Is Donald Trump actually a Christian? You may find it unseemly to question the authenticity of Trump’s professed faith. However, this question preoccupies a lot of evangelical leaders in this country. Donald Trump says he is a Christian.
In an attempt to further drive the point they are hoping to craft, the authors quote more of Trump’s controversial comments, in which he replied to Luntz’s request for clarification on his relationship with God:
I think God helped me…God helped me by giving me a certain brain, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing…I went through phenomenal school, the Wharton School of Finance, which is said to be the greatest business school in the world. I did really well there. I was a great student. So, I mean, I was born with a certain intellect that is good for this.
Trump is not simply an ally, but a true Christian leader
Start with his inauguration ceremony. Pastor Paula White was one of the clergy nominated to pray for Trump on the day. A televangelist and exponent of the “health, wealth and prosperity” movement, she preaches the “prosperity gospel”, an unorthodox approach to Christianity that says God wants people to be rich, and that he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing. So the richer you are, the more obvious it is that God loves you, and the stronger your faith is.
White teaches that God rewards “faithful” people who invest in His promised providence. You invest by making deposits – faith, prayers and gifts of money – to God (the church, naturally, is the “steward” of your financial gifts). So if you want to be healthy and wealthy, all you need to do is give, and then believe, and all your heart’s desires will be realised. The more you invest, the greater the likely rewards.
Others chosen by Trump to pray at his inauguration include the conservative Catholic cardinal Timothy Dolan (who is outspoken on pro-life issues) and the Rev Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham. It was Graham who told millions of America’s evangelicals that they could vote for Trump with a clear conscience since Trump was comparable to the ancient Persian ruler Cyrus, mentioned in the Old Testament.
Framing a Christian nation
On the campaign trail, Trump often trumpeted support for framing the United States as a Christian nation, staking out an issue that resonates with the same people who supported Judge Roy Moore's refusal to take down his hand-made plaque of the Ten Commandments in his Etowah County courtroom, and later his refusal as chief justice to remove a 2.6-ton monument of the commandments he had installed in the state judicial building. Many evangelical Christians also yearn for the return of Christian prayer to public schools. It was banned in a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
In 2016 at the Family Research Council Values Voter Summit, Trump sounded that theme. "A Trump administration, our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended, like you've never seen before. Believe me. I believe it. And you believe it. And you know it. You know it."
Donald Trump says he is a Christian. I accept his belief.