What does Trump believe anyway?

D. C. Innes has a short piece on Donald Trump’s religious beliefs. Here’s the long and short of it. Even though Trump claims to be Presbyterian, he seems only to be a nominal Presbyterian at best. Innes writes:

So Donald Trump, the early Republican frontrunner for 2016, has come under scrutiny for his own religious beliefs. If he were an ordinary candidate, he would simply say he’s a “Presbyterian,” and that would be the end of it. But because he comes across as so arrogant, coarse, and self-absorbed, the opposite of Christian humility, people have been prying into the substance behind his boasts of religion.

He says he’s Presbyterian, but, in his own words, he’s an infrequent churchgoer: “Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion.” He attended Sunday school as a boy at a Presbyterian church in Queens. He was later affiliated with New York’s Marble Collegiate Church (Reformed Church in America), where he has fond memories of hearing Norman Vincent Peale, the celebrated author of The Power of Positive Thinking (1952). Peale’s teaching was popular because it downplayed sin and grace, focusing instead on human ability. You can imagine The Donald perking up in his pew. He seems to have little understanding of even the basics of Christianity. He takes the bread and wine because he feels “cleansed” when he does. But he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness; he just tries not to make mistakes. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right,” he said last month in Iowa. “I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

He tells crowds at campaign rallies that his best-seller, The Art of the Deal, is his “second favorite book of all time.” His first, he assures them, is the Bible. But when asked in a recent interview for his favorite passages of Scripture, Trump became uncharacteristically bashful and declined to say. He said it’s very personal, as though he were asked about his medical history or the details of his marriage bed. But it was clear that he simply didn’t know any particular verses, not even John 3:16 or Psalm 23. For evangelicals, this was his Sarah Palin moment.

Read the rest here.

12 Responses to What does Trump believe anyway?

  1. Ian Shaw September 2, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    Evangelicals who think critically would never vote for him. I understand trying to determine who he is and what he believes, but Denny, is a synopsis on what Trump believes really necessary?

    Unless you think there are masses of Christians or claim to be Christians that would believe the tripe that he says and be “foolish” enough to vote for him….. (as Trump is playing to the lowest common denominator)

    No mention of how Ben Carson has surged in the polls? He’ll never get the nomination though.

    • Chris Ryan September 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

      Apparently more Evangelicals are supporting Trump than any other candidate except Ben Carson (another odd choice for their support based on his fetal work). Jeb just about comes in dead last in support among Evangelicals which is something I don’t really get (since Evangelical support for GW Bush continues to be strong). From the PPP poll: “Evangelicals prefer Trump to Bush, Rubio, and even Scott Walker by comfortable margins. Against Carson, though, Trump trails 49/41 among that group versus 48/44 among non-evangelicals.” Throw in Huckabee and those guys have all been ‘more liberal’ than Trump on immigration.

      From the write up it looks like immigration is the hot button issue for the GOP & nothing else really matters.

      • Ian Shaw September 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

        Giving credence to the possibility that those Evangelicals surveyed don’t think critically about things.

      • Barbara Jackson September 3, 2015 at 9:24 am #

        I think Dr. Carson has been clear about his fetal work; primarily he has been doing fetal surgery to save the life of a child and is adamantly pro life. His fetal tissue work in 1992 is a little different, and the media has a hard time making the distinction that he tries to point out, which is that dead fetal tissue comes through avenues other than elective abortion and the sort of horrendous things we see going on through Stem Express and today’s marketization of it. I am reminded of a 16 week stillbirth born on an ER stretcher as a young woman and her husband came in with her miscarriage in progress, desperately hoping to save the pregnancy. Their hearts were broken, and as her nurse I got my introduction to the way a fetal death was handled in my state at the time: by filling out a fetal death certificate and placing the body into a bucket of formaldehyde to go to the state crime lab (where everyone from our area goes if they are considered a coroner’s case). Tissue samples would be taken there to determine cause of death. So there is a difference, as Dr Carson states, between what we see on those videos (not to mention the sheer callousness of that) and the normal treatment of dead tissue specimens from whatever age the cadaver may be. We do need to keep our eyes on the main thing.

  2. James Stanton September 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    Evangelicals are just as susceptible to populist demagoguery as any other group. Other candidates are or know how to sound more authentic with regards to their faith but primary voters are giving greater priority, for now, to other issues.

    • Ian Shaw September 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

      But a guy like Carson who doesn’t come across as pompous or arrogant isn’t exciting gets very little TV time. Guess the general populous doesn’t want to think critically.

  3. Johnny Mason September 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    Trump’s support has very little to do with what Trump believes. His support has more to do with the way the GOP has treated their base. Mitch McConnell is a prime example. Here is an elected official who had tremendous support from the base, who promised to fight for them, and to fight for their principles. Then the PP videos come out and the horror that they portrayed and this “man of principle”, this defender of Conservative values, this pro-life supporter will not attach a defund PP amendment to a spending bill, because he does not want to have Democrats shut down the government over their support for the butchering of babies to harvest their organs. He cannot die on that hill. He will die on the Export/Import bank hill. But, not on the hill that is so near and dear to our hearts.

    People are saying, “I vote by my principles, and nothing comes of it”. So, to hell with those principles, I’m going to vote for this bombastic guy to stick it to those traitors. Maybe then they will listen. The electorate is exasperated and tired of getting screwed over by gutless politicians. Trump is a protest vote, and the louder the GOP screams, the louder the media screams, the more support Trump is going to get.

    For the record, I do not support Trump and I will not vote for Trump.

    • Ian Shaw September 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      Precisely why millenials and especially evangelical millenials are done with Washington.

    • James Stanton September 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

      I think Republican leaders reached some deal with pro-life groups to delay any action as long as there’s a chance to control Congress and the Presidency after 2016. You may have noticed that the social conservative firestorm over PP settled down considerably. Other uncontrollable actors like Ted Cruz might have something to say about that soon.

    • Scott Shaver September 3, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      I don’t think the support for Trump can even be drawn along conservative/liberal lines. Everybody’s fed up with the “critical thinkers” and “social engineers”.

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