Trump’s Bible: Profaning the sacred for profit and politics

Former President Trump's promotion of the "God Bless the USA Bible" desecrates the sacred in the name of profit and politics, writes Emery J. Cummins.

a picture of the God bless the usa bible with an american flag in the background

Five days before Easter Sunday, former President Trump released a striking announcement on his Truth Social platform: “Happy Holy Week! Let’s Make America Pray Again. As we lead into Good Friday and Easter, I encourage you to get a copy of the God Bless the USA Bible.” He then pointed his devotees to a website selling the book for $59.99.

According to the Associated Press, Trump’s effort to sell Bibles comes as he faces mounting legal bills while he fights four criminal indictments along with a series of civil charges. The Bible’s website states the product “is not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign” and “ is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump” or any of his respective principals or affiliates.

A picture of former president donald trump holding the god bless the usa bible.
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Rather, the Bible uses Trump’s name, likeness and image under a paid license from CIC Ventures LLC, which is wholly owned by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. It is unknown how much Trump was paid for the licensing deal or stands to make from each book sale.

For the leader of any political party to endorse a particular edition of the Holy Bible is unprecedented; and for President Trump to use the Bible as part of his strategy to make money and promote his image as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee profanes the inclusive character of Holy Writ. Our Bible does not belong to any person, group or political party and should not be hawked as part of a presidential campaign.

One can only try to imagine the firestorm Bill Clinton or Barack Obama might have ignited had they presumed to endorse any specific Bible. Indeed, even linking the Bible to the name of a genuinely pious public figure such as former President Jimmy Carter – or even Pope Francis – desecrates its divine purpose as a gift that goes beyond human understanding and ownership.

The “only Bible endorsed by President Trump” includes the books of the Old and New Testaments in the King James Version. Originally intended to feature the New International Version, HarperCollins, which holds the NIV publishing rights, declined to allow its inclusion in this controversial edition. Hence the Bible’s KJV text, which is in the public domain.

Our Bible does not belong to any person, group or political party and should not be hawked as part of a presidential campaign.

Between its covers, you will also find five extra-biblical political attachments that have nothing to do with Holy Writ, blending politics and religion in a most unholy way. Even worse, its subtitle – God Bless the USA – implies that the political insertions between these covers are also divinely inspired, on equal footing with the Word of God.

By endorsing a Bible that conflates American identity with holy Scripture, Trump appears to promote a variant of Christian nationalism, a dangerous sentiment that America is a nation by and for Christians alone. This belief threatens the First Amendment’s assertion of the separation of church and state. Additionally, the conflation of American Democracy with Scripture leads to the potential abuse of religious liberty as a rationale for chipping away at laws and regulations aimed at protecting LGBTQIA+ people, women and religious minorities.

The commingling of secular documents with holy Scripture borders on blasphemy for many of the reasons listed below:

  1. The U.S. Constitution is a deeply flawed document, requiring 27 amendments (so far) to correct its numerous omissions and shortcomings. The most egregious of these defects was an agreement known as the three-fifths compromise, which defined enslaved Americans as only three-fifths human. Our founding fathers (many of them slaveholders) signed on to a constitution accommodating slavery as part of its agreement. Sadly, we continue to reap the dark consequences of this grievous sin, which is antithetical to the Good News of the Gospel record (See Galatians 3:28, for instance).
  2. The Bill of Rights continues to be argued and interpreted as times and technology change. Hardly a day goes by when the First or Second Amendment (not to mention the Fifth) isn’t questioned or challenged by well-meaning, patriotic citizens. Its guarantees of civil rights and liberties are exclusively political – not spiritual – and it has no place between the covers of the Holy Bible.
  3. The Declaration of Independence, perhaps the most iconic document in our history, did nothing to condemn slavery, ensure women’s rights, or protect Native Americans. Further, its declaration that the Creator endows us with “unalienable rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is a thoroughly humanistic proposition — not a biblical truth.
  4. The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1942, did not refer to God until 1954. Its patriotic mantra has no biblical basis.
  5. Finally, the inclusion of the handwritten chorus to “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood is utterly gratuitous. “I’m proud to be an American” has nothing to do with the proclamation of God’s love for humankind, which supersedes nationality, gender or social status. (See Revelation 7:9, for instance).

This is not what we want in the distribution of our sacred scriptures, which must remain above the polarization of party politics. It is an affront to all Christians who regard their sacred scriptures as separate from any political system.

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