The Bible Is Not a Prop: In Fact, We Need It Right Now


Its Teachings, Though—about the Gospel and Justice—Are What We Need Right Now.

It was a jarring and awkward photo op. It did not play well, even with many of the president’s supporters.

Every pastor has, at some point, accidentally held a Bible upside down as the president did, so that can happen. But, the president did not open it. He did not read from it. When asked if it was his Bible, he said it was a Bible (emphasizing the “a”).

To use the Bible in a photo op, after clearing peaceful protestors from Lafayette Park with, The Hill reported, “tear gas and smoke bombs hissing” so he could walk to a church, was simultaneously unhelpful to the current situation and at odds with the message of that Bible.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse described it as “photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

A Bible in a photo op was not the Bible we needed.

The Bible

Anyone who has been paying attention to national politics immediately understood what was happening. Likely aimed towards evangelicals like me, it would show that, somehow, standing in front of a church and awkwardly holding a Bible means that we should support the president.

In the past I have voiced my support when I have seen this president’s administration do good things. I have worked with the administration toward their good efforts on opioid abuse and mental health.

Moreover, I’ve prayed for President Trump regularly.

But what Trump did on the steps of St. John’s is what most pastors around the country remind their congregations not to do. The Bible will be as useful to you displayed on the fire mantle as it will when held aloft outside a church. Jesus himself warns against this in Matthew 6, cautioning to “beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order …

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