Trump's Biblical endorsement draws mixed reactions from Christians: 'Syncretistic expression'

Former President Donald Trump's Holy Week promotion of the leather-bound “God Bless America” ​​Bible has provoked mixed reactions from Christian scholars and activists, accusing him of inappropriately mixing politics and religion.

In a statement posted to Truth Social on Tuesday, Trump showed off the Bible he is promoting with musician Lee Greenwood, whose song “God Bless the USA” often appears during Trump's rallies.

The Bible, which costs $59.99has the King James Version and contains the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance and the handwritten chorus to Greenwood's song.

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While the former president's endorsement of the Bible drew the ire of progressive Christian leaders, it caused mixed reactions among social conservatives.

Tony Perkins, president of the Washington Christian conservative lobbying organization Family Research Council, told The Christian Post that he supports Trump's promotion of the Bible if it encourages someone to read it.

“That's great news!” Perkins said. “The truths of the Bible transform lives. A daily dose of the Bible is the best anti-anxiety medicine you will find. For those getting into the Word, I would recommend checking out the Family Research Council's Family Research Council. daily Bible readingwhich will take you through the Bible in two years.”

Andrew T. Walker, ethics and public theology professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated in op-ed for World Magazine that “conflating America's founding documents with the Word of God is a syncretistic expression of civil religion that goes beyond what those who love their country – and, more importantly, for those who love their Bibles – should ever allow.”

“To put things bluntly, a Bible like this should never have been made,” Walker wrote. “This is not because I am anti-Bible or anti-Constitution. Indeed, I am very much in favor of both. They nourish both my heavenly citizenship and my earthly citizenship. But merging the two in the name of religious-civic identity. can quickly become a form of identity politics for the political right.”

Walker, who also serves as a fellow in Christian political thought at the Washington-based think tank Ethics and Public Policy Center, emphasizes that “the Bible is not a symbol of American identity even as we proudly announce the Bible-influenced form of American life and values. .”

“There is an ever-present temptation to allow one's theology to bend to their politics when it is our politics that should bend to our theology,” Walker emphasized. “President Donald J. Trump lacks all the authority — and sincerity — to stand up and promote a Bible for $59.99. Really, no one does, because Bibles of this kind should never have been made in the first place.”

Multiple progressive Christian pastors, activists and theologians who spoke to CNN slammed the Bible's “God Bless America,” suggesting Trump's support crossed a line.

“There is a very long tradition of what is included and what is not included in the Bible,” historian and author. Jemar Tisbywho holds a master of divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, said.

“What has caused outrage with this Bible is that it includes the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and even the lyrics of a Lee Greenwood song,” Tisby said. “So it adds to the Bible, and it adds specific political documents to the Bible that completely erase the separation of church and state.”

Tisby believes that the Bible endorsed by Trump is “[playing] about people's devotion to God and their love for country, each of which by itself could be innocent or even good.” However, he believes that Bible perniciously “mixes the two.”

Longtime progressive civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton accused Trump of “blasphemy” and said the move was effectively a “spit in the face of people who really believe.”

“People [should] realize how offensive this is to those of us who really believe in the Bible,” the former Democratic presidential candidate. said on MSNBC's “Morning Joe.”

Conservative Christian radio and Newsmax host Todd Starnes criticized the opposition to Trump's Bible endorsement from what he called “evangelicals.”

“President Trump urged Americans to pray, read the Bible and familiarize themselves with the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” he. wrote on X. “The triggered response of the pagans and wake-evangelicals is pitiful and sad.”

Carol M. Swain, a conservative Christian emeritus political science and law professor at Vanderbilt University, echoed Starnes' comment.

“Why should anyone be out of shape because Trump endorses Lee Greenwood's American Bible?” she asked on X. “America would be better off if more people read the Bible and the founding documents. Putting them together in one volume makes it easier to educate people about our nation and its roots.”

According to its website, the Trump campaign is not making money from the Bible. It “is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Ventures LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates.”

“ uses the name, likeness and image of Donald J Trump under a paid license from CIC Ventures LLC, which license may be revoked or terminated in accordance with its terms,” ​​the site states.

Greenwood himself pushed back against the criticism on Friday an interview on “The Voice of Real America.”

“I have my own deal with the company that produces the Bible and so does he,” he said. “We have no correlation. There was no reason for him to do that. He could have stood up to any Bible.”

Noting how Trump put his hand on a Bible to take his oath of office, Greenwood suggested “this is just more of the same, except now he's actually saying to the world and saying to our country and all of its citizens, 'I will protect you. , and I'll make sure you know that I believe in the same thing that you believe in, and that this country was founded on faith.”

“Even on the left, I don't think people are mistrustful,” Greenwood also said. “They're just condemning me and the president, Donald Trump, for broadcasting faith by promoting a Bible.”

He added that Trump signed his copy of the Bible “God Bless America” ​​and implored “even the people on the left” to go to church and celebrate Easter this weekend.

Trump's promotion of the “God Bless America” ​​Bible comes as he has increasingly made growing anti-Christian sentiment in America one of the cornerstones of his 2024 campaign.

During a speech last month at the 2024 International Christian Media Convention of National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump said the government under the Biden administration had become hostile to Christians, and he promised to address the problem with a special task force if he takes. back to the White House in November.

“This time, the biggest threat is not from outside our country, I really believe this,” he said. “It's from within. It's the people inside our country who are more dangerous than the people outside. We can deal with China, we can deal with Russia, we can deal with all of them if you have a smart leader, but the people inside are very very. dangerous. They are very sick people, in my opinion; in many cases, they are sick.”


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