North Carolina pastor calls Trump's 'God Bless the USA' Bible 'blasphemous' in viral sermon

Loran Livingston says voting isn't a 'spiritual responsibility'

Pastor Loran Livingston delivers a homily at Central Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 14, 2024.
Pastor Loran Livingston delivers a homily at Central Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 14, 2024. | Screenshot: YouTube/Central Church

A North Carolina pastor has gone viral after urging his congregants not to embrace the "God Bless the USA Bible" endorsed by former President Donald Trump, which includes documents central to the founding of the United States.

Pastor Loran Livingston of Central Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, condemned the "God Bless the USA Bible" in a sermon delivered on April 14. Clips of the sermon have been viewed millions of times after various users have shared them on social media in recent days.

During Holy Week, Trump endorsed the "God Bless the USA" Bible in a video posted to Truth Social last month. On sale for $59.99, the special edition Bible contains copies of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Pledge of Allegiance, along with the handwritten chorus to the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA," which is frequently played at Trump's rallies. 

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Livingston warned that "people that don't read [the Bible] and pray will get politics mixed up with church."

"Some of you bring politics into the Church," he lamented. "You think that politics is spiritual stuff."

Livingston pushed back on this notion, asserting that "politics is of this world." Directing a message to people who he said "bring politics into the Church," he told them, "You think it's your duty to be political about this, that and the other."

"No!" he exclaimed. "Your duty is to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, body and strength and love your neighbor as yourself."

Livingston urged the congregation not to tell him about his "spiritual responsibility to vote" because "I don't have a spiritual responsibility to vote." Instead, he characterized voting as a "civic privilege."

He maintained that the belief that voting is a "spiritual responsibility" stems from a failure to read the Bible.

"When you don't read and pray, you say, 'Wow, there's a Bible out now that includes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, isn't that wonderful?'" Livingston said. "No! It's disgusting, it's blasphemous, it's a ploy. Are you kidding me? Some of you are so encouraged by that?"

Livingston said, "the Gospel is not an American Gospel; it is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." He argued that it's inappropriate to place historical, foundational documents of the U.S. besides the word of God as the "God Bless the USA" Bible does. 

He compared the U.S. Constitution's use of the phrase "of the people, by the people and for the people" and the repeated use of the term "the people" with the Bible's message of "of Him, by Him, through Him, to Him, from Him, are all things," suggesting that the dueling ideas were incompatible.

"If you glory in that kind of thing, you don't have a prayer life. If you glory in that kind of mess, political mess, you do not know what the word of God says," Livingston stressed. "This is not my home. This world is not my home." 

"My real citizenship is in Heaven, from which we look for the Lord Jesus Christ, who's going to change our vile body that it may be made ... onto His glorious body," he added. 

Trump made headlines and sparked mixed reactions from Christians after he appeared in a video saying, "This Bible is a reminder that the biggest thing we have to bring back America and to make America great again is our religion."

The former president suggested that the presence of the founding documents alongside the Bible was a good way to draw attention to the influence of Judeo-Christian teachings on America's founding documents. He also encouraged his supporters to read the Bible, suggesting that many of the problems engulfing the U.S. stem from the fact that "we've lost religion in this country."

Livingston is not the first religious figure to express concern about the "God Bless the USA Bible."

Andrew Walker, an ethics and public policy professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, wrote an op-ed insisting that "fusing America's founding documents with the Word of God is a syncretistic expression of civil religion that goes farther than what those who love their country — and, more importantly, for those who love their Bibles — should ever allow."

"To put matters bluntly, a Bible like this should never have been made," he added. "That is not because I'm anti-Bible or anti-Constitution. Actually, I am very much in favor of both. They fuel both my heavenly citizenship and my earthly citizenship. But fusing the two in the name of religious-civic identity can quickly become a form of identity politics for the political right."

Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Christian conservative advocacy organization Family Research Council, told The Christian Post in a statement that he's OK with Trump's promotion of the Bible if it encourages someone to read it.

"The truths of the Bible transform lives," Perkins said. "A daily dose of the Bible is the best anti-anxiety medicine you will find."

The Trump campaign is not making money from the Bible as it is "not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Ventures LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates," according to the Bible's website

" uses Donald J Trump's name, likeness and image under paid license from CIC Ventures LLC, which license may be terminated or revoked according to its terms," the site states.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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