‘Act of God’ provokes biblical pandering by Trump

Statement by Annie Laurie Gaylor
Co-President
Freedom From Religion Foundation

Trump Signs Bibles

President Trump today at a Baptist church in Alabama signed bibles for Alabamans affected by this week’s “act of God” — a tornado on Sunday that killed more than 20 people. 

What’s wrong with this picture?

Who can forget the painful spectacle of Trump callously lobbing paper towels at Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria? But at least paper towels have some utility, however pathetic an offering in the face of the hurricane’s devastation. And there’s no separation between state and paper towels.

The U.S. Constitution, however, mandates a separation between government and church. As president, Thomas Jefferson, in refusing to declare days of fasting or prayer, pointed out “every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U.S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.” 

Exactly on point. Trump wasn’t elected pastor in chief and most certainly should not be distributing bibles to constituents as part of an official function.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the president autographed the bibles! Why was he signing them? He didn’t write the book (nor, for that matter, did a deity). One would think the truly devout would find this highly presumptuous, if not sacrilegious. 

It’s clear Trump will do anything to pander to his base of evangelicals, fundamentalists and Christian nationalists. 

Survivors of the tornado deserve better than this photo op. And so does our Constitution.

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