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The Trump Bible and Christian Moral Outrage

Douglas Van Dorn March 29, 2024 So it seems that the outrage-of-the-week from many Christians on the left is Donald Trump collaborating together with the singer Lee Greenwood, famous for his “God Bless the USA” song, to sell the “God Bless The USA Bible.” As one local Denver preacher puts it, he was taught to revere the Bible and assumed there would be outcry from those who taught him what to believe about the Bible. But all he got was crickets from this marketing stunt. “We’ve lost our way,” he said. So I thought I’d respond to the outrage with a little critical and biblical thinking on the matter.


First, I can’t help but wonder—since along with everything else Trump does wrong, why this is always put as, “I’m not being partisan.” Uh huh. Right. Never. Only people on the right are capable of that. Call me suspicious, but how many of these same people are writing posts, doing podcasts, and and generally being publicly outraged about the massive networks of human and trafficking, embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars by politicians from foreign actors, and sinister porn-crack laptops from the other side of their non-partisan outlook? At any rate, that’s really not looking at the issue directly being raised, so let’s turn to that.


It's curious, but not surprising, to me that I as went looking for where I could buy this Bible, and I came across page after page after page after page of the same news outlets, all owned by the same mega-conglomerates telling me in news reports how bad this was. But I wasn’t able to find where I could even buy this Bible in order to go look at it until going deep into the articles where I found a link to Greenwood’s page. The free, uncensored internet it dead.


Supposedly, it is the King James Version and it contains copies of the founding documents: The Constitution, the Declaration, the Pledge of Allegiance, and Greenwood’s lyrics to his song. It looks like it comes in leather. And it sells for $60. I’d love to take a look at the inside, but haven’t been able to do that.


From a biblical point of view, it seems to me that the Bible shouldn’t be sold with the contents of the documents of a country, any country, being mixed in with it. That’s a confusion of church and state. In this case, it can give several bad impressions to naïve or poorly taught people. 1. America is on God’s side. 2. God is on America's side. 3. The biblical message and the American message are one-in-the-same. 4. America is God’s country. Stuff like that. Certainly, there are people who will buy this Bible who have such outlooks and this only reinforces those unbiblical ideas.


As it pertains to this, here’s the truth of the matter. America is a country, just like every other country, in that, well, it is a country and not God’s chosen country. There are only two “nations” that could ever lay claim to be God’s chosen nation, and one of those can’t say that any in the sense that it used to be able to. The first is the nation of Israel under the theocracy of the old covenant. That covenant was severed by their own sin when they rejected the Messiah—the very Jesus who saved them out of Egypt—when he came here as a man. The other nation is the church, what Peter calls “a holy nation” (1Pet 2:9), using language taken directly from Exodus 19 and the nation of Israel, showing that the church is the fulfillment of what the former nation was supposed to be.


Of course, the church isn’t actually a nation like today’s state of Israel or the United States or Canada or Mexico or any other nation, so the identical conditions don’t apply to her. In fact, as the old song says, “Her charter of salvation—one Lord, one Faith, one birth” is embedded in the Holy Bible, and it is the only nation that should (and does) have its constitution in it (well, the OT nation of Israel belongs in that category too, ala places like the first few chapters of Deuteronomy).


We should be honest about something here though, something the anti-Christian nationalists—that boogeyman term the left has become so fond of in recent years—are not being. That is, there is, has been, and will continue to be a complex relationship between the church and the state as the church must live in the world of men. Jesus has not taken us out of it.


All anti-Christian nationalists have taken a rather extreme version of this dialectic. Their position seems to be that the church must have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the state. Of course, I exaggerate. It’s perfectly fine in many of these people’s minds for the church to adopt a leftist political stance on social issues and even political issues, but God forbid—this must never happen with right-wing politics and the church. It’s rather hypocritical, though that is rarely seen by them because they don’t tend to think that their own stances on such things are political. Only the right seems capable of mixing politics and religion in their minds. When the left does it, it’s “social justice,” which of course doesn’t mean communism (a political ideology), but only and exactly what Jesus taught us to do. Hence, they aren’t political at all. They are just being Christians.


But as I said, this has been complicated. Absolute separation is not the only view of the church and state that the church itself has had over the centuries. Very clearly, we had a 1,000 years of the church and state being virtually married under Christendom. The United States was birthed out of the Enlightenment that still had one foot in that world. It’s naïve at best to think that the founding of this country had nothing to do with Christianity and the Bible. In fact, anyone who thinks that is being downright dishonest. Both of these things, of course, complicate matters. But because of this, I don’t think it is necessary for a person to confuse America and the King of God and still want this Bible. That's a red herring, one that can be true, but isn't necessarily. But as I already said, biblically speaking, I don’t think it should be done.


Does this make it a sin, something that all Christians must be outraged over? Let me ask you to consider something. The Apostle Paul encountered people who preached Christ out of “selfish ambition” (Philippians 1:15) and who “peddled the word of God for profit” (2Cor 2:17). He knew that people did it simply to make money. Let’s assume that this is what Trump is doing. Well, actually, let’s take a step back here for a moment.


From my perspective, I’ve not personally seen evidence that makes me think that Donald Trump is actually a Christian. I’ve not heard him articulate the Gospel clearly and I’ve actually heard him say things like he has nothing to repent of. I’m more than willing to be shown to be wrong about those things, but that’s been my opinion of him since he first took office seven years ago. I’ve not seen evidence that makes me change my mind. So, I don’t think he is a Christian in a spiritual sense. So one should never confuse him or Greenwood as being pastors or apostles or anything like that.


That said, is Trump doing this to make money? Of course. He’s a businessman. I don’t think, however, that his only motive is to make money. I watched the clip I linked above. I believe he wants people to have a Bible in their home, and it seems to me that he wants people to actually read it. If he reads it himself, maybe he personally reads it like Thomas Jefferson, cutting out all the miracles, only looking at the laws to be obeyed because they are moral and good. I have no idea. But reading it is still better than not reading it, no, especially when there no stated agenda to read it as a deist, cut out the parts you don't like, or something?


So shouldn’t we ask, isn’t it a good thing to want people to read the Bible? Seems to me the people so very outraged over this monstrosity of religious hucksterism ought to do one little thing. Take out the name of this Bible for just one second and consider that it is … a Bible! He’s literally trying to get the Bible into people’s hands. Think about that. I’m supposed to be outraged because of this?

“Yeah, but he’s charging $60! It should be free!” Uh huh. Tell me where you go that fancy study Bible from that you use again and how much it cost you? You do realize that the people who will buy this Bible by and large can afford the price, right? Trump isn't forcing poppers to pay the Trump piper here. As a Christian, I’m supposed to be outraged because he’s making money off getting the Bible into people’s hands? That itself is political ideology you are bring to the text, however unwittingly.

He isn’t selling a cult-translation. This isn’t the Jehovah’s Witness Bible that takes out the deity of Christ. It isn’t the writings of Madame Blavatsky or Swedenborg. It’s the KJV for crying out loud. It’s a real, honest to goodness Bible. It literally is the Word of God. But, how evil he is! The outrage!


I tried to take my very admittedly biased shoes off and put myself into those of people so outraged by this. So I played a game with himself. I tried to imagine Obama getting together with Hillary and their mentor Saul Alinsky to sell a Bible where they put Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, a summary of Marx’ Communist Manifesto, and the lyrics to the Soviet National Anthem and packaged it all in a red-Letter edition (of course), complete with a golden-yellow embossed hammer and sickle on the front cover and sold it for— just half the price.


Of course, this is a ridiculous game in one sense, because communism hates Christianity and the Bible. So not would it, but could it even happen? Fact is, I don’t see Biden selling Bibles. I don’t see Hunter selling Bibles. I don’t see Nancy or Hillary or AOC selling the Bible, advertising it, telling people they should love God’s Word and read it. I actually see them doing everything in their power to make sure people never come close to the thing. For the record, to be completely non partisan about it, I don’t see Mitt Romney or Liz Cheney or George Bush trying to get Bibles into anyone’s hand either. Nevertheless, how would I feel about it if in some possible world this happened? Of course, I wouldn’t like it, but consider.


What did Paul have to say about hucksters who nevertheless, even if they didn’t personally understand what it was themselves, were getting the Gospel into people’s hands? “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Php 1:18).

Rejoicing is the one thing those so outraged at this Bible are not doing. Do they even seem to care that someone might actually pick the thing up and start reading, I don’t know, John’s Gospel, and get saved? It’s God’s Holy Word for crying out loud, whether it has the Communist Manifesto or the Declaration of Independence as an appendix in the back.


Trump’s commercial tells people they should love the Bible and read it. But I’m supposed to be outraged? I think people need a reality check. Instead of allowing their TDS to rear its ugly head, maybe they should spend one second rejoicing that we have a politician who actually shines a positive light on the Good Book, even with all the confused theology, personal rejection of the Gospel, and selfish ambition and that might be attached.

Postscript: In the future, when Obama and Hillary finally get around to selling their Bible, I'll reevaluate if my thought experiment actually worked. I won't be holding my breath though.


2 days ago

Agreed. I actually received this Bible as a gift and find it convenient to have scripture and important historical documents compiled together in a convenient bound form. No confusion about what is divinely inspired and what isn't.


Mar 31

Mark 9:40-41 "...for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward."


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