By Their Words We Shall Know Them

On Monday, June, 1, when President Donald Trump followed a speech in the White House Rose Garden by walking across Lafayette Park in order to have his picture taken holding up a Bible in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, Susan Ackerman, Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion and Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, noted that the president has said that his favorite Bible verse is "an eye for an eye" (from Leviticus 24: 19-20). This made Professor Ackerman recall - in her op-ed in this Sunday's Valley News - the 2007 Democratic debate at Dartmouth, when moderator Tim Russert's penultimate question to the candidates was to name their favorite Bible verse. Joe Biden's response was "Christ's warning of the Pharisees...and I worry about the Pharisees." But, Professor Ackerman proposes, "as we struggle...with our nation's core commitments and values today, and especially with issues of systemic racism, income inequality and unequal access to health care, there's one more leader's favorite Bible verse that we might keep in mind, that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It comes from the prophet Amos: 'Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream."