Trump is Signing Bibles in Alabama

trump Bible

Some of my thoughts on this story can be found in Sarah Pulliam-Bailey’s coverage at The Washington Post.  Here is a taste:

John Fea, a historian at Messiah College, a Christian school in Pennsylvania, said he has never heard of any president signing Bibles before. The American Bible Society, he said, produced a Bible commemorating President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but it came out after his death. There’s a tradition in many families that generations would sign a Bible.

Trump’s actions, Fea said, fit his appeal to many white evangelicals in the South.

“The fact that people are bringing Bibles to him says a lot about them,” Fea said. “It seems to imply that they see him not only as a political leader but a spiritual savior for the nation.”

Trump has appealed to them as someone who can protect them from the decline of a Christian nation, Fea said.

“The message of the Bible represents for many white evangelicals a source of spiritual comfort in the midst of suffering,” he said. “It says volumes about how evangelicals see … Trump as a figure sent by God to protect them from all storms of life.”

Read the entire piece here.

It is worth noting that Trump is signing a Bible distributed for disaster relief by the American Bible Society.

Oh the irony of it all!

31 thoughts on “Trump is Signing Bibles in Alabama

  1. There is a lot that could be mentioned, I suppose. Though there is much I know, my familiarity with the topic does have its limits. I have’t given it a lot of thought in recent years, as it’s been a long time since I attended a Unity Church. But it did come back up in my readings just a month ago.

    In Food and Faith in Christian Culture edited by Ken Albala and Trudy Eden, there is an essay about vegetarianism that discusses Unity Church at length. I didn’t know that part of Unity history. They apparently were major advocates of vegetarianism. But that wasn’t central to the church by the time my family began attending in the 1980s, at least not central enough that I noticed it as a child.

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  2. Benjamin,

    Thanks for the brief spiritual biography. I shall check out the links you listed. Your religious heritage is complex and shows a degree of family exploration which is uncommon.

    I was a bit surprised that you did not mention the Christian Science roots of Unity
    James

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  3. I was plenty aware that I was a religious heretic, as I spent part of my youth in the Deep South. If anything, I wear that as a badge of honor. That is true even now, despite my no longer being religious in an organized sense. It wasn’t only Unity I was raised in. For a time, my family also attended Science of Mind. And in high school, I read my grandmother’s copy of A Course In Miracles. I also read at the time such things as Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior, James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy, and of course Richard Bach’s Illusion and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

    All of this had a major impact on me at the time. Along with all of the above, I also was in Youth of Unity and went to the summer camps. It was actually a positive experience for me at the time. For all my criticism of Unity, it did show me that it’s possible for people to be kind and caring in a way that I’ve never seen anywhere else. They take their principles seriously. It is a social liberalism taken as theology, with no fear or punishment. When younger, I was never taught about original sin, damnation, or hell. Those were alien concepts that made no sense to me and still don’t.

    There was nothing cultish about it. Far less cultish than the extremes of fundamentalism or even most mainstream Christianity. Rather than groupthink, the complete opposite was encouraged. Questioning and doubting were openly permissable. Even denying God wouldn’t have bothered anyone. They weren’t a dogmatic group. The freedom of the individual was central, as that was the only possible relationship to God. The divine was about love and tolerance, not conformity and obedience. Also, the divine was about Truth. I still carry a strong sense of idealism of love and truth.

    My parents were introduced to this alternative area of religion and spirituality through my grandmother. She was originally a Southern Baptist. But my grandfather became a Methodist minister and so was she at that point. Then they got divorced and she moved to the West Coast, specifically in the Bay Area of California, and later in Oregon. She also introduced alternative health to my mother, something I still hold onto in my the way I live.

    Unity Church has many roots. It did emerge out of the evangelical movement in the late 1800s. And like evangelicals, there is the emphasis on a personal relationship with God, specifically with Jesus as Friend. But it seems to have some roots in Unitarianism and Universalism, at least theologically — traditions that took hold in America during the revolutionary era. Jefferson predicted that among the younger generation Unitarianism would become the new dominant religion. He was a bit off in that prediction, although he was correct in the trend as Unitarian theology (as with Universalist theology) has crept into both mainstream and alternative Christianity. Unity’s New Thought has crept in as well, by way of The Daily Word publication that in the past I’ve seen in many non-Unity churches.

    About my own writing, I have put out a few posts about Unity. And it occasionally pops up as a side note in other posts and comments. It is very much part of my identity, as I retain my fond memories of that time of my life. I hold no hatred toward Unity Church. Slightly more than a decade ago, I did a four part series at a now defunct blog, but I transferred them over to my present bog (only the first one has been cleaned up). I also have one more recent post that isn’t so much about my personal experience.

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/new-age-part-1/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/new-age-part-2/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/new-age-part-3/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/new-age-part-4/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/meyerism-and-unity-church/

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  4. Benjamin,

    Yes, I am acquainted with the Filmores and the movement which resulted from their ideas. Also agree with you that Peale’s ideas we’re closely related, albeit not as overtly metaphysical. A lot of this thinking has bled off into prosperity Pentecostalism and figures like Joel O.

    I am sure that you are also aware that the more orthodox evangelicals and fundamentalists eschew the so-called Prosperity Gospel and even clearly teach against it. As far as The Unity School and other related movements, they are generally believed to be heretical. The late Walter Martin dealt with this subject in his iconic work, THE KINGDOM OF THE CULTS. Of course, it has been addressed in many other publications, also.

    Just out of curiosity, have you written anything on your personal experience with Unity or a related body?

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  5. This is of personal interest. I grew up in the Unity Church. That is New Thought Christianity, It is a far more liberal church and less reactionary, but it has some theological overlap with prosperity gospel and Peale’s positive thinking. I was familiar with Peale when younger, as he was an author my dad liked. So, my early religious experience is only one step removed from that of Trump’s early religious experience. I’m familiar with the general mindset and the related dysfunctions involved.

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  6. Benjamin,

    You are correct in stating that many prosperity types support Donald Trump. Concurrently, many more traditional evangelicals look with great disfavor upon this movement.

    James

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  7. Jeff,
    I won’t dispute his skill as a speaker and a master of English verbiage. He was steeped in powerful literary style——-Shakespeare, the KJV, probably a few Latin poets, the Founding Fathers, etc.

    James

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  8. Actually Lincoln could quote from and was familiar with other important literature. Shakespear for instance. He really researched and worked at his important speeches and written messages. He did his homework.
    When he spoke to a crowd he understood the moment. He was careful if his words generally.

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  9. Jeff,
    I agree. All Americans of Lincoln’s time were more knowledgeable of the Bible than an arguable plurality of Christians today. It was the only book many families owned.
    James

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  10. Jeff,
    I won’t differ with you here, but you need to put this in historical perspective. When Lincoln was growing up and even during his adulthood. Many American families owned just one book, the Bible. We were not a media-saturated society at the time nor did frontier families have the financial resources to own extensive libraries. Accordingly, Lincoln might be more culpable for having been exposed to the scripture and having subsequently rejected its propositions.
    James

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  11. Jeff,
    I am not sure about the pew purchase, Jeff. A few years ago I read a pretty good book about Lincoln’s views of religion, and that fact may or may not be there. Can’t recall. He did become more of a seeker for spiritual truth as he aged, however, as a young man he was often viewed as the village atheist and was very provocative toward the faithful.
    James

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  12. Unlike anything we know if Trump, Lincoln KNEW the Bible. He had read it extensively, and could quote passages and refer to passages. He had reasoned through these things. When it comes to the Bible there is a wide gulf between the depth of Lincoln’s investment in it and Trump’s.

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  13. James, I know tha about Lincoln. Just pointing out that a bible handed to Trump to sign is just sad.
    I believe Lincoln “bought” a pew at a Washington church? After Willie died?

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  14. Justin,
    Well, it is worth investigating and I appreciate you surfacing it. Of course, Solomon’s big sin wasn’t related to Mammon as much as it was to his weakness for women.
    James

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  15. Jeff,
    Well, I wouldn’t object to a Bible signed not Lincoln; in fact, I’d love to own one. Lincoln was
    , however, a freethinker for most of his life. He was never a churchgoer or an enthusiastic vocal supporter of the Gospel. Toward the end of his life, he did mellow out regarding religion but still never joined a church.
    James

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  16. To me the sad thing is that people associate Trump with the Christian faith as if he were a hero of the faith.
    As for adding value to a Bible by having a celebrity signature signed as any autographed memorabilia might be, that is a weird concept. Now, I get it that, say, someone discovered a personal Bible of Lincoln’s and he had put his name on the flyleaf or something, that would be very different from a bible just handed to Trump to sign.

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  17. As far as I can tell, the first person in the historical record to make the explicit connection between Solomon’s legendary 666 talents of gold (which is mentioned twice in scripture and once in a secondary 1st century source, by the name of Josephus) was the Venerable Bede. Seems like a pretty strong coincidence that the number of Solomon’s massive annual treasury intake and the number of the Beast are exactly the same, and very congruent with the observation that one cannot serve both God and Mammon, or God and Money.

    I’ve heard lots of other mathematical contortions and maneuvers, but the simplicity of the monetary connection stands out from the others.

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  18. Unicorn,
    Good leather Bibles are family heirlooms. A good signature in one of them would be something to pass along.

    James

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  19. Justin,
    I had never heard that view of I Kings 10:14 and would need to do some research to determine if there is a greater sum mentioned. All of the Old Testament value equivalents are somewhat conjectural since weights were not fixed and varied from time to place.

    An easier explanation to 666 in Revelation is that man was created on the sixth day and a triple six represents the fullness of man or the deification of man since God’s number is three. Six is man’s number; used three times it is man trying to usurp God.

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  20. I’m curious whether any CELEBRITY Christian Leaders, MegaPastors, Televangelists, whatever do the Bible-signing shtick. If so, it would lend weight to Wondering Eagle’s hypothesis that the reason so many Born-Agains are Trump Fanatics is because Trump acts like a CELEBRITY MegaChristian, i.e. exhibits the tribal-recognition behaviors that these Christians have been groomed in their churches to see as Godly. And if Trump exhibits more of these recognition behaviors than their Anointed preachers, well, then, he must be more Anointed. And the Christians just transfer their Pastor-groomed Pastor Worship to him.

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  21. Justin,
    Do you know if Hitler signed Bibles? I doubt that he did. He did not like Christianity. He probably only signed his autobiography and governmental decrees.

    By the way, my big beef with today’s photograph of Trump signing a Bible is that it apoears to be a paperback ESV. At least the Trump supporter could have gotten him to sign a leather A.V.!

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  22. Christian,
    No, he isn’t. If you follow that script, the blasphemous name will not arise from North America.

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  23. I feel sorry for anyone coming to him to sign their Bible. So sad.
    Kind of reminds me of people sending money for holy water or other shyster stuff.

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  24. yeah like all those bibles signed by hitler, they certainly do send an important historical message about hypocrisy and faith,

    please do hurry to Alabama so you can make money from sacrilege.

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  25. Is Trump’s very name is one of the names of blasphemy associated with Antichrist in Revelation?

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  26. Hey, can I still make it go Alabama before Air Force One returns to Andrews? I will get a Bible or two signed. Can you imagine what it will bring at a Christie’s auction for one of my grandchildren in seventy years? Good investment!

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