UPDATED May 26, 2021: HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Zondervan will not be publishing the God Bless the USA Bible after all. The news comes after the circulation of an online petition, as well as a letter written by several Christian authors who have published books with Zondervan.
“Zondervan is not publishing, manufacturing or selling the ‘God Bless the USA Bible,’” said the company in a statement provided to Religion Unplugged. “While we were asked for a manufacturing quote, ultimately the project was not a fit for either party, and the website and marketing of the NIV [New International Version] project were premature.”
HarperCollins Christian Publishing licenses the NIV translation of the Bible and is a parent company to Zondervan, which publishes that translation. HarperCollins is also a parent company to Thomas Nelson, which publishes the King James Version (KJV) and the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.
The website for the God Bless the USA Bible previously stated that it would feature the NIV translation, but has since been updated to say that it will be using the “trusted King James Version translation.”
Elite Source Pro is the marketing consulting company responsible for the God Bless the USA Bible, and its leader, Hugh Kirkpatrick, met with HarperCollins on May 25 to explore the possibility of publishing the Bible through Thomas Nelson. The talk was unsuccessful, however, and HarperCollins will not be producing any version of the God Bless the USA Bible. Kirkpatrick said he plans to move forward with publication using a non copyrighted version of a King James translation.
The Christian authors who contacted Zondervan to protest the publication of the God Bless the USA Bible include Shane Claiborne, Doug Pagitt, Lisa Sharon Harper, Jemar Tisby, and Soong-Chan Rah. In a response to the news that Zondervan will no longer be publishing the Bible, the authors wrote:
We are delighted to hear that Zondervan has released a statement today that affirmed this Bible is not their product….It is entirely possible that the folks crafting this Bible will find another translation with another publishing house, but for now it is on hold, and we rejoice. We hope that future projects like this one will be reconsidered as well. We don’t need to add anything to the Bible. We just need to live out what it already says.
ChurchLeaders original article written on May 24, 2021, below:
A new Bible edition called the “God Bless the USA Bible” is set to release this September near the anniversary of 9/11. One of the primary people responsible for the Bible says the purpose of it is to bridge the deep divisions among Americans—and that it is not influenced by Christian nationalism.
“It’s the Holy Bible. It just leans toward you’re American and maybe you need to understand the documents behind America and what did these people believe?” Hugh Kirkpatrick, leader of Elite Source Pro, told The Tennessean. Elite Source Pro is a marketing consulting company based outside of Nashville that is responsible for developing this particular Bible edition.
“God Bless the USA” singer Lee Greenwood has endorsed the Bible, which will feature the chorus of Greenwood’s famous song, as well as the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and Pledge of Allegiance. The Bible costs $49.99 and is being sold as an edition that is “perfect” for certain groups, including homeschooling families, new American citizens, brides, members of the military, and “anyone that loves America.”