August 23, 2017
Presbyterian Church To Donald Trump: 'You're Fired'

In the wake of Donald Trump's incendiary comments about barring Muslims entry into the U.S., there has been a growing tide of organizations and individuals seeking to cut ties with the real estate tycoon and presidential hopeful. The latest organization to attempt to cut ties with "The Donald" is none other than Rutgers Presbyterian, a church which is part of the Christian denomination claimed by Donald Trump.

According to the progressive publication Thinkprogress, Donald Trump's consistent claims to be a member of the Queens Presbytery has been a source of considerable embarrassment and discomfort to the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. It is well known that the denomination has publicly come out in support of gay marriage and other liberal policies. Additionally, the church as a whole has publicly committed to assisting the proposed intake of Syrian refugees. Both of these positions are directly opposed to Donald Trump's positions and statements.

The church issued a statement Wednesday denouncing Trump's comments as un-Christian and inconsistent with the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. They also announced their intention to attempt to expel Donald Trump from the Presbyterian faith. Presbyterians have a mechanism for expulsion that is similar to the Catholic practice of excommunication. An entity or individual within the church can make a complaint against a member which leads to judicial proceedings. Depending on the outcome of these proceedings, the member may then be expelled from the church. This would effectively mean that Trump would no longer have access to church services and sacraments, and would also put paid to any connection Donald Trump's campaign might seek to establish with the Presbyterian denomination.

Donald Trump Presbyterian
The Presbyterian Church espouses largely liberal values. [Image via Facebook]The excommunication attempt, however, might end up being largely symbolic. A major procedural problem facing any attempt to expel Donald Trump from the church would be the fact that there seems to be no record of Trump as an active member. According to CNN, the church Donald Trump claims to be a member of has been unable to confirm that the real estate mogul continues to be an active participant. While they can confirm Trump's baptism and confirmation, and the baptism of one of his children, there is nothing to indicate that his association with the church is anything but historical. It is not possible for the Presbyterian Church to expel any but active members of the congregation.

It is still, however, possible for the Presbyterians to speak out in condemnation against anything they consider to be counter to their beliefs and teachings, and it seems that Rutgers Presbyterian's announcement is at least, in part, aiming to do just that. Rutgers Presbyterian is part of the same parishional division, or Presbytery, as the Jamaica Queens church which Trump claims as his first congregation.

Donald Trump Presbyterian
Despite growing outcry from organisations and celebrities, Trump's popular appeal remains strong. [Photo by Getty Images/Ty Wright]Despite the growing number of celebrities, businesses, business groups and thought leaders who are publicly severing all connection with the controversial candidate, it would seem that his latest anti-Muslim comments have actually resulted in more favorable polling statistics for the Trump campaign. According to the New York Times, the latest poll putting Trump at 35 percent was taken across the period immediately before and after his anti-Muslim statements on Monday. While the poll was "mostly" conducted before the statements, it is consistent with the Trump campaign's performance thus far that his seemingly outrageous statements enhance, rather than reduce his popular appeal. This is a cause of major concern to many analysts, who view this as a dangerously widening gulf between thought leaders, mainstream politics and the people of the United States.

[Photo by Getty Images/Ty Wright]