Skip to content

Reverence (Or Not)

Trump's God Bless the USA Bible

On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced his endorsement of the “God Bless the USA” Bible, just in time for Holy Week and Easter. The Bibles are being sold for $59.99 and some of the profit will go to Trump himself. It is hard to divorce this latest brand deal from Trump’s recent attempts to sell sneakers, and from his current financial problems, which stem from several legal judgments against him. To be fair, both conservatives and liberals are critical of Trump using the Bible to make money in this way. There seem to be two problems with this, from my Christian perspective—first with the man selling the Bibles, then with the actual content of what is being sold.

First, it seems to be the highest order of disrespect to the scriptures for any public figure to sell a personally endorsed Bible. If Christians believe it to be inspired Word of God, along with that belief must be the idea that it needs no human endorsement. Under this ideology, the Bible already has the greatest and most powerful endorsement it could ever have. As such, Trump’s selling of a Bible endorsed by him (whatever that means) turns the book itself into a show piece, a collectors’ item. People who buy it are not buying the book because it is the life-changing, inspiring word of God, collected and passed down through the millennia for the purpose of drawing people closer to Christ. They would be buying this version because Trump endorsed it. There’s no value to this particular Bible that you could not find in any Bible, other than the fact that it is endorsed by Trump. Furthermore, it is only fair in this case to consider the character of the man who wants to endorse a Bible. I have to admit that I am not sure I would want a Bible endorsed by a serial adulterer who has admitted to sexual assault (and found legally liable for it), who is known as the most flagrant liar to ever hold this nation’s highest office.

Second, the Bible Trump is endorsing is not just the Bible. This version also includes a copy of the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance. I wonder if the copies of the constitution included in these Bibles will have the First Amendment in them, specifically the free exercise clause and the establishment clause. The sale of this Christian nationalist Bible seems like one bad idea after another. It is not bad enough to have Trump endorsing this version, but the general error is compounded (or better yet preceded) by including these political documents with the scriptures, as if they are comparable documents or even have any connection to one another at all. The conservative evangelical church in America has conflated its spirituality with its politics so thoroughly that they don’t realize how this version of the Bible that brings these documents together cheapens Christianity and compromises the very societal freedoms they say they want to uphold.

In the announcement unveiling his endorsed Bible, Trump said a lot about how part of making America great again was returning to Christianity to prominence in our society. He certainly has his work cut out for him. We have lost reverence for the Bible to such a degree that a presidential candidate would think it is a good idea to endorse a Bible and try to sell it.

Image source:

About the author

Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at AdventHealth University. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at More from Jason Hines.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.