Donald Trump continues as the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President. We have heard a lot about his wealth, his bravado, and in a few cases, his actual positions. But what we haven’t heard much about is his faith. Though bringing up his Presbyterian faith in the campaign, not much else is widely known about Trump’s religious heritage. This is what we know about the faith of Donald Trump, as first published in The Rushmore Report on September 30, 2015.
1. Donald Trump is a Presbyterian. In 2012, he told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, is where I went to church. I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing, and I think my religion is a wonderful religion.” Trump has also been a member of Marble Collegiate Church, a Reformed Church in America congregation that was once led by Norman Vincent Peale.
2. Trump is a collector of Bibles. In an interview with CNN, Trump said fans often send him Bibles and he keeps every one of them “in a very nice place.” He often gives these Bibles away to individuals and groups in need of Bibles. All of his public comments about Scripture, though few and far between, are positive. He calls the Bible “the Book.”
3. The Donald doesn’t actually attend church very often. When asked how often he attends, he said, “Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion.” Then he added, “I’m a Sunday church person.” But when asked where he attends, he frames his response in the past tense: “First Presbyterian is where I went to church,” he acknowledged.
4. Mr. Trump is no fan of Islam. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said there is a “Muslim problem.” He said, “I don’t notice Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center.” He opposed a mosque being built near the 9-11 site. Questioning President Obama’s birthplace, he pondered, “Maybe he’s a Muslim.” When pressed, he said there are “fabulous Muslims” in the world, but he failed to identify any.
5. Trump claims he’d be a defender of Christianity. In a May interview with CBN, he said, “I will be the greatest representatives of Christians they’ve had in a long time.” Specifically, he was talking about the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East, especially in Syria. He said Christians around the world don’t have anyone to really represent them, and complained that it is easier for Muslims to enter America than persecuted Christians.
6. He has praised well-known evangelical leaders. In 2011, Trump declared, “I recently spoke to Ralph Reed and Tony Perkins and I was really impressed. They have great reputations and I have been hearing about them for years.” He added that they were “smart people.” While Trump has famously stood on different sides of many issues, there is no evidence that he has been anti-Christian or anti-evangelical in any way.
7. Donald Trump is pro-life. On this issue, the candidate has evolved. He has a track record of supporting pro-choice candidates, but in January he stated his position as being pro-life. He credits a friend’s experience with not wanting a baby and then adoring that baby as a big reason for his shift. Similarly, he has moved toward a strong position in opposition to same-sex marriage.
8. Trump does not speak of a personal conversion experience. While he has a long record of being a church person, Mr. Trump does not speak openly of a personal relationship with Christ or a time when he became a Christian. There does not seem to be much evidence of Trump having what evangelicals would call a “born again” experience.
In conclusion, Donald Trump considers himself a Christian and is a Presbyterian. He does not seem comfortable talking about his religion or personal faith the way other candidates do, such as Cruz, Fiorina, Rubio, or Huckabee. While Trump does not seem to consult a pastor or religious leader to inform his positions, his public statements are pro-Christianity. Whether he has a dynamic, personal faith, we cannot judge. But if Mr. Trump has a personal conversion experience and a personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that is something he does not appear to be comfortable sharing with the rest of us.