PC(USA) Stated Clerk responds to questions on Trump’s membership

December 11, 2015


It is a fact that Donald Trump was baptized in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). However, there is no factual evidence that Mr. Trump currently holds membership in any local congregation. Therefore, the discipline process that would be necessary to remove him from membership is not applicable.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has already addressed Mr. Trump’s statements about Muslims and Syrian refugees in an open letter to him. We continue to advocate for a gracious welcome to families fleeing violence in their homeland. We continue to urge all Presbyterian congregations to work to host families and advocate with their governors to not put roadblocks in the way of these families.

To learn more about the PC(USA)’s policies on immigration and refugees, visit www.pcusa.org/immigration.

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  1. As a person that grew up in the Presbyterian Church (United Presbyterian) later PCUSA, I find it highly offensive that Donald Trump even associates himself with being a good Presbyterian. His behavior is Un Christian and the Pope was spot on" about this a long time ago. Perhaps the PCUSA should place a public announcement renouncing and rebuking his behavior. It is giving the denomination not a very good name. Something to ponder.

    by Joseph Edwards

    August 3, 2016

  2. @Todd Capitano. Refer to your Book of Order for the information you desire. It is not shocking that a call to discipline could be entertained in light of the diatribes against immigrants, refugees, Mexicans, women, the disabled and the like he has uttered since announcing his candidacy. He is the one who made these statements public. But since he is not a Presbyterian, the point is moot.

    by Lisa Wright

    June 22, 2016

  3. I read this as a technical answer, only. The Stated Clerk is not stating either way whether Mr. Trump has behaved in a way that would warrant discipline. All he is saying is that Mr. Trump is not a Presbyterian and so the question is not germane. Along the same lines, if someone were to ask "should Prince Charles lose his U.S. citizenship because he engaged in such-and-such" the correct answer would be "Prince Charles is not a U.S. citizen." Such an answer does not suggest that Prince Charles hypothetically might lose his citizenship if he had it; it only says that there is no point in discussing the matter. The same is true here. I don't think anyone is trying to censor speech or thought here; at least, I don't read it this way.

    by Andy Poe

    December 27, 2015

  4. I am interested in sponsoring Christians from the middle east seeking asylum. Can anyone direct me in the proper direction? My wife and I have a six bedroom house, children are grown and gone, we are blessed with adequate financial means and would be happy to have a family stay with us as long as necessary. I particularly need guidance regarding visas, work visas, etc.. Can anyone suggest where I should go? The State department is useless, Homeland Security is useless. My Congressman's office attempted to wade through the bureaucracy but I haven't heard boo for six months. Too much talk and not enough action.

    by William Strinden MD

    December 26, 2015

  5. The church is in fact largely concerned with and involved in political matters at the expense of religious....I think many believe, justified lay, that this, among other errors in focus and doctrine we and the rest of the so-called mainstream Protestant faiths have committed over the past decades, accounts for the drastic membership declines in our denomination and and those others

    by Phillip anderson

    December 20, 2015

  6. This is in response to Jason Lundquist's question. I am assuming that questions have been directed to the Stated Clerk inquiring if Mr. Trump is espousing a position which is contrary to the statements of the PC(USA), an therefore might be subject to discipline. The Clerks response is that since Mr. Trump does not seem to be a professing member, he has not taken vows to uphold the teachings of the PC(USA), Were he a member, then a disciplinary process might be initiated.

    by Robert Adams

    December 16, 2015

  7. I've served as a prosecutor in the PCA which is a sister denomination of the PCUSA. Since Mr. Trump apparently lied about being a Presbyterian no court has jurisdiction. If he was the standard is whether a member's behavior is in keeping with a credible profession of faith. Excommunication is a ministerial and declarative judgment by the church that someone is not a believer. The OPC excommunicated the Christian Terrorist Paul Hill when he justified killing abortion providers on Phil Donahue. So, yes, you can be kicked out merely for making statements. In my opinion there is sufficient public evidence to have started judicial process and commence a trial for Mr. Trump if he had been a member. Since he apparently is not the Stated Clerk has the last word.

    by Rich Blinne

    December 12, 2015

  8. I am trying very hard to understand the Stated Clerk. If Trump were a memeber of a congregation would he be removed or would there be an attempt to remove him? Will members or officers who support him be removed?

    by Jason Lundquist

    December 12, 2015

  9. First, it is our polity that "which sins" warrant discipline is a matter for each council to decide for itself. So the council to which one is responsible sets the boundaries. That there are sins that warrant discipline is a given. Discipline, along with the proclamation of the Word and celebration of the sacraments, is one 9f the historic "marks of the true Kirk." That we may be more concerned with Mr. Trump than other atrocities is first because Trump is claiming association with us, and second because he is running to be our President. Do we "censor" what people may say or think? Certainly there are boundaries. For example, one may not disclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ and continue in membership. Is that "censorship"?

    by Richard Hong

    December 11, 2015

  10. When terrorists slaughter, numerous articles here counsel forgiveness, tolerance and understanding rather than anger. As Christians are driven from their homeland of two millennia--or murdered--there is only the occasional, careful word of protest. But Donald Trump's bluster? THAT bring full-throated reprobation and anathema. The PCUSA welcomes you--so long as you are progressive.

    by Allan Gray

    December 11, 2015

  11. Mr. Ratliff, the PCUSA is not embroiled in the politics surrounding DJ Trump. In fact, the Stated Clerk is clarifying that there is no disciplinary process available. He is also pointing to the long time positions of the Presbyterian church relative to refugees, which are Biblically based. If Mr. Trump finds himself convicted by that Biblical stance, because of his stated views on refugees, then that is of Mr. Trump's doing, not the denomination's.

    by Jonathan Ratliff

    December 11, 2015

  12. Yes, Mr. Ratliff, the church is "embroiled" in politics to the extent that our nation's political discourse has evolved to include issues that are crossovers for many Christians. For example, is it possible to worship the Prince of Peace while armed in the sanctuary of one's church? Are we obligated to confront government actions that we believe fly in the face of our corporate beliefs? As for a discussion of removing someone, "because you do not agree with them," my perception as a sitting elder in the PC/USA is that there are folks who sometimes find Mr. Trump's statements antithetical to the basic tenets of the Church....indeed, to Christianity. They are within their rights to ask about the process for his removal. That is not to say that it would be achieved, but they are free to ask. It is certainly no more bold than Mr. Trump's rhetoric, I would say.

    by Mickie Frazier-Koontz

    December 11, 2015

  13. I could not agree more with Mr. Ratliff. It is shocking that such a notion would be entertained. But if it will be in the future, please let us know which sins call for removal from membership and which do not.

    by Todd Capitano

    December 11, 2015

  14. Is the PC(USA) now so embroiled in politics that it will try to dictate or censor what people can think and say? How would you even consider and respond to such a request? Remove someone because you do not agree with them? Wow, just, wow!

    by Jonathan Ratliff

    December 11, 2015