And now for something completely different: A Defense of Donald Trump's Religion.
Not only is he being faulted for not spouting Bible verses -- don't we usually mock all those holier-than-thou people who do quote the Bible from memory? -- but also for claiming he attends Marble Collegiate Church, while self-identifying as a "Presbyterian" -- which I guess is supposed to suggest that he's a hypocrite.
I hate to be too nit-picky about people being too nit-picky, but there's really that big a difference between those two? Here's what my computer's dictionary says about Presbyterianism:
Presbyterianism was first introduced in Geneva in 1541 under John Calvin, in the belief that it best represented the pattern of the early church. There are now many Presbyterian Churches (often called Reformed Churches) worldwide, notably in the Netherlands and Scotland and in countries with which they have historic links (including the U.S. and Northern Ireland).And here's what Wikipedia says about Manhattan's Marble Collegiate Church:
The church congregation was founded in 1628 as the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church and was affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church, a Calvinist church in the Netherlands.Notice that Calvin connection? These two coulda been twins, separated at birth.
It should also be noted that Jackie Kennedy, without any such controversy, enrolled her son, John Jr., in the Collegiate School, the Marble Collegiate Church's affiliated prep school on New York's West 77th street, even though they both were, to the best of my knowledge, not technically Dutch Reform Protestants.
I was baptized in the mid-1940s in the Congregational church on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset, Long Island (Manhasset, by the way, I think is still Bill O'Reilly's hometown), which I guess made me a tiny little devout Congregationalist, although I remember over the years my family attending plenty of churches of other protestant denominations, including Methodist and Lutheran and Presbyterian. In fact, living in the New York City area gave us a chance to attend that same Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue, mostly just to see and hear its minister, my dad's hero, Norman Vincent Peale, of "Power of Positive Thinking" fame -- a jolly nice man, I thought, but who said things that made no sense to me. And for one semester of my 5th grade, I was sent to a "high" Episcopal school, which probably had the effect of helping to finally turn me into an agnostic, which I remain to this day.
But even as an agnostic, I still believe in the freedom of religious belief, which I figure covers not only Lutherans who didn't want to be forced into being Catholics, or the other way around, but also atheists and agnostics who didn't want to be Christians -- and yes, also the other way around. And a part of this belief is respecting boundaries: Unless someone's calling your faith into question, don't go questioning his. Sort of like the Golden Rule.
I guess what annoys me about the religiosity of politicians is not only their habit of pushing it in our faces, but also their insistence that everyone share their belief system. At this point, I don't see Trump doing this, especially not to the extent that other Republicans do, and so I can't -- at least not yet -- fault him for how he's using religion in his campaign.
This, of course, should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Donald Trump, who's personal closely-held religious beliefs I think need to be respected by all of us, even as, in most other matters, he is still a stinking pile of shit.