“I’m not aware of any Presbyterians who don’t say that. As far as I know most interpretations say it on a regular basis.” – Pastor Donald R. Frampton on the Apostle’s Creed, St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church
In many circles, protestant and Catholic, the Apostle’s Creed is an important part of their devotion, managing to summarize much of the New Testaments views of Jesus Christ succinctly:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
But yesterday, when the time came to recite the Apostle’s Creed during the funeral services for former President George H. W. Bush held at Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC., Trump seemed to be a fish out of water. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton (a Southern Baptist), and Barack Obama (a practicing Christian) all recited the Creed (which was printed on the funeral programs) when the time came. President Trump was notable in his silence.
Trump’s peculiar behavior has been making the news lately. In a recent incident he during the G20 summit, he was supposed to stand still for a photo up with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. Instead, after a brief handshake, President Trump wandered off, with staff chasing after him. He was caught on a hot mic, saying, “Get me outta here.”
But this time his behavior happened during a more solemn occasion. Trump managed to, through his peculiar behavior, very briefly take away focus from an event and make it about himself.
Some on Facebook have suggested that the reason for his silence might be his Presbyterian faith, with one person writing, “Many Presbyterians do not recite this creed for numerous reasons. One, it states ‘I believe in the holy Catholic Church’ and two, Presbyterian belief states that there is ‘no creed but Christ.” However, after speaking to staff at the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, and pastor Frampton at St. Charles Avenue’s Presbyterian Church, there is no indication that is the case.
People on Twitter also noticed Trump’s odd behavior:
Striking that all the former Presidents and First Ladies recited the Apostles Creed, but Trump and Melania stood silently and did not. The creeds are at the heart of historic orthodox Christianity
— Jon Ward (@jonward11) December 5, 2018
Are you telling me the so-called "Muslim" president knew all the words to the Apostles’ Creed, but the 'Christian Conservative' President, did not?https://t.co/4RJCjomBSA
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) December 5, 2018
Hey @Franklin_Graham here’s your “evangelical president” NOT reciting the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral of your father’s friend. Maybe he thinks it’s the name of the next movie with Stallone and Michael B. Jordan. https://t.co/S1XeqCkgl4
— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) December 6, 2018
Whether Trump was seeking out attention or not, it was only a brief distraction. The eulogized accomplishments of the former President shone through, showing a deep contrast between President George H. W. Bush, and President Donald Trump, a man who refused to lift a piece of paper and respectfully read.
Michael David Raso has worked as a writer, editor, and journalist for several different publications since graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. If you like this piece, you can read more of his work here.