Scott Black Johnston and Patrick O'Connor, Two Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Pastors Whose Congregations Have Ties to the Trump Family, Met with the President for 20 Minutes Days before His Inauguration

The Christian Century, February 15, 2017 | Go to article overview

Scott Black Johnston and Patrick O'Connor, Two Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Pastors Whose Congregations Have Ties to the Trump Family, Met with the President for 20 Minutes Days before His Inauguration


Scott Black Johnston (above left) and Patrick O'Connor, two Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastors whose congregations have ties to the Trump family, met with the president for 20 minutes days before his inauguration.

O'Connor is the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, where Donald Trump was baptized and confirmed. At his inauguration, Trump took the oath of office "on the Lincoln Bible and on the Bible his mother gave him when he graduated from the First Jamaica Sunday Church School in 1955," Johnston wrote in a public letter. Johnston's family was part of the same congregation in Queens, and he now serves Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan--"whose steeple the Trump family can see from their windows," Johnston noted.

"We believe we had a responsibility, as Christians, to offer prayer and honest counsel," Johnston wrote of the two pastors' offer to meet with Trump, which he accepted.

Johnston and O'Connor wrote in a commentary for CNN: "Some will criticize our visit. Some worry that we will be 'used.' But our worry, and the reason we wrote to Mr. Trump in the first place, is that the people who will interpret the American religious landscape to the new administration will not represent the breadth and depth of our country's faith communities."

Johnston noted in his letter on his congregation's website, "We know that evangelical Christians and proponents of the prosperity gospel have had Mr. …

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