In the land of politics, all is fair game. So when the President of the United States blisters the Republicans in Congress for passing a bill affirming the use of "In God We Trust" as a national motto instead of working on his jobs bill, you can expect some controversy.
President Obama said, "I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.
All fine and dandy, right? Whether or not you agree with the approach, you can agree with the sentiment that God's not going to magically fix the economy without our participation. We have some debt-slashing and spending-cutting to do. There might even need to be higher taxes so our grandkids aren't crushed under today's decisions. Whatever the solution, you get the sentiment.
Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, picked up on this theme in a presser later that day. In it, he said, "I believe the phrase from the Bible is, 'The Lord helps those who help themselves.'"
Uhm. Awkward moment here.
It's not in the Bible.
Not anywhere. Nowhere. Not in Genesis. Not in Revelation. Not in any book in-between. Nope. Not present.
Present in culture? Yes. A "phantom teaching" of the Bible? Yes. Actually representative of anything the Bible has to say? Not at all.
The message of the Bible is very clear: God helps those who cannot help themselves.
That's what makes salvation so stunning and grace so amazing. It's also what makes pseudo sayings like this one so scary.