Proverbs 14:7 says:
Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.
That verse seems appropriate in light of the latest Bible-related scrap by GOP presidential contenders — this one involving Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
In case you missed it, Cruz fired a top aide Monday over — as the Los Angeles Times characterized it — a "charge of dirty tricks":
Already fighting accusations of underhanded campaigning, Cruz asked his communications director, Rick Tyler, to resign after Tyler posted a video on social media and claimed that the senator from Florida could be heard disparaging the Bible. The allegation was false and Tyler apologized.
“This was a grave error of judgment,” the senator from Texas told reporters in Las Vegas. Even if the charge had been true, he said, “we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate.”
What exactly happened?
The Washington Post provided this account:
"Yesterday, a staffer from our campaign sent out a tweet that tweeted a news story that purported to indicate Marco saying something negative about the Bible," Cruz said. "The news story was false. That staffer deleted the tweet, apologized, and pulled it down, although I've spent this morning investigating what happened. And this morning, I asked for Rick Tyler's resignation." ...
Tyler's offense had not, initially, looked like the sort of mistake that could cost someone his job. The Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper at the University of Pennsylvania, had published a 21-second video of Rubio walking past a Cruz staffer and Cruz's father, Rafael. According to the paper, the muffled audio found Rubio joking that there were "not many answers" in the book the staffer was reading -- the Bible.
The video went viral. Tyler posted it on Facebook. (Cruz mistakenly said he had done so on Twitter.) Then, upon learning that the transcript was exactly wrong -- that Rubio had said "all the answers" were in the Bible -- Tyler wrote a late-night Facebook post apologizing to Rubio.
Um, Cruz spent the morning "investigating" what happened and didn't know Tyler posted the video on Facebook, not Twitter? How thorough was that investigation?
The bigger puzzler, of course, is that Rubio — like him or not as a potential president — speaks often and eloquently about his Christian faith. Why would he diss the Bible? That accusation fails to pass the "smell test."
Most news stories on the flap covered the same basic territory, but give extra credit to the Post and CNN for reporting Rubio's full response.
The Florida senator's explanation of exactly what he said — and the specific Bible book the Cruz supporters were reading — will be relevant to many voters of faith.
From the Post:
The senator did not quite accept the apology. At a morning gaggle with reporters in north Las Vegas, near where he spent parts of his childhood, Rubio called the errant post “part of a pattern” of dishonest tactics by the Cruz campaign.
“Perhaps that was the most offensive one because they basically made it up," Rubio said. "People in a lobby taking a video on their phone. I know exactly what I said to that young man. I said the answer to every question you’ll ever have is in that book. And then I pointed to the Book of Proverbs, which he was reading; I said particularly that one, which is a book of wisdom.”
And from CNN:
Rubio himself explained to reporters Monday that he was saying the Book of Proverbs is especially helpful.
"I know exactly what I said to that young man. I said, 'The answer to every question you'll ever have is in that book,' and then I pointed to the Book of Proverbs, which he was reading, and then I said 'Particularly that one,'" Rubio told reporters in Nevada.
The Cruz team might want to spend a little more time reading that "book of wisdom," huh?
Image by Joseph Sohm, via Shutterstock.com