In an exclusive interview with Religion News Service, Donald Trump announced that he no longer identifies as a Presbyterian and now claims he is “non-denominational.” Here are the highlights of Jack Jenkins’s and Maina Mwaura’s story:
- Trump said “though I was confirmed at a Presbyterian church as a child, I now consider myself to be a non-denominational Christian.”
- The Religion News Service questions were “presented to the president” by court evangelical Paula White but “White House staffers said that the answers are attributable to the president.”
- RNS asked Trump if he had learned “anything spiritually from his experience of contracting COVID-19.” Trump said he “felt the prayers of Americans.”
- In the rest of the interview, Trump rattled-off the same talking points he has used at his rallies: open the churches, the court evangelicals are great, and religious freedom.
- Trump refused to answer what appeared to be tougher questions about religious groups that criticize him.
Some quick thoughts on the story.
- Trump was a Presbyterian in name only.
- I don’t think Trump has any idea what it means to be a non-denominational Christian. He probably got this language from Paula White, a prosperity preacher whose City of Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida is also designated as “non-denominational.”
- For Trump, if being a “non-denominational” Christian means White and the rest of the court evangelicals will deliver their votes to him on November 3rd he will happily embrace the label.