Home Christian News As Trump Hawks Bible, Debate Over ‘Christian America’ Spreads Outside Church

As Trump Hawks Bible, Debate Over ‘Christian America’ Spreads Outside Church

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump endorses the “God Bless the USA” Bible in a recent YouTube video. (Video screen grab)

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (RNS) — Jim Wallis and Donald Trump believe in their own ways that the Bible can save America.

Trump, who recently endorsed Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA Bible,” a book that combines the King James Version with the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, has characterized the Christian Scripture as both a symbol of power and a sign to his followers that their way of life is under threat.

“We must make America pray again,” the former president said in a YouTube and social media promotional video released in Holy Week.

RELATED: Trump Celebrates Holy Week by Comparing Himself to Jesus, Promoting Bible Bound With America’s Founding Documents

For Wallis, the evangelical Christian minister and longtime social justice activist, the Bible’s substance, not its symbolism, holds the power to address America’s ills and save democracy. Speaking at a suburban Chicago bookstore on Monday (April 8), Wallis quoted a passage from the Book of Genesis that claims all human beings are made in God’s image. As such, he said, any attack on democracy is an attack on something holy.

Wallis agrees that American democracy is in crisis and needs to be saved, but it won’t be accomplished by Americans giving in to their “worst demons” and tearing each other apart.

“The False White Gospel” and author Jim Wallis. (Courtesy images)

“We need to go deeper than politics,” he told the 20 or so people who had come out to hear him talk about his new book, “The False White Gospel.” The book turns to a series of biblical stories — from Genesis’ creation account to the parable of the good Samaritan — largely calling to end the polarization and fear that divide the country.

Despite the decline of organized religion, faith and politics still make a volatile combination in a country where the Republican candidate, a thrice-divorced former reality TV star with a history of sexual misconduct, is running as a defender of the Christian faith.

That fact was apparent in the past few weeks as Wallis’ book tour has taken him to cable news shows, yielding segments remarkable for their ardent questions about the meaning of Christianity, not from the evangelical Christian minister and longtime social justice activist, but from his hosts. The day after Easter, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” expressed exasperation as he asked Wallis about Trump’s followers: “Why do they have to embrace a failed reality TV host and take him on as the other Jesus, their new savior?”