It’s the political gaffe that keeps on gaffing. The other day, Donald Trump set up a last-minute photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church by having the military use tear gas and chemical weapons on peaceful protestors to clear area. Then he strode toward the church, held up a Bible, and posed for photos.
But here’s the thing. Take a close look at that Bible. Well, maybe if Trump would actually HOLD the Bible so that you could see its spine.
Yeah, you see what it says? Revised Standard Version.
Now if you’re thinking, “So what, all Bibles are the same, that’s why they’re called Bibles.” Um, sorta.
You remember that old story in school about how those who grew up in Alaska have 40 different words for snow? By the way, so do skiers – packed powder, granular, man-made, you get where I’m going.
There are different Bibles, depending on the translation (King James, NIV, RSV) or on the faith (Douay-Rheims Bible for Catholics, the Jehovah’s Witness bible where God’s name is replaced with Jehovah throughout the text).
And according to Mother Jones, Donald Trump took a Revised Standard Version to the steps of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Again, according to Mother Jones, the RSV book that Trump used as his photo prop is the Biblical translation that contains a few liberal edits. Mother Jones points out that even if Trump had used a more appropriate text for an Episcopal church – say, the King James Bible or the New International Version, he would have had a translation in which, for example, Isaiah 7:14 would read like this –
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (King James Version)
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (New International Version)
But the RSV translation changes the text a wee bit.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman′u-el.” (Revised Standard Version)
So the RSV reads that Jesus was not born from the Virgin Mary, but by a young woman named Mary. Essentially that waters down the great mystery of faith. Whoops.
Yeah, I know, it’s a nitpick. But the fact of the matter is, Trump took this whole thing and turned it into a photo op to make him look like some authoritative strongman. When, in reality, it made him look weak and petulant and cowardly.