donal trump

Former President Donald Trump recently raised eyebrows after announcing he was selling special edition “God Bless the USA” Bibles. The holy books, themed after country music artist Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem, contain more than just Christian scriptures. The special edition Bibles also contain the text of secular documents, including the U.S. Constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the chorus of the titular Greenwood song.

Fox News Digital reached out to Christian leaders and apologists of various denominations to get their reactions to the unorthodox Bible sale. The first question raised by critics when the Bibles were announced was whether it was appropriate for a politician to be making such sales during a campaign season. Daniel Darling, the director of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Land Center for Cultural Engagement, had mixed feelings about the campaign.

He told Fox News Digital, “Many Christians, even those like me who are very conservative both politically and theologically, thought his approach was a bit crass. While many Christians are deeply patriotic and revere our nation’s documents, they are wary of mixing those things too closely inside the pages of a Bible.” Darling said he didn’t believe Trump was malicious or intentionally irreverent to scripture, but he didn’t understand the optics. “Trump selling this Bible seems a bit commercial, though I doubt he intended to offend Christians. He likely thought he was doing a good thing,” said Darling. “But a Bible endorsed by any politician smacks of syncretism and an over-the-top civil religion that cheapens the Bible when it’s used as a political prop.”

Fr. Brian Graebe, a priest with the Archdiocese of New York who holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, similarly told Fox News Digital that while selling Bibles and encouraging scriptural literacy is good, the Trump-centric advertising is off-putting. “My concern is not so much that there are Bibles being offered and sold and purchased — that’s fine,” said Graebe. “The more Bibles that are out there and the more people read it, the better. That’s an objective good. I think the troubling aspect here is […] the marketing of it, the Americanization of it, the Trump-ification of it.”

He added, “Is the Trump Bible more Trump than the Bible? I think that’s a key question that we need to ask ourselves to see what the ultimate objective here is.” The inclusion of secular documents in the “God Bless the USA” Bibles was a controversial choice. While texts such as the Declaration of Independence and Pledge of Allegiance make passing reference to a “Creator” and “God,” they are not necessarily religiously centered documents.

The U.S. Constitution is also included within the Bible’s covers, which at no point acknowledges God at all. Joe Heschmeyer, an apologist at Catholic Answers, told Fox News Digital that the Catholic Church is generally adverse to “patriotic appropriations of Christianity that seek to turn the Gospel into fodder for a political campaign or a social movement.” Dr. Peter Kerr, dean and professor at Colorado Christian University’s School of Business and Leadership, proposed that critics are being obtuse and sees nothing wrong with the inclusion of texts essential to U.S. history.

“Inserting America’s founding documents into a Bible is not wrong. The men who wrote them were followers of God, and even said in the Declaration of Independence that God endowed us with certain rights the government cannot take away,” said Kerr. “As long as people can differentiate God’s words from human words, it doesn’t matter if they were published inside the same cover.”

The dean added one caveat — Bibles of any kind are useless tokens without religious belief to give their words meaning. “No man has a monopoly on God, but God requires a monopoly on the hearts of every Christian,” Kerr said. “Proclamations of faith, by politicians from either party, are worthless without heart change and actions.”

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