President Trump, who has allied himself closely with evangelicals but spoken little of his personal faith, released a new statement of his religious identification.
Having been confirmed into the Presbyterian Church as a child, Donald Trump now says that he identifies as a “non-denominational” Christian.
In an interview with Religion News Service, the President, who is polling strongly with US evangelicals ahead of the election, said he was taught about “the importance of faith and prayer from a young age” by his parents.
However, having had a long-standing affiliation with the Presbyterian Church, he now prefers to be classed as a non-denominational, along with many of the evangelicals who support him.
“Though I was confirmed at a Presbyterian church as a child, I now consider myself to be a non-denominational Christian,” he confirmed in the interview.
Trump went on to say that “Melania and I have gotten to visit some amazing churches and meet with great faith leaders from around the world. During the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, I tuned into several virtual church services and know that millions of Americans did the same.”
Trump also reiterated his belief that God was intimately involved in his personal recovery from the virus.
Asked whether he learned anything spiritually from his experience of contracting COVID-19, Trump responded that he and Melania “felt the prayers of Americans from all across the country — and even around the world” when he was recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“I said, ‘There were miracles coming down from heaven.’ I meant it,” he said. “Melania and I are very thankful to God for looking out for our family and returning us to good health.”
Trump praised the faith of his influential evangelical supporters, and said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of his father Billy’s evangelistic organization and of the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, had visited the Oval Office to pray for him earlier this month.
“These amazing people love the U.S.A. and have a genuine desire to work together for the betterment of all Americans,” Trump said. “I appreciate their prayers and am encouraged by their great faith.”
Trump pointed to his administration’s successful negotiation two years ago to return American pastor Andrew Brunson to the U.S. after he was imprisoned in Turkey.
The president then gave a wide-ranging account of what he said was his administration’s commitment to religious freedom, including sanctioning Cuba and Venezuela “because they don’t respect religious freedom,” and touting the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, held in 2018 and 2019, as “the largest human rights event in history.”
Trump also recalled the event on religious freedom he hosted during last September’s United Nations General Assembly in New York. “In my speech, I reminded the world’s leaders that our rights do not come from government, they come from God — and I explicitly called upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution,” he wrote.
“I followed that event with an Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom,” he continued, “that solidified America’s own commitment to this critical issue, by naming it as a foreign policy priority of the United States and promising that we will respect and vigorously promote this freedom.”
First lady Melania Trump revealed she was Catholic in 2017 after meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. “Today’s visit with His Holiness Pope Francis @Pontifex is one I’ll never forget. I was humbled by the honor. Blessings to all,” the first lady said after the meeting on social media.
Barron Trump, the youngest child of the first family, was baptized as a child in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal church. The 14-year-old Trump attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, which is located in Potomac, Maryland.
President Trump also made remarks at a recent rally that Jesus Christ is more famous than him, in reply to someone who said that Trump was the most famous person in the world. He also pointed upward and said “We need help from the Boss!” (see video below)
President Trump has a loyal base among white evangelicals, who in 2016 helped propel him to victory.
That year, the religious group made up roughly a quarter of the electorate, and 81 percent of them voted for Trump, according to a report by The Washington Post.
A recent Lifeway Research poll found that more than half of US protestant pastors (53%) are set to vote for Trump in the November 3 election, which represents a significantly higher level of support in comparison to this point during the 2016 presidential race. Just 1 in 5 (21%) of those surveyed said they will vote for Trump’s Democratic rival and former Vice President, Joe Biden, who identifies as a Catholic.