Right-wing preacher bashing Trump’s Bibles is a bad sign for Donald

North Carolina evangelical Rev. Loran Livingston is going viral for a fiery speech he gave in early April through which he condemns Donald Trump’s promotion of a $59.99 Bible that’s embossed with an American flag and contains historic paperwork just like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in addition to the lyrics to conservative singer Lee Greenwood’s music “God Bless the USA.”

Livingston referred to as the Bibles “blasphemous” and “disgusting.” And he isn’t the only conservative evangelical to take exception to Trump’s stunt. Another distinguished conservative, professor Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, denounced the merchandise in an op-ed for a Christian-focused news outlet in March.

“[F]using America’s founding documents with the Word of God is a syncretistic expression of civil religion that goes farther than what those who love their country—and, more importantly, for those who love their Bibles—should ever allow,” Walker wrote. He added that “President Donald J. Trump lacks all the authority—and sincerity—to stand up and advertise a Bible for $59.99. Really, no one does, because Bibles of this sort should never have been made in the first place.” He additionally mentioned Trump’s critics would have purpose to “stomp on Trump for bastardizing Christianity.”

The Bibles, which Trump has promoted alongside Greenwood, had been broadly panned when Trump started selling them in March. Trump has never hesitated to use his followers’ religious loyalties to his political advantage. But he’s additionally given us ample reason to believe he doesn’t understand scripture or take seriously the personal convictions of those who espouse it.

That’s simply what the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic senator from Georgia, tried to warn him about during a CNN interview in March.

Warnock mentioned:

And look, I’m not so naive to suppose that this is going to be evangelicals’ “road to Damascus” second. Right-wing evangelicals have remained largely loyal to Trump despite his refusal to cite a Bible verse, and after the “Access Hollywood” moment in 2016, and after he was found civilly liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll, to call a few incidents. (Don’t name it hypocrisy, although: One spiritual historian argued to Vox in 2020, “If you understand what family values evangelicalism has always entailed — and at the very heart of it is white patriarchy, and often a militant white patriarchy — then suddenly, all sorts of evangelical political positions and cultural positions fall into place.”)

But it’s additionally true that Trump’s evangelical help appears to be on shakier floor than he would possibly choose. This is due, partially, to his recent statements that, whereas supportive of abortion restrictions, have backed away from the extra draconian limitations allowed after his hand-picked Supreme Court justices overturned Roe v. Wade.

And within the 2020 election, Joe Biden did eat into Trump’s lead among white evangelicals, albeit solely barely. Liberal religion leaders are exhausting at work attempting to chip away extra of Trump’s evangelical help, as pastor and social activist Doug Pagitt explained in a recent interview with Chris Hayes.

In an election 12 months which will come all the way down to the margins, neither Trump nor Biden can afford to lose any core voters. Livingston’s sermon reveals how Trump’s Bible stunt has perturbed some evangelicals. The query now is whether or not any defy him in November.

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