The Bible has been used to promote peace, understanding and compassion in the world. But the very same scriptures have also been used in the past to justify evil.
As someone who was raised Christian, author J.K. Rowling is familiar with the ways that this ancient holy text can be used and abused. So when a close evangelical Christian advisor to President Donald Trump appeared to misuse the Bible, Rowling was quick to call it out on Twitter.
The retort put Trump and one of his religious advisors, megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, on blast.
J.K. Rowling pointed out that the Bible can be twisted to serve evil purposes, quoting a passage from William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”
The quote has been retweeted more than 19,000 times.
On Tuesday, Trump promised to respond to North Korea with “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States. The statement escalated tensions between the two countries, raising alarm about the possibility of a military conflict over the North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Soon after Trump’s statement, Robert Jeffress, a longtime supporter, told the Christian Broadcasting Network that he believed it was the president’s God-given right to “use whatever means necessary” to stop North Korea.
He referred to Romans 13, a passage in the Bible that advises the early church to submit to governing authorities. The text suggests that submission is required because these rulers are God’s ministers, avengers who are divinely appointed “to execute wrath” on those who practice evil.
“When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un,” Jeffress told CBN.
Rowling has been harshly critical of Trump and his policies in the past ― calling the president out repeatedly as a liar and mocking his mannerisms.
She received some backlash herself in July after mistakenly accusing Trump of refusing to shake the hand of a disabled boy.
Rowling later apologised to the family of the boy, but didn’t offer the same apology to the president.