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A video has resurfaced where Trump is asked about his favorite biblical verses.
Spoiler: it doesn’t go well.
The video comes from an August 2015 interview on Bloomberg Politics. Trump is asked about his self-admitted “favorite book,” the Bible. When asked about some of his favorite verses, his response is less than surprising.
From the interview:
You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal so I don’t want to get into verses. The Bible means a lot to me but I don’t want to get into specifics.
What kind of Christian turns down an opportunity to explain how the Good Book has influenced them?
Calling a Spade a Spade
There are few differences between the religious views of the Republican party. However, you can still tell who has some useful information about their religion and who’s winging it.
Look at Vice President Mike Pence; while not the most popular, or well-liked, politician, there is an a priori expectation that the man knows what’s in his Bible. America became aware of his biblical knowledge while attempting to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as governor of Indiana.
Since becoming VP, and refusing to be around women who weren’t his wife (something called the Billy Graham Rule, by the way [which may actually be illegal]), all is reassured Pence knows his Bible. As much as his faith will allow without becoming aware of contradictions.
He quotes the Bible in his public addresses. Referring to it as “the Old Book,” Pence has quoted from, or about, it on a multitude of occasions. He has also stated which Bible quote he has hanging over his mantle. Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Let’s give Trump the Benefit of the doubt: his religion is personal and he doesn’t want to share his favorite Bible passages.
We’ll even give him a pass for saying he likes the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) equally in the same interview.
Even omitting the interview in total, pretending it never happened, Trump does not emulate a life as dictated in the Bible. And his administration’s treatment of refugees is a clear example.
Arguing that immigrants bring more crime, Trump put measures in place to deny immigrants entry into the country or incarcerate them. The measures don’t work. They’re also contrary to what’s taught in the Bible.
In numerous passages, there is advocacy for treating aliens, immigrants, with kindness and compassion. It emphasizes the reason for doing so is because the audience, the Jews (or the Hebrews), were once aliens in the land of Egypt.
And you shall not persecute an alien, and you shall not oppress him, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
So you shall love the alien, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
And you shall not oppress an alien — since you know the alien’s soul, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Conservative Evangelical Christian’s favorite Bible verse is Leviticus 18:22, the verse that condemns male-on-male homoerotic activity. If people who utilize this verse as reason to discriminate against LGBTQ rights, they stopped before getting to some important issues. Like being kind to immigrants.
You shall not persecute him. The alien who resides with you shall be to you like a citizen of yours, and you shall love him as yourself, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Those Who Should Care Don’t
The fundamentally religious, those who find refuge in the Republican party, are finding hope in Trump.
People who attend religious services of some kind are more likely to approve of Trump’s administration, in spite of anti-Christian behavior and lacking knowledge of the Bible.
Authoritarian, and thus Evangelical, perspective is that lying doesn’t matter when it comes to political leaders. Their position on the sexual assault of women, and Trump’s infidelity in general, has become more soft. This is in light of a 2011 study showing that 60% of white Evangelicals felt that public officials couldn’t do their job if they’d acted immorally in their personal lives.
The Bottom Line
Trump is no Christian. At least not one in practice. But what he’s doing is connecting to the base that he knows will support him in Novermber 2020.
A base that won’t hold him accountable. A base that views his appointment as divine. One that has deep pockets and significant political influence.
And one that is looking forward to a Mike Pence Presidency.