President Trump made the rounds in Alabama Friday to offer support for those affected by the tornadoes that devastated the state this week, killing at least 23. Per the Washington Post, some called his visit a "godsend," but one thing he did during his trip had others scratching their heads: He signed Bibles at a Southern Baptist church in Opelika. Both the Post and the New York Times note that onlookers burst out clapping when the president put his signature on churchgoers' Good Books at their request. A clip online shows first lady Melania Trump also signing the Bibles—and both appeared to be signing them on the Bibles' covers, which others also noted online. At the end of the autograph session, the crowd started chanting, "USA! USA!" before Trump said his goodbyes.
Some were offended by the Bible signing. "It's a desecration of the Bible, for he obviously pays no attention to any of it," one Baptist minister tells the Times. An evangelical psychologist at Wheaton College tells the Post: "I've never seen anything like it." But a GOP consultant in Alabama says it's not unheard of for people to give politicians their Bibles to sign, per the Times, which notes that evangelical stars like Tim Tebow have also scrawled their own names in the pages of the Scriptures. And Peter Manseau, the Smithsonian's religious curator, tells the Post that even other presidents have done so, including Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, who reportedly signed a Bible at the request of Martin Luther King Jr.'s family. "Presidents seem to sign a lot of random things put in front of them," Manseau says. (Read more President Trump stories.)