In Defense of Trump on the Apostles Creed

Trump creed

Patrick Nugent, a self-described “liberal evangelical” in the Quaker tradition, thinks Trump did the right thing by not reciting the Apostles Creed at the George H.W. Bush funeral.  Here is a taste of his piece at The Washington Post:

The Apostles’ Creed is not just a prayer one can or should recite out of courtesy for the sake of show, good manners or good taste.

The Creed — or any Christian creed — is a statement of belief and a public commitment to very specific, carefully enumerated theological doctrines. It is not a bland, generic greeting-card prayer addressing an impersonal creator, a “force,” “the universe” or “the spirit of goodness” that could conceivably be uttered by anybody of any religious perspective or none at all.

I admit entirely that the Trumps’ abstention could well have been motivated by cluelessness, inattention, bad taste, bad manners, unfamiliarity, distraction or any number of other things. But the bottom line is that they abstained from reciting aloud, in public, a personal commitment to the truth of very specific, classic, ancient Christian doctrines.

The president participated in a public ceremony in his capacity as head of state, not as a Presbyterian (which is how he has identified himself). As such, he has no obligation to declare those theological truths, or any others, aloud in public. In fact, I’d suggest, he has an obligation not to do so if he disagrees with any of them, or all of them, or doesn’t especially care, or isn’t sure, or doesn’t understand — or just thinks the president should be theologically neutral in public.

Read the entire piece here.  What do you think?

Frankly, I think Nugent thinks more highly about Trump’s theological and ecclesiastical astuteness than I  do.

6 thoughts on “In Defense of Trump on the Apostles Creed

  1. With respect, I didn’t say Trump did the right thing by not saying the creed. I said that the media and the rest of us did the wrong thing by judging him for not saying it.

    Also, the term “liberal evangelical” was coined by my editor. I said I’m an evangelical Christian who’s also a liberal Democrat. So the term is not really inaccurate but I’m not “self-described” as such.

    Nonetheless thanks for picking up the piece and for the discussion here. “Acts of Faith” in the Post is wide open to all kinds of authors. I encourage you to submit your own, on a topic if your own interest.


  2. I think in some ways the support many evangelical leaders give Donald Trump amounts to being unequally yoked.
    In such cases unless the unbeliever in the partnership has a drastic change quickly virtually always they have a negative effect on the believer. Hence the warning in scripture which these leaders must know about.
    It would not surprise me if most of them had warned people about it themselves when counseling people contemplating marriage. Maybe in other applications as well.
    I guess they think they are so high in the ranks it would not work the same on themselves.


  3. I am not a Trump supporter. I find him to be egregious, vulgar, bigoted, self-seeking, ignorant, and really uncaring with respect to those things over which he puts on a display (i.e., veterans’s issues, patriotism).
    Nevertheless he is entitled to his religious belief or non belief.
    I don’t subscribe to any Christian creed myself, thus I won’t utter one either in private or public.


  4. “We have been led to believe that he is a Christian.” Peter, respectfully, why would we rely upon what someone like Jerry Falwell, Jr. says about Trump’s Christianity? He has no special insight. I take almost nothing he — or any of the usual suspects — says about Trump seriously. Appealing to the positional “authority” of so-called Court Evangelicals does not provide a basis to assert that the President should have recited the Creed. There may be any number of valid reasons why he should have done so (I find this to be another yawn-inducing “Gotcha” triviality), but uncritically accepting third party salvific assurances in order to mandate a public statement of faith is not among them.


  5. First off, the Creed is not a prayer.
    Secondly, whether he is there as the Head of State or not we have been led to believe he is a Christian, not by his own words but by the Court Evangelicals, so there should be no reason why he would not publicly state his belief.
    Sure, we might be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it just flies in the face of everything that we have been told by the inner circle about his Christianity. He professes to be a Presbyterian and as such he should be reciting the creed.


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