Trump’s Bible Just Might Earn Him Eternal Damnation

I have vivid memories of then-President Donald Trump standing in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, right across from the White House, using the Bible as a prop. Ironically and revealingly, Trump looked uncomfortable handling the Holy Scriptures and ended up holding the Bible upside down. Had he actually read the Bible, it would have turned his worldview upside down.

And now he is hawking his new Bible–the Bless the USA Bible–for $59.99 (more than most Bibles cost). Of course, he gets all the proceeds. He launched his new venture in the middle of Holy Week for Christians in the lead-up to Jesus’ Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. In the commercial video Trump made to sell his new Bible, he spoke explicitly about Holy Week, Easter, Jesus, God, and Christian values more than we have ever heard him do before.

Donald Trump has gone from using the Bible as a prop to turning our Holy Scriptures into a commodity. Words no longer suffice for the things he says and does with the most common word for his personal, political, and presidential behavior being unprecedented.

But I have some better words–religious words. I and many other faith leaders are willing to accuse Donald Trump of two more things.

The first is idolatry–false worship. The White Christian Nationalism, that Trump proclaims, directly names the problem. First, the most inclusive and welcoming message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is made white by the marketer-in-chief of racial grievance. Second, the word Christian is distorted beyond recognition. Service, sacrifice, and love are replaced with control and domination with Trump’s religious disciples unapologetically aiming for control in their “Seven Mountain Strategy”—with right-wing Christians ruling government, business, media, education, family, arts/entertainment, and, of course, religion. And in direct contradiction to Jesus’ instruction to his followers to make disciples in every nation, Trump’s faith will be nationalism, not just positively loving your own country, but asserting the power of one nation over others. Trump’s Bible features the documents of one country and puts the words “God Bless the USA” on the cover. That is idolatry—the false worship of a nation.

The second word is heresy, which means drawing Christians and others away from Christ. Donald Trump and his MAGA movement deny the truest and deepest teaching of Jesus in places like his Sermon on the Mount. Trump’s worship of wealth and utter disregard for the poorest and most vulnerable brings the judgment of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel Chapter 25, “As you have done to the least of these you have done to me.”

And the life of lies that Donald Trump has led and deliberately spread to the damage of our nation completely contradicts Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John: “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

“To invoke God, Mr. Trump, in the making and selling of your Bible is a very dangerous thing—not only for the soul of the nation but also for yours.”

While Trump has led the political trajectory of fear, hate, and violence in our public discourse, Jesus says in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

And all the efforts of the Republican Party, which Donald Trump now firmly controls, to suppress and subvert the voices and votes of people of color is a direct assault on the image of God, the imago dei, laid out in the first chapter in the first book of the Bible in Genesis 1:26. “Then God said, ‘Let us make all humankind in our image and after our likeness.” Are Donald Trump’s white evangelical followers really ready to own up to their chosen party’s plans to suppress the voting rights of their Black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ—even at Black churches as polling places?

The divinely created equality of all of God’s children is so much larger than the small world of Donald Trump, who wants to take over our political nation. To invoke God, Mr. Trump, in the making and selling of your Bible is a very dangerous thing—not only for the soul of the nation but also for yours. You once said that you never have felt the need to ask God for forgiveness in your life. You might want to reconsider that now.

The False White Gospel book cover

Jim Wallis is the author of The False White Gospel: Rejecting Christian Nationalism, Reclaiming True Faith, and Refounding Democracy. He is Georgetown University’s inaugural holder of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Chair in Faith and Justice, and the Director of its new Center on Faith and Justice. He served on President Obama’s first White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is the author of multiple New York Times bestselling books, including God’s Politics. In 2022 and 2023, Washingtonian magazine named Wallis one of the 500 most influential people shaping policy in DC. Wallis is also the founder of Sojourners.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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