MUSCATINE, Iowa — Whether or not he was aware that it was not the same branch of Presbyterianism he claims to follow, Donald Trump obtained a lesson in “humility” during a reading at a “gay-affirming” Presbyterian USA congregation on Sunday, followed by a sermon from a woman pastor that included talk on welcoming refugees.
“We talked about humility in church today,” Trump told reporters following the service at First Presbyterian Church of Muscatine (PCUSA), which he visited prior to a campaign rally in the city, just days before the Iowa Caucus. “I don’t know if that was aimed at me. Perhaps.”
The reading was from 1 Corinthians 12, and was delivered by a female member of the congregation.
“I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are part of,” she stated in speaking on the passage.
“Can you imagine eye telling hand, ‘Get lost; I don’t need you?’ Or, head telling foot, ‘You’re fired; your job has been phased out?’” the woman said. Trump is known for his “You’re fired” line on “The Apprentice.”
‘‘I heard that,’’ Trump told reporters. ‘‘I wondered if that was for me. They didn’t even know I was coming, so I doubt it. But it’s an appropriate phrase. … Perhaps she had something in mind.”
“I have more humility than people think,” he asserted.
The congregation’s minister, Pamela Saturnia, also delivered a message during the service, during which she contended that “Syrian refugees and Mexican migrants” should be welcomed by the nation and not shut out.
‘‘Jesus is teaching us today that he has come for those who are outside of the church,’’ she said. “[T]hose who are the most unloved, the most discriminated against, the most forgotten in our community and in our world.’’
Trump said that he heard Saturnia’s words, but still believes that Syrians should be cared for in their own country.
“I can only tell you that I want to take care of all people but with Syrians, we just can’t do it here. But I do want to build a safe zone [in Syria],” he stated. “We should have done that a long time ago.”
In addition to listening to the messages, Trump joined in the singing of hymns as the woman next to him put her arm around him.
As previously reported, Trump has stated numerous times over the past year that he identifies as Presbyterian.
“I am a religious person. People are so shocked when they find this out—I’m Protestant. I’m Presbyterian,” he said during the Iowa Family Leadership Summit last July, stating that his pastor was the late Norman Vincent Peale, who became known for his books and speeches on “the power of positive thinking.”
Peale led Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, which is actually not Presbyterian, but according to its website is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America (RCA).
There are two groups of Presbyterians: the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) and the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA). The PCA separated from PCUSA in the 1970’s due to “opposition to the long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.”
As previously reported, last year, the leadership of PCUSA voted to redefine marriage and allow ministers to officiate same-sex ceremonies. PCUSA congregations are also generally pro-abortion.
PCA as a denomination affirms the biblical definition of marriage and the sanctity of human life.