The Story Of Donald Trumps Bible. True faith is not an idol or an object or a stunt… it is in what you believe. If that is to save the planet from Mans inhumanity to Man or to save the earth and the oceans from pollution and over consumerism..that too cannot become an idol. We are all human beings. Every great teaching will tell you that. And while we need a guide to help us see that, it is in the content of your heart that understands it. That nobody can teach you.
The roots of Donald Trumps religious heritage lie in Presbyterianism
originating from Scotland where his mother Mary grew up.
Presbyterian means belonging or relating to a Protestant church that is governed by a body of official people all of equal rank. Many of the most influential people in the United states in business,law and politics come from this religious group.
Now lets talk about Donald Trumps bible. He was given it by his mother after graduating Sunday school in 1955. It is known as the RSV version. Here is what clever wiki say …
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is an English translation of the Bible published in 1952 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches. This translation itself is a revision of the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901, and was intended to be a readable and literally accurate modern English translation which aimed to “preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the centuries” and “to put the message of the Bible in simple, enduring words that are worthy to stand in the great Tyndale-King James tradition.”
Donald kept this bible in his office by his side in Trump Towers and then later in the Oval Office. He actually swore to protect the constitution of the United States on this very same bible given to him by his mother in 1955.
In fact the inaugural bible was UNDERNEATH the RSV bible he held so dearly. In fact more dearly…
But this maverick behavior is not the sole propriety of Trump. Four presidents before him have not done so… who are they ? And what did they swear on? What were those instruments of faith ?
Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901. Both John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce swore on a book of law, with the intention that they were swearing on the constitution. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on a Roman Catholic missal on Air Force One.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has accused Donald Trump of an “act of idolatry” by posing with a bible in front of a Washington church, in one of the most outspoken attacks by a senior Anglican on the US president’s actions on Monday evening.
The church which is of the American Episcopal denomination has been used for 200 years by presidents to pray in. It was partially burned in an arson attack by anarchists at the George Floyd protest. There have also been criticisms that tear gas was used to move protesters out of the way. In fact only smoke canisters were used . Not dogs. Not rubber bullets. Not live fire.
In a time of great uncertainty and chaos with America on the brink of a civil war and martial law as well as a pandemic, Donald Trump did a little walk of faith to the church invoking Churchill to a symbol of the current divided state of America…a burned church. A church used by former presidents to seek solace in times of uncertainty.
And he got criticism for waving his bible ,a symbol of faith and steadfastness for many people all around the world. People who cant go to church or read a holy book of wisdom and knowledge and comfort.
In every Islamic household the Koran is the most respected object they have.
It isnt an idol, its a source of wisdom , spirituality and council …of hope and encouragement in adversity. It is usually placed in the highest place in the house wrapped in cloth to keep clean from dirt and dust. In fact the word Koran means recitation and most Muslims recite the Koran religiously as a sign of their faith. Oral recitation is seen as more important than quiet reading.
In every Jewish household that practise the faith the Torah is held in the same esteem. A symbol of the soul of the nation. Indeed, in Masada next to the Dead Sea rather than surrendering themselves to the Romans the Jewish resistance committed mass suicide. 960 men , women and children…but not before hiding their religious scrolls in secret. Why? Because the Torah which means instruction was and is the source of life for the whole nation in the diaspora as well as every sabbath.
This act was not idol worship as the very wrong reverend says…it was an act of patriotism. Being faithful to God is an act of patriotism to ones nation and its leaders. Holy Scriptures whether you are a Hindu or Tibetan monk or a Greek one … are the source of light and inspiration.
And in times of darkness you need the light to shine even brighter!
True leadership is not only taking responsibility ,but sharing it …yes and even brazenly SHOWING or DEMONSTRATING or PROCLAIMING it.!
Thats what Trump did. Now comes the REAL story behind Donald Trumps bible…do you wanna know more?
In 1949 in the outer Hebrides in Scotland on an island called Lewis in a town called Stornoway there was a great great spiritual revival. A revival is an improvement in the condition, strength, or fortunes of someone or something. In religious terms it is a “ great awakening”. The amazing thing about this is that this is exactly what happened on this small island of around 20000 between 1949 and 1952. It was also known as the last great revival of Britain… The British empires hegemony on power was over. Britain was bankrupt. This mantle was to be carried by the immigrants of this revival in Scotland …to America… the new world.. the new world power… it is a mantle which weighs upon the shoulders of the most hated man in the world… Donald Trump.
On May 10th, 1912 a woman was born in Tong into a very poor family of 10 children. Her name was Mary Anne Smith Macleod. Her maternal grandfather Duncan Smith was a fisherman who prematurely lost his life at sea age d 34. After the Great War in 1919 which had claimed so many lives from the island a ship was returning with soldiers eager to see their families and sweethearts. There was a terrible accident. The ship hit some rocks only one mile from the safety of the shore. Those that made it to the beach numbered only 79. 205 perished. Of those that survived 43 were saved due to the courage of one man. His name was John Finley Macleod a distant relative of Mary Macleod. This brave young man jumped into the sea and swam to the shore with a rope tied around him. Saved over 40 lives because he took responsibility for his comrades safety. No greater love has a man than this, that he gives his own life to save his friend. Acts of bravery, faith and demonstration and yes..protest are inherent in the indomitable human spirit. It is inside our very DNA.
In 2019 Prince Charles and the Prime Minister of Scotland came to honour that bravery of Mr. Macleod by visiting the island of Lewis.
How great is God that he works through people over generations?
Nothing forgotten. Nothing missed. What is broken ..healed.
The big picture is never known by us mere mortals. We see in part like a jigsaw puzzle. Only God can see the whole painting.
We can never know the motivations of man or the dreams of their mothers. But healing is always there. Hope is always like a glimpse of heaven new every day, every morning. Like manna from heaven. All we have to do is pick it up and eat it…and for some that manna is the words of the bible.
In all the British isles there was no community affected by the traumas of war and poverty and misadventure than this of the little isle of Lewis. They had the greatest casualties of any community in Great Britain per capita.
But hope came in the form of two old decrepit women who could no longer make it to church. Two sisters aged 84 and 82… Peggie and Christine Smith. (Probably related to Mary Anne Smith Macleod Trump) …
One was blind ,the other crippled. They could not worship God by going to church ,so they prayed to God for a revival in their own homes. They called it waiting for God.They called the local reverend James Mackay and shared their revelations. And that priest called a revivalist for help after being convinced they had indeed heard from God.
Hope came to this desperate , poor , impoverished community in the form of a man called Duncan Campbell , a preacher evangelist from the Faith Mission in Edinburgh. He spoke gaelic and his mission was to share the good news to many in the outlying and lonely places of Scotland. He was to stay only two weeks, but ended up staying over two years.
He was the instrument that God used at that time to unlock the heavens for spiritual renewal on that island. It was so profound this revival that pubs closed ,and work stopped. The whole island was on spiritual lockdown. Just like now.
These two sisters who had to stay at home because of their disabilites were also instruments of change on this island…and beyond. Their prayers made a difference. A very big difference. As do all our righteous prayers by righteous men and women.
After the Great War many Scots immigrated to America. Amongst those was a woman who would later become the mother of the 45th president of the United States… Donald Trump. She was a simple woman. A hard working domestic servant for the rich in New York. But she was a believer. She carried her faith from her small island to America in her heart. That faith was rewarded when she achieved the American dream and met and married the man of her dreams in 1936… Fred Christ Trump…An already up and coming wealthy property developer. They had 5 children one of which was named Donald after her grandfather who had lost his life at sea.
Now here is the remarkable thing… Those very same people on her island who had been touched with this last great revival also immigrated to America. This Gaelic speaking community was a very close knit community indeed . There is no doubt that some of those very same people in the story of Lewis were somehow related to Mary. But in this case blood is not important. Donald Trumps bible is.
The RSV bible given to Donald at aged 11 on graduation from Sunday School was a symbol also of the Scottish awakening.
The last great revival in the United Kingdom.
Certainly on her visits to the Island Of Lewis she would have been touched by the revival fires of the people there and was affected by them.
Whether Donald Trump knows the bible inside or out is not the issue. Whether he believes or not is not the issue. What matters is that he is holding up the Scottish revival or awakening for the whole world to see. At this time. When we seem embroiled in the most divisively political era in global politics. What better symbol then of catalyst and healing than a revivalist bible?
And that is what is remarkable about the bible Mary Anne Smith Macleod Trump is showing the world. A bible he swore an oath on. A bible he is proclaiming on the footsteps of Whitehouse in the midst of polarization, plague, division and racially motivated violence.
Like the revival that came to the people of the Island of Lewis… a full 20 years after their great tragedy and trauma… a triple wammy of war, shipwreck and spanish flu… tragedies that traumitised families for a generation, so too is Donald Trump calling the people of America to faith by holding his mothers bible to the world. To America bleeding from racial division, pandemic plague, unemployment and uncertainty. Symbols do have power. Whether its a flag or a book. From MASADA to MINNEAPOLIS . It has meaning, importance and power.
It is important for America at this time to have faith in something again. That is what Donald Trump was saying on that day outside that church… And yes… America like the island of Lewis needs a GREAT revival… a great awakening of its spirit and soul… And WHO will that man or woman be who will bring it to America?
If anything Donald Trump has shown his consistency. He could have thrown out the bible in a trash can. But he didnt. Whether hes read it or not. It was used to swear an oath of allegiance on ,and it is a symbol of the Hebrides revival of 1949. A revival that impacted a mother who impacted a future president. Certainly he would not have kept a useless object for so long. Here was the prayer of Peggie Smith :
”I will pour water on him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground”
“Who shall ascend to the hill, or who shall stand in His Holy Place?” we have all sinned and fallen short of the righteousness of God. But if we make ourselves right with Him… he will surely do the same for us. As we look at racial and political and spiritual divisions all over the world , we should also look at what we are up against. It is death, destruction and division. It is fear, hatred and prejudice. It is racism and fascism and nepotism.
If anything what we can learn from this is it is only through faith in God that we can heal ourselves and our lands. In this there comes unity and and healing. Whether you are a jew , an atheists or a Muslim. It matters not. It matters what you believe healing and unity means. If thats a book that’s ok. But lets make this book and its principles a reality by opening up our hearts and minds to each other.
We can do better. True religion is not a book however important its content is. It is what lies inside your heart. It matters not your denomination of faith or the pigmentation of your skin, it matters how much you love and the the color of your heart.
If anything this book and its exhibition by the president of the free world… the most powerful as well… should show us how much we need to do the inner work. Whether by manual guide or by mediation and prayer. Sometimes the mirrors we hold up are mirrors of ourselves too and our aspirations. If Donald Trumps mirror is his RSV bible then lets hold him to it. And lets also be mirrors to each other by examining our own hearts and hands…how holy are we?
Maybe then there will be a true revival in America!
“ Who shall ascend to the hill, or who shall stand in His Holy Place?
He that has clean hands and a pure heart…he shall receive the blessings of the Lord.”
BUT… lets complete the verse…for all the haters and deceivers out there…
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Psalm 24, 3-6 RSV Version.
And thats the real story of Donald Trumps bible as I see it. It must be noted that today the people of this Island still have their faith but they also have Islam to hold them to account. True faith is not an idol. It is in your heart.