Trump's Bible Outrage

The image of Donald Trump waving a Bible around outside the burnt-down church has appalled many Christians and religious commentators. Mark Woods on the Bible Society website declares:

Co-opting the Bible as a justification for repression is unacceptable.

A Leeds pastor writes:

I wonder if there is any end to the lengths this man will go to or to the blindness of people who still think his actions in any way speak of deep faith. It’s appalling.

American Jesuit celebrity, James Martin, tweeted:

Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. God is not your plaything.

The Episcopalian Bishop of Washington, by whose church Trump stood, wrote of her ‘outrage’, stating:

Let me be clear, the president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus

The cynical part of me wonders if some of the outraged statements (especially ones beginning 'let me be clear') issued by these learned, pious folk, are just convenient opportunities to show off how liberal and popular they are. Trump is the far-right bogeyman pulling the strings of every oppressive police officer, every bigot, every example of corporate greed. The man himself I do not care for, though he stands for issues which are dear to me- the right of the unborn to be alive and the freedom of churches to open their doors.

Of course this was a publicity shot and the Bible he waved about I suspect he has seldom bothered to read. Yet the night before, for the first time in history, the Whitehouse’s lights were switched off as the President was taken to the underground bunker, so close and violent did the protests outside his gates become. A number of churches throughout the nation were vandalised or burnt, including St Mary’s in Minneapolis and St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Perhaps I missed the above-quoted leaders’ ‘outrage’ when these incidents were reported. For a President to reclaim the ground outside his home and to uphold a Bible outside a desecrated church does not fill me with bitterness.

Mr Trump has said and done many questionable things and his nation needs a healing hand, along with a change of culture. Be angry at a black man’s unlawful death. Be angry at the existence of an underclass that has never recovered since the slave ships first docked at the Guinea coast. But please, spare me your scandalised expressions and faux outrage because a man holds up a Bible.

Image by Tibor Janosi Mozes from Pixabay