible.

(2) Trump got his Bible learning from reading rather than listening. That is, he's seen it written 2 Corinthians and so that is how he assumed it was said. When I went to college I got laughed at for mispronouncing Sigmund Freud's last name. We knew who he was in rural Southwest Iowa where I grew up, we just didn't sit around on the couch all day talking about him.

(3) Trump got his Bible quote from his speechwriter, who wrote the citation in shorthand rather than in the longhand way Trump would speak it, and Trump tripped over it in the delivery because he knew it was wrong as he was reading it.

(4) Trump got the habit of saying 2 Corinthians from his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, who was natural-born Scotswoman. No true Scotsman says Second Corinthians, proving Trump is not a natural born U.S. citizen. But I digress. It was probably the speechwriter.

Trump gave himself away a long time ago, by insisting to reporters "I'm a Protestant, I'm a Presbyterian" in response to questions of whether he really was a Christian. No true Presbyterian would tout that to get votes. It doesn't work, as you'd be sure to lose the Baptist vote.

And how did the Bible verse that Trump correctly but "inauthentically" cited go over among the students of Liberty University:
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
On the word "liberty" the snickering of the Liberty U. students turned to cheering. For that audience, Trump had the right shibboleth.

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