The Bible we don't need

There’s a lot to be said for a Bible Society saying about how Bibles should be “without note or comment”. You can see the King James Bible as a case study – it was designed to supplant the ultra-Protestant “Geneva Bible” which had a lot of notes saying rude things about Kings and Queens.

But a brand new entrant into the Bible scene is very kind to one form of government. The ‘God Bless the USA Bible’ is due to “ship in September 2021”.

The promotional literature promises “the Bible and the founding documents of America. Now … together in one very unique Bible.”

Along with the word of God, “this Bible also features a copy of:

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  • Handwritten chorus to God Bless The USA by Lee Greenwood
  • The US Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Pledge of Allegiance”

Greenwood is an American country music singer-songwriter whose God Bless the USA is also known as Proud to Be an American and was popular during the Gulf War.

The cover of the Bible has a stars and stripes motif, and is produced by a company called Elite Source Pro (ESP) which “was started as a B2B resource to help with sales, marketing, vendor search and introduction, and finding the best and fastest providers to solve many of today’s business problems”.

A report by Religion Unplugged says that the project to publish this Bible came from Christians in the country music industry in Nashville, responding to Black Lives Matter protests taking down statues and, in their view, “erasing history”.

“We’ve never heard of anyone throwing a Bible away,” Hugh Kirkpatrick, president of Elite Source Pro, told Religion Unplugged. “It’s always prominent somewhere in the house, it’s either on the coffee table, it’s somewhere that’s accessible,” he said. “So if the Bible contained holy scripture but it also contained these documents, it would be a one-stop shop for people to learn the basics of why the founders built into those documents divine providence.”

The Bible version used in the ‘God Bless the USA’ compilation is the New International Version.

Eternity first became aware of the Bible through a very conservative reformed group backing a petition against it being published. The petition asking Zondervan – the US publisher of the NIV – to re-think licensing this edition is here.

What would an Aussie version of this Bible contain? Apart from the Constitution, what would we put in it? There’s no ‘God Bless Australia’ equivalent, is there? Maybe we could pinch God Defend New Zealand? But it is hard to see Australians going for a similar Bible in any numbers.

” This isn’t a Bible, it is an idolatrous conflation of nationalism with Christianity that denigrates God’s Word,” one commenter says.  “Zondervan has drawn plenty of gold from the American captivity of God’s people, must it now make a golden calf?”

And another one: “This is absolute heresy. God is not bound to honour any nation nor has he ever promised special status to the US. We are to be in the world, but not of it. Our allegiance should be to the kingdom of heaven, not any world government. Please do not print the Bible obtaining these fallible man-made documents!”