Holman has put out a controversial Bible; not one that, to my mind, should be controversial, but which nevertheless is.
Many Christian book stores are now carrying The Soldier's Bible. The leather cover comes in a choice of green for the Army, black for the Navy, burgundy for the Marines, blue for the Air Force and, most recently released, blue for the Coast Guard.
These are handsome Bibles with gilt edges, just the right size for a service member to stuff into his or her pack. Printed on the front is the emblem for the appropriate branch of the armed services. Therein lies the problem.
The Bible is not put out by the military, and probably couldn't be given our current understanding of the legal doctrine known as separation of church and state. Holman Bible Publishers of Nashville developed, printed and distributes The Soldier's Bible, at its own expense, for servicemen.
A you might expect, there are critics who think the emblem on the front brings up legal questions, and may even violate the Constitution's ban on an establishment of religion.
What's especially troubling to some is that this particular Bible is clearly evangelical. Holman Bible Publishers is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. On the first few pages, there's a "Plan for Salvation" that says you must be baptized as an adult believer to have eternal life.
Add to that a privately funded evangelical Bible that looks official, and critics claim that is a problem that needs to be addressed by the military.
The Army says the use of its emblem "is authorized in publications and other printed matter of an official or quasi-official nature." The Army's Institute of Heraldry is the keeper of the emblem. If you want to put it on a T-shirt or bumper sticker, you first have to get permission.
Critics claim that Holman was never granted permission to put the Army's emblem on The Soldier's Bible. But the government doesn't keep a record of those who have been given permission to use the emblems.
Ricky King, product development manager with Holman, says the company has written permission on file from each branch of the service.
Holman also publishes a New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs for military personnel.
The Holman CSB Coast Guardsman’s Bible is the fifth in Holman’s series of Military Bibles, joining the Soldier’s Bible, the Airman’s Bible, the Sailor’s Bible, and the Marine’s Bible.
For these perilous times Holman Bible Publishers say that they are pleased to provide the entire Bible in a format that is handsome, easy to carry, and that is designed to meet the unique needs of those who serve the U.S. in exceedingly difficult situations.
Each Holman Christian Standard military Bible features:
- Special Presentation, Dedication and Records sections for Military Personnel
- Words of Christ in Red
- An Introduction to the Holman Christian Standard Bible
- Explanatory Notes
- The Plan of Salvation
- The Pledge of Allegiance
- The Star Spangled Banner
- The Oath of Allegiance for Enlisted Personnel
- U.S. Armed Forces Code of Conduct
- Battle Hymn of the Republic
- America the Beautiful
- Onward Christian Soldiers
- Where to Turn (Scripture Readings for all Occasions)
- So Great a Faith (The story of Jesus and the Centurion)
- The Apostle's Creed
- The Nicene Creed
- Testimonials and Encouragement from Officer's Christian Fellowship
- History of the Armed Forces
- Symbols & Logos
- Quotations, Prayers and Inspiration from:
- D.L. Moody
- George Washington
- President George W. Bush
- General George S. Patton
- Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
- Jimmy Stewart
- and others
- Plus Additional Material Specific to Each Branch of the Armed Forces
Each edition has a color-coordinated bonded leather cover with a slide-tab closure and is stamped with the insignia of that particular branch of the Armed Forces.