President Donald Trump has declared that he no longer identifies as a Presbyterian and now considers himself to be a non-denominational Christian.
Trump revealed his change in religious identity in a written response to Religious News Service (RNS).
“Though I was confirmed at a Presbyterian church as a child, I now consider myself to be a nondenominational Christian,” Trump wrote. He added that his parents instilled “the importance of faith and prayer from a young age.”
The president and first lady, who tested positive for COVID-19 in early October, attributed their speedy recovery to God.
“I said, ‘There were miracles coming down from heaven.’ I meant it – Melania and I are very thankful to God for looking out for our family and re-turning us to good health,” he wrote.
Trump said it’s an honor to know multiple evangelists and faith leaders such as Franklin Graham and Paula White, who have been influential throughout his presidency.
“These amazing people love the U.S.A. and have a genuine desire to work together for the betterment of all Americans,” he said. “These leaders are passionate about America’s traditional values and want our churches to be open. I appreciate their prayers and am encouraged by their great faith.”
President Trump also emphasized the importance of religious freedom and his support for Christians who have been persecuted.
“I brought Pastor Andrew Brunson home from a prison in Turkey,” Trump noted. “I sanctioned the communists and socialists in Cuba and Venezuela because they don’t respect religious freedom. My State Department held the largest human rights event in history several years in a row during which I hosted multiple survivors of religious persecution in the Oval Office.
“Last year, I was proud to become the first United States President to host a meeting at the United Nations on protecting religious freedom around the world,” he added. “My Administration has protected religious freedom worldwide by increasing funding for programs that aid persecuted religious communities.”
Though it’s scarcely mentioned in the RNS article, the president highlighted the positive results from the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative that he signed in May 2018.
“The White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative serves as the front door for the faith community. Led by Pastor Paula White, this Initiative is working to remove barriers which have unfairly prevented faith-based organizations from working with or receiving funding from the federal government. I am very proud of the work we have done to safeguard American values and to protect our great First Amendment.”