Understand, my father (a smart man) was not a deep intellectual nor someone who could be classified as counter-cultural. My father was genuine and everything about him rang true. He was sincerely interested in all the people he met. There was a finesse to how he communicated truth. Those who knew him, trusted him. And so it came as no surprise that he would implore me to seek truth and to weigh the lessons of those that would teach me.
Here are two words to add to your vocabulary:
Prooftexting: the practice of using isolated, out of context quotations from a document to establish a proposition in eisegesis.
Eisegesis: the process of interpreting text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one's own presuppositions, agendas or biases into and onto that text.
This is the very thing my father warned me against. Scripture could be used to defend nearly anything. For example, let's say some wife has had it up to here with her husband and decided to kill her husband by driving a blunt instrument into his skull. Well, had she coincidentally read Judges 4:21 (But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.) she could very easily say God made me do it. But we know that per the 10 commandments we are not to murder. Now, this example may be rather absurd - but is no more dangerous than leaders removing scripture from its context and weaponizing it for their own agenda.
As leaders spout off scripture verse after scripture verse we must take Matthew 7:15 very seriously, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." As the chapter moves on (Matthew 7:23) we are reminded what fate befalls those "prophets." "Then I will tell them plainly 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" And for those of you that are hunkered in and are digging up verifiable outward actions as proof do me a favor check out Matthew 7:22.
We need to be so very careful when we see scripture being used as a defense. Historically speaking we know that scripture has been used to defend some of this worlds greatest travesties. The obvious examples are slavery and the holocaust. But a memory from my childhood that is burned into my mind is Jonestown - 909 people died a third of which were children. All because these folks followed a man that quoted scripture and promised utopia, a return to a better life.
Lastly, we need to understand that in the scripture leaders are held to a higher standard. "It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness" Proverbs 16:12. And this idea of accountability comes full circle in James "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (3:1) And our hope would be that the teachers and leaders that come our way would take their roles seriously and seek the truth. And this isn't "relative truth."
Too often, we don't consider the information that comes our way. If it fits our perspective it must be true. But it isn't. For example, the children in cages image that was widely reported did not happen under this President. However, the reports of children being taken from their parents for a "bath" and not being returned is very true. So even though I am immigrant sympathetic - I want to ensure I've got the story right. There is no merit to an argument that isn't grounded in truth. Take the assertion from the President that many parents of US soldiers from the Korean conflict asked him during the campaign to bring their child's remains back from Korea is just wrong. Do the math. My dearly departed grandmother had two sons in that conflict. She passed away in 1996 and was 93 years old. We simply need to pause and as my Father asked of me, measure everything. And I would add to that - when you are wrong - own it.