North Carolina Pastor Slams Trump’s “God Bless the USA” Bible as “Blasphemous”

Pastor Loran Livingston of Central Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, has recently criticized former President Donald Trump’s “God Bless the USA” Bible, calling it a “political mess” and a “ploy” to gain votes. The pastor’s viral sermon, delivered on April 14, has sparked a discussion about the relationship between politics and religion in the United States. Without mentioning Trump by name, Livingston said he believes the Bible is merely a guise to get votes.

Trump's Promotion of the "God Bless the USA" Bible

In March, Trump began selling the “God Bless the USA” Bible, promoting it on his Truth Social account. The former president stated in a video that religion and Christianity are missing from the U.S., and his goal is to “bring them back.” Trump said, “I think it’s one of the biggest problems we have; that’s why our country is going haywire. We’ve lost religion in our country. All Americans need a Bible in their home and I have many. It’s my favorite book. It’s a lot of people’s’ favorite book. This Bible is a reminder that the biggest thing that we have to bring back to America and to make America great again is our religion.”

The Bible, priced at $59.99, includes copies of government documents such as the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as the handwritten chorus to the song “God Bless the USA.” Trump emphasized that Christianity is under attack across the nation and that he strives to protect “content that is pro-God” because America was built on Christian values. He also stated that “in the end, we do not answer bureaucrats in Washington, we answer to God in heaven.”

Pastor Livingston's Criticism

During his sermon, Pastor Livingston urged his congregation not to buy into Trump’s “God Bless the USA” Bible, stating, “It’s disgusting. It’s blasphemous. It’s a ploy. Are you kidding me? Some of you are so encouraged by that? Let me tell you something. The Gospel is not an American Gospel. It is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Livingston encouraged his congregation to stop “mixing and meshing” politics with church, emphasizing that their duty is to serve God and love their neighbors, not to be political. He said, “Some of you bring politics into the Church. You think that politics is spiritual stuff. Politics is of this world. You think it’s your duty to be political about this, that, and the other. No. Your duty is to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, body, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t be talking to me about my spiritual responsibility to vote. I don’t have a spiritual responsibility to vote. I have a civic privilege. Don’t be telling me that voting is spiritual. See, that’s what happens when you don’t read and pray?”

Livingston added, “If you glory in that kind of thing, you don’t have a prayer life. If you glory in that kind of mess, political mess, you do not know what the word of God says.” The website selling the “God Bless the USA” Bible notes that it is not owned, managed, or controlled by Trump or his affiliates and that Trump’s name and likeness are used under a paid license from CIC Ventures LLC.

Trump's Legal Challenges and Political Stance

Trump, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, recently condemned President Joe Biden for declaring March 31 as “Transgender Day of Visibility,” which fell on Easter Sunday this year. The former president, during a rally in Wisconsin, said, “What the h*ll was Biden thinking when he declared Easter Sunday to be ‘Trans Visibility Day?’ Such total disrespect to Christians, and Nov. 5 is going to be called something else. You know what it’s going to be called? ‘Christian Visibility Day,’ when Christians turn out in numbers that nobody has ever seen before.”

Meanwhile, Trump also faces legal challenges, including a hush money trial in which he has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charges center on $130,000 in payments that Trump’s company made to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Prosecutors said Trump obscured the true nature of those payments and falsely recorded them as legal expenses. The case is the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury.

On Tuesday, Judge Juan M. Merchan ruled that Trump violated a gag order nine times and fined him $9,000—the gag order bars Trump from speaking publicly about witnesses and jurors in the case. Trump has been campaigning in his off-hours but must be in court four days a week when it is in session.

Debate Over Religion and Politics Continues

Pastor Loran Livingston’s criticism of the “God Bless the USA” Bible has reignited the debate about the role of religion in American politics. While Trump continues to promote the Bible as a means to bring back religion and Christianity in the U.S., Livingston’s sermon serves as a reminder that not all religious leaders agree with the mixing of politics and faith.

The discussion surrounding the relationship between religion and politics is likely to continue as the 2024 presidential election approaches. Trump’s legal challenges and his stance on issues such as the “Transgender Day of Visibility” may also play a role in shaping the discourse around the intersection of faith and politics in the United States.