Why the 'Ultimate American Bible' Caused a Christian Publishing Scandal

September 15, 2021

In May, controversy over “the ultimate American Bible” briefly rocked the Christian publishing world. Big-name Christian authors penned a letter blasting it as “dangerous,” and more than 900 people signed a petition decrying the decision to print the book. The Bible’s advertised publisher, a part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, disavowed the book and denied it ever had plans to print it in the first place.

The $60 Bible, which was originally set to ship early this month to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, was “inspired by” the country musician Lee Greenwood’s 1980s patriotic anthem “God Bless the USA” and packages Scripture with the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the handwritten chorus to Greenwood’s song. The ensuing uproar shows the challenges facing publishers in the lucrative Bible-printing business and the growing discomfort with Christian nationalism, the ideology that asserts the United States should be an explicitly Christian country.

 

In May, controversy over “the ultimate American Bible” briefly rocked the Christian publishing world. Big-name Christian authors penned a letter blasting it as “dangerous,” and more than 900 people signed a petition decrying the decision to print the book. The Bible’s advertised publisher, a part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, disavowed the book and denied it ever had plans to print it in the first place.

The $60 Bible, which was originally set to ship early this month to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, was “inspired by” the country musician Lee Greenwood’s 1980s patriotic anthem “God Bless the USA” and packages Scripture with the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the handwritten chorus to Greenwood’s song. The ensuing uproar shows the challenges facing publishers in the lucrative Bible-printing business and the growing discomfort with Christian nationalism, the ideology that asserts the United States should be an explicitly Christian country.

The maker of the God Bless the USA Bible said it was not designed as a Christian nationalist book. Hugh Kirkpatrick, the president of the marketing company behind the Bible’s development, said he wanted to make a “one-stop shop” Bible to encourage Americans—and not just Christians—to learn about the “Judeo-Christian values” that he sees as underpinning the country’s founding. “We built this to be a bridge, not to divide,” he said. “We tried to say, ‘OK, we love freedom, and we all want to be free,’ and this process was to let people understand why the Founding Fathers used the Bible as a guide.” He added that he was not trying to “convert” anyone to his religion or his worldview. “There’s no racism involved, no nationalism involved,” he said.

Source: Why the 'Ultimate American Bible' Caused a Christian Publishing Scandal