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state establishment of religion was unnecessary — thanks to the Bible, they could have Christianity, and a virtuous society, without Christendom.

The King James Bible became foundational to American rhetoric and literature such that it is impossible to imagine the work of the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., or William Faulkner without it. Even as its influence has declined, we often quote or echo it without even realizing it. “The great influence of the King James Version in American history,” Noll has said, “came precisely because it was so widely available; because precisely its words, and what the words communicated, had entered so deeply into the consciousness of so many Americans, and particularly of otherwise voiceless Americans.”

The God Bless the U.S.A. Bible won’t be a signal contribution to this tradition, but neither is it a betrayal of it.

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

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