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Monday, July 15, 2024

‘The Bible Exposes Grifters’: Trump Rebuked as Christian Nationalist ‘Con Man’

 

Critics of former U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday derided the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee for hawking $60 patriotic-themed Bibles, with one prominent progressive cleric warning that the so-called Good Book “exposes grifters who try to exploit it.”

The God Bless the USA Bible—which is actually a rebranded 9/11 commemorative Bible first offered for sale in 2021 by country musician Lee Greenwood of “God Bless the USA” fame—has been slammed by devout Christians for having an American flag emblazoned on its cover and for containing nationalist documents including the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Pledge of Allegiance.

“You all should get a copy of God Bless the USA Bible,” Trump said in a 3-minute video promoting the book—which is not connected with his campaign. “You have to have it for your heart, for your soul.”

“Replacing the real Bible with Trump Bibles is a too-perfect symbol of what has happened to evangelical Christianity.”

Critics from across the political spectrum slammed what Slate senior writer Amanda Marcotte called Trump’s “newest grift to squeeze money out of his cult followers.”

“The not-at-all subtle message of the video is that Trump doesn’t believe any of this faith-in-God crap, but he definitely believes in using Christian identity as a weapon to make money and dominate his foe,” Marcotte wrote.

 

Bishop William Barber, the founding director of the Center for Public Theology & Public Policy at Yale Divinity School and a co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said on social media that “the prophet Ezekiel named it in his day: Greedy politicians make an unholy alliance with false religion that says God is on their side when God has said no such thing!”

Conservative political commentator Charlie Sykes on Wednesday blasted Trump for “commodifying the Bible during Holy Week,” while former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming said that “instead of selling Bibles, you should probably buy one. And read it, including Exodus 20:14.”

The volume’s release comes during Christian Holy Week, and as Trump struggles to pay a $175 million bond after a New York judge found that he and his company committed massive fraud.

 

“Religion and Christianity are the biggest things missing from this country,” Trump said in the promotional video. “It’s one of the biggest problems we have, and it’s why our country is going haywire. We’ve lost religion in our country.”

“All Americans need a Bible in their home, and I have many. It’s my favorite book,” he added. “We must make America pray again.”

Some observers noted how Trump used Christianity and the Bible as a prop during his White House tenure, including the time in 2020 when he ordered the violent dispersal of racial justice protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police so he could pose for a photo-op outside a Washington, D.C. church.

 

Despite facing 91 federal and state criminal charges, Trump is all but certain to secure the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Christian nationalists have been busily preparing for a second Trump term, in part by drafting Project 2025, which one watchdog described as a “far-right playbook for American authoritarianism.”

While his words and deeds may be antithetical to Christian doctrine, Trump is wildly popular among Evangelical Christians.

“Replacing the real Bible with Trump Bibles is a too-perfect symbol of what has happened to evangelical Christianity,” Marcotte wrote. “The mistake is in believing Trump’s followers are confused or ashamed about their devotion to a godless creep who laughs at true believers. In Trump’s hands, the Bible is not a text for prayer and reflection, it’s just a weapon. It’s much easier to beat people down with a book if it’s closed.”

 
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