Early Monday morning, President Donald Trump posted a tweet supporting the teaching of the Bible in public schools. One faith leader who has known Trump for years believes this is all a crock.
"Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Starting to make a turn back? Great!"
Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1548681675.0
According to Trump's former pastor, however, the president has never before expressed interest in practicing his faith.
@realDonaldTrump's pastor for 5 years @MarbleChurch," Pastor David Lewicki tweeted on Wednesday. "I assure you, he had the 'option' to come to Bible study. He never "opted" in. Nor did he ever actually enter the church doors. Not one time."
I was @realDonaldTrump's pastor for 5 years @MarbleChurch. I assure you, he had the "option" to come to Bible study… https://t.co/2V4Z7txURI— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548765594.0
Lewicki implied that Trump is a hypocrite, tweeting a quote by Edmund Burke: "Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing."
"Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing." -Edmund Burke— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548765594.0
Trump used to be "on the membership roll" at Marble Collegiate Church in Chelsea, Lewicki said. "None of us ever saw him," Lewicki explained. "Based on other evidence, I'll bet he never gave a dime, either. My distrust of him goes back a long way."
@MichaelRWeis @MattGallagher0 @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch for realz... he was on the membership roll... I was an… https://t.co/2puREqqM8K— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548772298.0
Lewicki correctly stated that Trump "had one of his weddings" at Marble Church. Trump tied the knot with his first wife Ivana at Marble Church in 1977. Trump's second wife, actress Marla Maples, was also a member of the church.
@wanderingyankee @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch he had one of his weddings there... his dad was a big Norman Vincen… https://t.co/JrL7usGEYu— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548772597.0
Naturally, Trump's defenders wasted no time trying to poke holes in Lewicki's account.
"Never been a fan of pastors who criticize their congregation for not showing up regardless of who it is," one person complained. Lewicki said members have a duty to their church, which Trump failed to live up to.
"Members have a responsibility to a) show up, b) contribute, or 3) volunteer," Lewicki replied. "I won’t criticize anyone for deciding Christianity isn’t for them... unless you then go around talking about how important faith is. Then, you’ve opened yourself to your former pastor holding a mirror."
@p_mcmanis @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch Members have a responsibility to a) show up, b) contribute, or 3) volunte… https://t.co/YXacj7rTGc— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548810350.0
Another person suggested that Lewicki was lying. Lewicki's response was that it is "tough to have a personal pastoral relationship with someone who doesn’t care at all about God or the church."
@hooker_woodbury @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch My experience is that it’s tough to have a personal pastoral relati… https://t.co/3QRSEl0ILz— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548809970.0
Lewicki also shot down an accusation that his intent is to publicly shame Trump. This is about "calling a person to accountability," Lewicki said.
@nagle_danielle @chabus_joseph @dlewicki @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch The Bible clearly dictates how we should co… https://t.co/4kaADQCSZ8— Sam King (@Sam King) 1548803198.0
@dlewicki @nagle_danielle @chabus_joseph @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch I do apologize for the assumption, I'm stil… https://t.co/5L9KYmXigq— Sam King (@Sam King) 1548811130.0
@SamKing7185 @nagle_danielle @chabus_joseph @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch Matthew 18 is the subject of a lot of di… https://t.co/3NrbFhkskq— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548812452.0
The New York Times reported in 2016 that Trump had a decades-long, and fuzzy, relationship with Marble Church.
Trump "attended its Sunday services for almost 50 years, but says he does not know if he ever formally joined the church," the Times wrote. "He describes himself as a Presbyterian, but Marble is not a Presbyterian church — it is part of the Reformed Church in America, a separate denomination that traces its beginnings to 1628 and the first ordained minister in New Amsterdam, as New York was then known."
The Times also found that despite his regular attendance, Trump never expressed any religious beliefs. Trump, like his father Fred, was a huge fan of the church's preacher-turned-best selling author, Reverend Norman Vincent Peale.
Peale was “a great preacher and a great public speaker,” Trump said in 2016. “You always, when the service was over, you said, ‘I’d have sat there for another hour,’” Trump told the Times. “There aren’t too many people like that. It wasn’t the speaking ability, it was the thought process.”
As the comments on his Twitter feed accumulated, Lewicki said it feels "nice to get some attention on Twitter. But not this much."
@rlbrashear It’s nice to get some attention on Twitter. But not this much.— David Lewicki (@David Lewicki) 1548789409.0
Trump? A devout Christian? Twitter has its doubts.
Many feel gunning for Biblical eduation in public schools is just another Trump grift.
@dlewicki @hemantmehta @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch Atheist here (former fundamentalist Christian) — it sickens m… https://t.co/GX5y7gm0ar— FrancisVGaboury (@FrancisVGaboury) 1548826840.0
@dlewicki @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch Anyone still wondering why Trump all of a sudden announced his support for… https://t.co/OVxgP4uZd8— Serge Duss (@Serge Duss) 1548791112.0
@dlewicki @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch @realDonaldTrump is not a #Christian - he is a pretender to the idea that… https://t.co/2VI382JuXI— Calamum In Gladio (@Calamum In Gladio) 1548850815.0
@dlewicki @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch I’d be surprised if he actually opened the Bible. Double points for actual… https://t.co/qw5pVJBQkJ— Inspiredpom (@Inspiredpom) 1548793914.0
@SharonH19513455 @dlewicki @DavidCornDC @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch No one is better at the Bible, understanding… https://t.co/1RhTyhj7mX— Bobbie G. (@Bobbie G.) 1548862069.0
As for why Trump all of a sudden wants Christianity taught in public schools, there's likely a simple explanation: he got the idea from Fox News.
The segment below aired a few minutes before Trump tweeted.
Fox guest and NC state legislator defends a bill he co-sponsored to allow Bible classes in public school: “There’s… https://t.co/2bT3QSPUOu— Bobby Lewis (@Bobby Lewis) 1548682433.0
@dlewicki @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch To be fair, he only tweeted this because it came on Fox a few minutes earl… https://t.co/ogSScgRBEU— Jessie Raymond (@Jessie Raymond) 1548850494.0
@dlewicki @realDonaldTrump @MarbleChurch He was just repeating what was on Fox and Friends. Which he does quite oft… https://t.co/4yAR79fXPG— Gordana Govic (@Gordana Govic) 1548856401.0