Home Christian News Can a British King Save the God Bless the USA Bible?

Can a British King Save the God Bless the USA Bible?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — The controversial God Bless the USA Bible is still on track, with a little help from a long-dead British king.

A Nashville-based marketing firm had planned to publish a New International Version Bible that paired the Christian Scriptures with the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Pledge of Allegiance, along with lyrics to “God Bless the U.S.A.,” the 1984 patriotic anthem from country singer Lee Greenwood.

Hugh Kirkpatrick of Nashville-based Elite Source Pro said he had reached an agreement with HarperCollins, whose subsidiary Zondervan is licensed to publish the NIV, to produce 1,000 copies of the Bible and already had more than 500 orders.

After news about the Bible was reported by ReligionUnplugged, an online magazine, several Christian book authors published by Zondervan objected. More than 800 people also signed an online petition as well.

Kirkpatrick said HarperCollins then contacted him and backed out of the project, which he said was disappointing. But that’s the way things go, he said.

“It’s not the end of the world,” Kirkpatrick told Religion News Service. “I believe that from a business perspective, they have the freedom to make their own decisions.”

Getting serious — and precise — about Christian nationalism

Kirkpatrick said his contacts at HarperCollins had already done some design work on the God Bless the USA Bible. He’s now taken those files, along with the text of the King James Version of the Bible — which is in the public domain — and sent them to several printers. He hopes to finalize plans for printing the Bibles, which will have an imitation leather cover, this week.

Kirkpatrick, who is 58, described himself as a nondenominational Christian who loves America. He said the audience for the Bible is people like him — who care about their country and spirituality. He worries our current political divides have made it difficult for people to appreciate the country’s heritage.

The flag on the Bible’s cover represents America — not former President Donald Trump, he said.

For him, the God Bless the USA Bible is a patriotic book, not a sign of Christian nationalism. Kirkpatrick also believes the nation’s Founding Fathers were inspired by the words in the Bible and that it will be helpful to have both the Scripture and the Constitution in the same book.

Kirkpatrick believes America was once a Christian country but it has been “sliding away from that.” And he does worry about the future.

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Bob Smietana is an award-winning religion reporter and editor who has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles and features for magazines, newspapers, trade publications and websites. Most notably, he has served as a senior writer for Facts & Trends, senior editor of Christianity Today, religion writer at The Tennessean, correspondent for RNS and contributor to OnFaith, USA Today and The Washington Post.