This week, in his visit to tornado-devastated Alabama, President Trump signed some Bibles at the request of their owners and suddenly the press cared about heresy.
While it is actually not uncommon for presidents to sign Bibles, because everything our 45th President ever does must be subject to the severest scrutiny, we are now having this national conversation.
Still, the question as to whether or not a political leader ought to sign their name in a Bible is a valid one, and here’s what is being said.
The Associated Press reports (H/T CBN News) that “Presidents have a long history of signing Bibles, though earlier presidents typically signed them as gifts to send with a spiritual message. President Ronald Reagan signed a Bible that was sent secretly to Iranian officials in 1986. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the family Bible his attorney general used to take the oath of office in 1939.”
Some leaders take no issue with the President signing the Bibles of admiring Alabamans who made the request. They argue these were personal Bibles with which their owners may do what they choose.
“Though we don’t have a national faith, there is faith in our nation, and so it’s not at all surprising that people would have politicians sign their Bibles,” says Hershael York, dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary School of Theology. “Those Bibles are meaningful to them and apparently these politicians are, too.”
Long before the information age, Bibles took such a central role in a Christian family’s life that they were also used to keep photographs or documents safe or record marriages, births, and deaths.
The objection is, though, that the President was cheapening his visit to Alabama and the Bibles he signed there by what some claim is just a PR stunt.
Rev. Donnie Anderson, executive minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, says “For me, the Bible is a very important part of my faith, and I don’t think it should be used as a political ploy. I saw it being used just as something out there to symbolize his support for the evangelical community, and it shouldn’t be used in that way. People should have more respect for Scripture.”
It seems that Anderson has little regard for members of the evangelical community who feel so passionately about Trump’s presidency that upon meeting him, they hoped to forever remember him in their Bibles.
While it is valid to suggest that Scripture is far more sacred than who we support politically, there is also a certain degree of legalism in suggesting that simply having a man whom we pray for and hope will lead our nation righteously sign our Bibles somehow sullies the infallible, eternal, indestructible Word of God.
The regard we have for the words of Scripture should extend far beyond the printed paper books in which we carry them around with us, and it is possible that Trump’s choice to sign Bibles had little more to do than simply signing his name in a book that was precious to its owner. Does it really have to have more significance because it was Trump?
Trump is in a tough place here. He’s the President, and he’s up for reelection in 2020, so its impossible to divorce everything he ever says or does from trying to be reelected. Had he neglected to go to Alabama, or refused to sign the Bibles of local voters who asked him to do so, they’d just be criticizing that too.
He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t and maybe, just maybe, he can sign a few Bibles without having some sinister ulterior motive.
Despite what the left would like you to believe, everything doesn’t instantly become ugly, secretly evil, or blasphemous just because Trump does it.