President Donald Trump was heavily criticized after he visited an Alabama church last week and signed Bibles for survivors of a devastating tornado, but some are pointing out that it may not be as strange as it seems.
Many took to social media to slam the president for signing the Bibles, saying that it was tacky.
Take a look:
Tell you what. If you own “Art of the Deal,” I’ll sign George H. Takei on the cover. Just like Trump signing the Bible, it makes absolutely no sense in any context. But at least I can cover up his face with it.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 9, 2019
This is how far the honor of the Office of President has fallen. An honorable President would just say no to signing a Bible or a woman’s breast. It is = Tacky. Tasteless. Typical Trump. https://t.co/p2SDZ7uzMN
— Vicki Ringer (@vickiringer) March 9, 2019
God is actually dead. If He wasn’t, every bystander in that church would have their heads explode and faces melt when Donald Trump scrawls his name in the first Bible. https://t.co/5eCMvQekAp
— David Simon (@AoDespair) March 8, 2019
However, various experts have since pointed out that President Trump is not the president to do this, citing former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan as having done the same in the past. In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt also signed the Bible used at his inauguration.
President Trump signs a Bible as he greets people at Providence Baptist Church in Alabama on Friday during a tour of the area where a tornado killed 23 people. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) pic.twitter.com/g6HvlGca6N
— Dylan Stableford (@stableford) March 8, 2019
“If this was an organized effort where the president was giving out stacks of signed Bibles, that would strike me as odd, to say the least, but from what I can tell the event today wasn’t outside the norm,” Peter Manseau, the Smithsonian’s curator of religion, told The Washington Post. “Presidents seem to sign a lot of random things put in front of them.”
Trump was out in Alabama signing Bibles like they were concert merch and people are blasting him for it: https://t.co/yU4RfvD12v
— Complex (@Complex) March 9, 2019
Bill Leonard, the founding dean and professor of divinity emeritus at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, N.C., also spoke out in defense of the president’s actions.
“It would’ve been worse if he had said no because it would’ve seemed unkind, and this was at least one way he could show his concern along with his visit,” said Leonard to Fox News. “In this setting, where tragedy has occurred and where he comes for this brief visit, we need to have some grace about that for these folks.”
One volunteer shared these photos of President Trump & the First Lady both signing Bibles while stopping at a local church to meet tornado survivors and volunteers in Alabama. pic.twitter.com/E3RHl2QXth
— Rachel Scott (@rachelvscott) March 8, 2019
A volunteer at Providence Baptist Church also said that Trump visiting was a “godsend” because it encouraged people who had lost everything, as IJR Red reported.
“I enjoyed him coming,” said Ada Ingram. “The situation is bad. And there are going to be people who will say, ‘Why did he come to my town.’ I don’t know why. I don’t why the hurricane happened. But there is a reason.”