As Trump reminds the public in many of his speeches and interviews, the the man loves him some Bible. Is that love sincere, though, or is it a device Trump is using in an attempt to win over religious voters in preparation for his upcoming presidential election campaign? Some members of the public are inclined towards the latter, because of Trump’s seemingly forced enthusiasm for the book.
“Trump’s occasional nods to religion throughout the campaign so far have seemed like afterthoughts,” writes Rob Garver, a reporter for Business Insider.
Garver cites as example the instance where Trump was asked in a televised interview if he had ever sought God’s forgiveness.
“When we go in Church and when I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that’s a form of asking for forgiveness.”
Garver also brings attention to the fact that Trump regularly promotes his 1987 memoir, Art of the Deal, by telling audiences it is his second favorite book behind only The Bible.
“The Bible… is the book, it is the thing,” Trump said in a recent interview.
“We’re not convinced of Trump’s sincerity,” writes the Patriot Post in an analysis of Trump’s passion for The Bible. The same article points out how when Trump was asked about his favorite Bible verses, he avoided the question.
“The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics,” Trump said.
The article continues.
“We understand it’s tough to be put on the spot, but Trump is all too often short on specifics…”
Many sources also point Trump’s background to dispute his “devout Presbyterian” claims, addressing how his past actions have not suggested a deep love of religion. A report from BGR illustrates the doubters’ thoughts.
“If he is [passionate about Presbyterianism], then he has a very funny way of showing it — after all, if you ever ask yourself ‘What would Jesus do?’ the answer never involves trashing prisoners of war for getting captured, declaring that Mexican immigrants are ‘rapists’ or insinuating that a woman only asked you tough questions because she was menstruating.”
Many Twitter users, both religious and otherwise, have even brought their own brands of humor to the situation by creating posts melding famous (and infamous) Trump quotes or opinions with Bible-speak and branding the posts with the hashtag #TrumpBible.
And Lo, Jesus said unto Judas Iscariot: "You're fired" #TrumpBible— Dr Eric Levi (@DrEricLevi) August 29, 2015
Thanks for the gold, frankincense, and myrrh Wise Guys. Now go back to your own country. #TrumpBible— Tyler M. Tully (@tyler_tully) August 28, 2015
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, that man needs one of my silk suits!" #TrumpBible— TrumpBible (@trump_bible) August 28, 2015
With all this doubt and even, as some would say, mockery, surrounding Trump’s religious sincerity, one might think that the Presbyterian voters he was aiming for would gravitate away from him. This is not the case, though. A recent poll from CNN/ORC reveals that Trump has 23 percent of the evangelical vote, beating out former pastor Mike Huckabee and current Sunday School teacher Ben Carson. Carl Truman, a church historian, noted why when he spoke to AZ Daily Sun.
“Donald Trump comes across as a blunt, savvy, can-do man, and that kind of leader has always been popular” in the American South, where the vast majority of evangelicals are located.
According the the CNN/ORC report, David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network claimed that many evangelicals like Trump’s directness and the fact that he “speaks in absolutes.”
[Image via Jason Davis / Getty Images, video via CNN]