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“God Bless The USA” Bible and the Rise of Christian Nationalism 

By Alexandra Wallace, May 27 2024—

Separation of church and state is enshrined in the first amendment of the United States constitution. The purpose of the law is to prevent the government from adopting an official religion, or incorporating religious views into any legislation. However, assumed republican presidential nominee Donald Trump contradicts this pillar of American democracy through his affiliation with the new “God Bless The USA” Bible. 

This $59 USD Bible was produced by American country singer Lee Greenwood. Donald Trump signed off to allow his name and likeness to be used to market the product. Trump is no stranger to peddling products, but it’s dubious for a politician to exploit their supporters’ religious views to make money. 

Unfortunately, the issues with this Bible run deeper than that.

The product contains the full King James version of the Bible, along with the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and pledge of allegiance. 

Not only is this appropriation of the bible considered blasphemous and offensive to many christians, but it also points to a disturbing trend in American politics: Christian nationalism is on the rise. 

Religious nationalism exists all around the world. It is common sense that religious groups would share a collective identity and a sense of community. However, it carries unique implications in a country founded upon religious freedom and tolerance. A former — and possibly future — president contributing to such a product is an obvious contradiction with the separation of church and state.

The fusion of scripture and the country’s founding documents implies that the United States is a fundamentally Christian nation. Moreover, the conflation of Christianity, patriotism, and support for Trump is what makes this new Bible so concerning.

The current political landscape in the United States is already deeply divided across party lines. The intertwining of religious belief with political ideology will only inflame the so-called “culture war.” By aiding in the production of this Bible, Trump is telling his supporters that to be a true christian — and a real patriot, they must vote for him. Therefore, fuelling the othering of non-supporters.

The former presidents’ supporters have already demonstrated their susceptibility to ultra-nationalism and American exceptionalism. The capitol riot of January 6th shows that they are not afraid to use violence to express these views. The explicit inclusion of christianity in the ideological base allows supporters to moralize any transphobic, misogynistic, or racist views they might have, while convincing themselves that they are more faithful than non-supporters. 

This is not the first time in American history that politics became dangerously intertwined with christianity. The Salem Witch Trials serve as a stark reminder of the perils of religious paranoia. The co-mingling of racism, sexism, and religious fervor led to the deaths of 20 people, highlighting the importance of separating religion from law. 

Extrapolated to the entire country, even a diluted version of the religious hysteria the drove the Salem Witch Trials could be devastating.  At best, this Bible will deepen bipartisan political divisions. At its worst this kind of religious nationalism could lead to an uptick of hate crimes, terrorism, or even facism.

While some may remain optimistic about the political and cultural future of our neighbours down south they must safeguard their republics’ tenet of religious freedom if they want to preserve their liberty. They must reject the attempts to weaponize faith as a means of political gain, because this only leads to societal harm. It would go against the first amendment to prevent a politician from producing works like the “God Bless The USA” Bible, therefore it is up to the American people to ensure that such christian nationalism is averted.

This article is a part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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