When Donald Trump was asked in a 2015 television interview about the verse in the Bible his heart likes more, he stuttered and could not answer. Therefore, it has been strange for the Bible to become a vital part of its media image, since his election to the presidency of the United States in 2016.
It is not new for analysts to be preoccupied with the religious beliefs of American presidents. When the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the international press reported that George Bush Jr. was influenced by the preacher Tim The Hague, and his belief that “the Iraq war is a step away from the previous Armageddon battle.”
In 2017, with Trump announcing the United States recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the referral to the prophecies was renewed, with the American President himself surrounding a group of evangelical missionaries, who believed that the prophecy of “rebuilding Jerusalem before the return of Christ” should be fulfilled.
Nevertheless, the image of the US president, lifting the Gospel in front of St. John’s Church in Washington, a street from the White House, was shocked.
The police and the National Guard used tear gas to drive the demonstrators out of the church’s vicinity so that Trump could cross the street to enter the church, which has been the intent of American presidents to pray for 200 years, and is called the “Presidents’ Church. ”
The act was met with sharp criticism, for its timing coinciding boiling American street protesters against the killing of George Floyd during his arrest by the police.
Many bishops expressed their dissatisfaction with Trump’s elevation of the Bible, because of the political exploitation of the book.
The harshest criticism came from Marianne Paddy, the head of Washington pastors in the Protestant Episcopal Church, which belongs to the Church of St. John to her authority.
Paddy said in an interview with “CNN” that what Trump did “is representative, contradicts the teachings of Christ”, and does not bear condolences for the sufferers after the killing of Floyd. She said her church stands with the protesters’ demands to eliminate racism and deviates itself from the fiery president’s speech.
Trump is not known to be a devout practitioner of Christianity, but mobilizing evangelical support is very important to his political future, according to BBC Religious Editor Martin Bashir.
When elected, Trump garnered 81 percent of white evangelical voters, and he outperformed Hillary Clinton by white Catholics.
According to Bashir, Trump presents himself as a “champion” for evangelical and conservative voters, despite his contradictory career with their teachings: three marriages, accusations of molestation, the porn movie actress Stormy Daniels scandal … but he has managed to overcome those obstacles, by building solid political alliances with their leaders, by adopting their demands and electoral priorities. Among those demands is the expansion of their influence in the Supreme Court and federal courts, where laws on abortion and same-sex marriage are passed. He recently appointed two Supreme Court judges and federal court judges from their allies. Although he was not a religious practitioner, Trump was among the strongest supporters of the reopening of churches after the end of the procedures resulting from the closure of Corona, to win over conservative religious, the most adherent group among his constituents. So it can be said that Trump’s raising of the Bible is more of an electoral “show” than a religious show. The Washington Post described the matter as a “propaganda”, using the Bible as a kind of sacred “talisman” to perpetuate his image as the “chosen” leader. On the other hand, Foreign Policy magazine wrote that American legislation is among the few in the world that does not criminalize the burning of sacred books and flags, as it contradicts the principle of consecrating icons. Therefore, Trump’s raising of the Gospel in front of a church is not only indifference to the protests of Americans, but rather an unpleasant tradition in American politics. Trump’s bragging of the Bible adds to a series of statements he made, in which he refers to the use of military force and the consolidation of the regime’s power and control against saboteurs. The sacred text is an important interface for devoting itself as a keeper of security and order. Despite his many criticisms, his “acting” resonated with the target audience, as one of them told the Guardian about his and his family’s scene, and how they made him a profile image on their Facebook accounts.