It was a very uncomfortable scene, that row of presidents and First Ladies. Actually, it looked quite comfortable until the current president and First Lady arrived. After that, you could cut the tension with a knife. Donald and Melania Trump looked like fish out of water in that church pew. They have been taking quite a bit of heat since the funeral because they were the only ones in that row that did not take part in the liturgy of the Apostles’ Creed. All the other presidents and First Ladies read along from their printed bulletins while the Trumps stood silently, arms folded, without looking at their papers. Many in the media have been very critical of this inaction. I don’t think we should criticize the president for this. I think it was a rare show of honesty from him.
The Apostles’ Creed is a confession of faith. It is an opportunity for Christians to stand together and publicly express their beliefs. Like the sharing of the communion sacraments, this ritual is set aside for believers. If you don’t believe, you shouldn’t participate in it because doing so would be dishonest.
To me, seeing Donald Trump opt out of this part of the service was a good thing. It’s another in a series of things that should help put to rest this sham that has set him up as the champion of the Christian Right–it should, but it won’t.
Donald Trump’s words and actions do not reflect the heart of a Christ follower, yet somehow he has conned conservative Christians into undying support. His behavior at the Bush funeral is a rare glimpse of honesty from the president with regard to his faith.There have been other signs. Who could forget his citation of “Two Corinthians“?
Several months ago, I wrote about another incident when Trump’s honesty about his faith betrayed him. In an interview at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit, then candidate Trump was asked, multiple times, if he had ever asked for God’s forgiveness. He hemmed and hawed about it, saying that was a tough question. Finally, he admitted that he didn’t think he ever had asked God to forgive him for anything. In that probably accidental bit of honesty, Donald Trump admitted that he was not a Christian, since a fundamental step in becoming a Christian is receiving forgiveness from God.
So, even though Donald Trump is leaving an unprecedented trail of dishonesty behind him, when it comes to his faith, he seems to be trying to admit something. Whether he means to or not, he has shown moments of sincere honesty about his faith, or lack of it.
The problem is, the only people who don’t see it are the ones who are having their own faith manipulated for political gain.
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