Donald Trump claims to be a Presbyterian. He says his favorite book of all times is the Bible, despite the fact that he cannot recall a single verse. He is running on the GOP mantra: “God fearing, gun loving, and foreigner hating.” Well, the Presbyterian Church has had it with Trump, and is calling him out.
Within the Presbyterian Church, the Stated Clerk is the chief ecclesial officer. The Reverend Gradye Parsons is the present Stated Clerk of the General Assembly. Two days ago, Rev. Parsons issued the following letter to Trump basically calling him a religious fraud.
I am the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the denomination of the congregation in Queens, New York, where you were baptized. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) develops its policies through councils of teaching elders and ruling elders. At the national level it does that through the General Assembly. I would like to share with you the Presbyterian policies on refugees and immigrants.
Presbyterians profess a faith in Christ, whose parents were forced to flee with him to Egypt when he was an infant to save him from King Herod. Knowing our Lord was once a refugee, faithful Presbyterians have been writing church policy urging the welcome of refugees and demanding higher annual admissions into the United States since the refugee crisis of World War II. Presbyterians have a mission presence in many refugee-sending countries, including Syria and Lebanon, where we have been present since 1823. Our relationship with people of faith and communities in these countries gives us knowledge of the root causes of the flight of refugees and further cements a commitment to welcome.
Presbyterians through decades of policy have demanded humane treatment of people of all nationalities and faiths who find themselves within our borders. We have challenged our government when it neglects to acknowledge the refugee status of those fleeing persecution. We have pushed for due process at the border and we continue to petition for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented persons.
As a Presbyterian I acknowledge my immigrant ancestors and my new immigrant sisters and brothers. I also respect that we came uninvited to a land already occupied by people. This creates a sense of humility about my citizenship that shapes my views on those who seek a place here. I hope you will find this helpful. I especially hope it will inform you on your policies going forward.
The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)