Donald Trump St John's Bible
Former President Donald Trump has strong support from evangelicals but a history of fumbles discussing Christianity. Patrick Semansky/AP

‘The Bible Should Unite People’: Why Pastors Don’t Love Trump’s Bible Push

The former president is promoting a $60 USA-themed Bible. Some pastors in the South think that’s a mistake.

Some pastors in the South aren’t thrilled about the “God Bless the USA” Bible being promoted by former President Donald Trump.

“The Bible doesn’t need anyone to put their name on it besides the author, who is God,” said Milan Dekich, a retired pastor in Alabama. “And it’s inappropriate for that to happen and to make it political.”

Trump advertised the new Bible on Tuesday on Truth Social. The former president has strong evangelical support, thanks in part to his backing of socially conservative policies, but has a mixed history discussing Scripture and Christian faith in general.

His Holy Week push for supporters to buy a U.S.-themed Bible was met with confusion and scorn — including among some Christians. And for Christian voters toward the middle, weighing whether he or President Joe Biden is the better choice, it could be a strike against Trump.

“The Bible should unite people,” said Dekich. “This goes far beyond politics or any particular group. … To me, it shows a lack of understanding of what the Bible is to Christian people.”

The website selling the Bible — which retails for $59.99 — states that proceeds will not go to Trump or his campaign. The company is not owned or managed by Trump but is licensed to use his likeness for advertising. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Its website brags that it is the only Bible endorsed by Trump and musician Lee Greenwood. Though each copy contains Greenwood’s signature and a written chorus of his famous song, “God Bless the USA,” Trump’s name is not on or in the Bible.

Inspired by Greenwood’s patriotic anthem, the edition contains the foundational U.S. documents, including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Multiple pastors took issue with the inclusions, telling NOTUS that it could paint an unorthodox picture of God.

“I do think that we’re going too far when we’re trying to Americanize, or patriotize, the Scriptures as if we’re trying to somehow make God an American God,” said John Riggs, pastor of Texoma Cowboy Church. “Because God is not an American God, nor is God an American.”

“These are documents that need to be preserved,” said Joe McKaig, lead pastor of Decatur Baptist Church in Alabama. “I’m not sure they should be preserved together.”

The separation of church and state has been a publicized topic in recent months. House Speaker Mike Johnson has previously disputed the common interpretation of the principle, and several outlets have reported on the concerns of Christian nationalism.

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Trump’s own history and statements make him a strange spokesperson for the Bible, as many people noted.

“He ought to try living it instead of publishing it,” said McKaig.

Despite his issues with the promotion, McKaig tried to view the situation through the eyes of the Apostle Paul.

“At the end of the day, the Gospel is published; that’s a good thing,” he said.

Ben T.N. Mause is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.