A Bible for A Great American

Fresh from completing his dissertation, Luke Harlow is back, sitting temporarily in the Chair of Christian Kitsch Hermeneutics usually occupied by Matt Sutton! Here's his post on The American Patriot's Bible, a true classic of this genre.
A Bible for True American Patriots
Luke Harlow

Lest anyone continue to doubt the Christian mandate for the United States, Thomas Nelson Publishing is pleased to announce The American Patriot’s Bible.
Not content to rest on the foundational efforts of good Christian patriots like David Barton, and Randall Stephens's forthcoming The Annointed: America's Evangelical Experts notwithstanding--The American Patriot’s Bible promises to advance Christian America arguments even further by “intersect[ing] the teachings of the Bible with the history of the United States while applying it to today's culture.”

And, for those who find the American nation a difficult thing to read into the text, no worries! You’ll have help! This version of the Holy Writ contains, “Beautiful full-color insert pages spotlight America's greatest thinkers, leaders, and events that present the rich heritage and future of our great nation.”

As the editor, Dr. Richard G. Lee, prominent Atlanta Southern Baptist minister, explains in his introduction, the need for this type of Bible was obvious--and dire:

Our seventh President, Andrew Jackson, said concerning the Bible, “That Book, sir, is the rock upon which our republic rests.” Not only was that the opinion of President Jackson, but of every president before and since, as well as countless Americans. On the whole, Americans are a people who love the Bible and the God of the Bible. There is no book more powerful than the Bible to shape the morals and values of men and nations to be right and noble and just. It has proven itself over and over again in the formation and continuance of the greatest nation in history, the United States of America.

While other nations have built their governments upon the shaky foundations of communism, socialism, and countless other anti-God philosophies, only to see those foundations crumble, America stands without equal as a beacon of hope and freedom in a hurting world. Our Founding Fathers delivered to us a system of government that has enjoyed unprecedented success: we are now the world’s longest ongoing constitutional republic. Well over two hundred years under one form of government is an accomplishment unknown among contemporary nations.

Within this special edition of The American Patriot’s Bible, you will find a great volume of both information and inspiration revealing the “strong cord” of the Bible’s influence that runs through the colorful fabric of our nation’s past and present.

Joining with the sacred text are stories of American heroes, quotations from many of America’s greatest thinkers, and beautiful illustrations that present the rich heritage and tremendous future of our nation. If you love America and the Scriptures, you will treasure this Bible.

Much effort has gone into the verification of the quotes and stories included so that the reader can be assured of the validity of that which is recorded herein. To handle the Word of God in any manner is to do so with great care and respect, and that has been done by all who have been involved in this project. May God bless the truth within these pages, and may God continue to bless America!


Brad Hart said…
Here are a few of the comparisons made in the "American Patriot's Bible, as noted by Gregory Boyd:

** The Lord’s statement that Moses “is faithful in all My houses” (Num. 12:7) calls for a boxed quote from Grover Cleveland about how the teachings of Christ “results in the purest patriotism…”

** In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul notes that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are spiritual and mighty in God for the tearing down of strongholds. This inspires the Patriot’s Bible commentators to provide the reader with a historical note about Eisenhower signing into law the clause “one Nation under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance. Eisenhower is quoted as saying this clause would help “strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our countries most powerful resource in peace and war.”

** Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16 which tells us “God so loved the world he gave his only Son…” This inspires the commentators of the Patriot’s Bible to quote Colin Powell on how “the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders.”

** Jesus statement that “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36) inspires a page long commentary on the Bill of Rights, with an ominous emphasis on how the “wall of separation” between church and state today is threatening freedom of religion.

** David’s census of warriors in Israel and Judah (2 Sam. 23:8) elicits a full page commentary on “Freedom’s Defense,” consisting of quotes from various people who agreed that freedom is worth fighting for, including the 19th century former slave, Frederick Douglas

** A reference to Joseph being sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:28) elicits a tender quote from Dick Cheney regarding how easy it is to “take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you

** A statement that the king of Tyre gave gifts to David (2 Samuel 5:11) occasions a commentary on President Thomas Jefferson who provided the newly converted Kaskaskia Indian tribe seven year support for a priest and money for a church

** Joseph’s statement to his brothers that God had sent him to Egypt before them “to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5) elicits a quote from Clarence Manion regarding the Declaration of Independence’s statement that “all men are equal in the sight of God.” In so far as any connection between this verse and commentary can be made, it seems the commentators are suggesting a parallel between God sending Joseph and God sending the Declaration of Independence “to preserve life.”

** Following a passage that says that Abram armed his servants for war (Gen. 14: 14) the reader is given a page-long history on “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms” that celebrates the fact that early Americans were always “prepared to fight” for “liberty” which was “at the heart of their religion.

Sounds like the "Good Book" glorifies nationalistic violence by replacing Israel with America.

Here's a video done by the editors of the "American Patriot's Bible:"

But wait, the esteemed Doctor Richard G. Lee has responded to his critics: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/05/the_publisher_p.html

The highlights:
**Our great nation has not used the Bible to form some system of "nationalism" and "superior isolationism," but rather our founding fathers learned from its teachings the principles, values and ethics of law, government and proper social order.

**Every nation has some form of religion as a basis for its system of government and social order. The examples are many. China has the religion of Atheism, India has the religion of Hinduism, and many of the Arab nations have Islam

And my favorite...

**Christianity was overwhelmingly the religion of our founding fathers. So frequent were their references to the Bible and the Christian faith in their speeches, letters and other writings, that during the compiling of The American Patriot’s Bible it was a challenge to determine which of the great volume of references to their personal faith to include.

But what I find interesting is the strong negative reaction that's coming from many corners of conservative Protestantism towards the American Patriot's Bible. Even its official facebook fanpage only has a paltry 21 members (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/The-American-Patriots-Bible/76963715469?sid=e802f6604f5b012b936731b545d25978&ref=search).

From what I gather in the homeschooling world, the "Christian America" thesis is waning in popularity. I could be wrong, but it seems the remarkable aspect of this "bible" is it might just mean that conservative Christians are tying less and less of their identity to the nation-state. Just maybe.
Brad Hart said…

I stand corrected. =)
Brad Hart said…
On your last point, Benjamin, I have to disagree. I don't think that the "Christian Nation" thesis is waning in popularity all that much. David Barton's popularity is still on the rise -- his radio program "Wallbuilders" keeps adding new affiliates each week. In addition, a slew of new Christian Nation "historians" have jumped on the bandwagon. Even Glenn Beck is expected to begin a series of stage performances where he will portray Thomas Paine (I'll wait for you all to quit laughing) and he is even rumored to be working on a "modern" version of "Common Sense." Newt Gingrich published his "Rediscovering God in American History" and even has a video/documentary out now on it.

I wish I could agree with you but I just don't see the "Christian Nation" movement dying down anytime soon. I know that Jon Meacham and Newsweek recently published their controversial "The End of Christian America" article, but even they had to concede that roughly 60% of Americans still believe America was established as a Christian Nation.

Maybe the movement isn't as big as it was, but I think it's far from being dead.
Gerardo Marti said…
Thanks for writing on this - the market for specialized Bibles continues to expand, giving more particularized interests opportunities for groups to rally for particular values and social agendas. I wrote about the Green Bible a while back:

Randall said…
Luke, Terrific post. My colleague at ENC, Bill McCoy, pointed me to this earlier today. Looks like something I gotta read. Now, if I can only find a Christian bookstore in my neck of the woods.
Randall said…
Benjamin and Brad, I think that things are going pretty strong for the Christian Nation movt. Hard to argue with the stellar sale of books. Peter Marshall has his revised Light and Glory vol out. And, what's more, there must be quite a bit of support around the country.

I got an email from Focus on the Family a couple weeks ago about House Resolution 397 (early May), a reworking of the resolution from back in Dec 07:


J. Randy Forbes again. 61 co-sponsors at the moment: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HE00397:@@@P

Notice anything interesting about where these co-sponsors are from?
Matt Sutton said…
So if Colin Powell leaves the GOP per Cheney and Limbaugh's request, will he also be removed from the Patriots' Bible? The first pro-Powell edition may become a rare collector's edition. Generations from now the Powell pages will be lost and rediscovered like the Dead Sea Scrolls. I better order one ASAP!
James Kabala said…
Actually, the inclusion of Powell (who is, after all, pro-choice, pro-Obama, and non-evangelical) is rather remarkable. Did any twentieth-century Democrats make their way in?