Thursday, May 31, 2012

Presidential Religious Affiliations

by Gary Berg-Cross

I was surprised to read the other day an article in the Washington Post on how Mitt Romney’s nomination marks milestone for Mormon faith. The article noted how America this campaign is silently observing another milestone as Willard Romney has become the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party. This on top of the first four years ago with the election of the first African American president.
What followed in the article was breakdown of the religious affiliations of the nation's presidents. They all had one in the chart in WAPO (shown below). Who knew taht LBJ was affiliated with Disciples of Christ.  along with Garfield?
Now I had always heard that there was some debate on this. After all as Wikipedia notes:
"Throughout much of American history, the religion of past American presidents has been the subject of contentious debate. Some devout Christian Americans have been disinclined to believe that there may have been non-religious or even non-Christian presidents, especially amongst the Founding Fathers of the United States. As a result, apocryphal stories of a religious nature have appeared over the years about particularly beloved presidents such as Washington and Lincoln."

To be sure Thomas Jefferson (listed as "no specific Christian denomination" in  WAPO along with Abraham Lincoln), William Howard Taft  (Unitarian??) and Barack Obama  were all at least accused of being atheists during election campaigns. A list of U.S. presidents most widely considered to be closet atheists includes Grant too.
includes Grant who WAPO lists as Methodist. 

If it is reasonable to argue that religion teaches followers to be satisfied with not understanding the world we are condemned to have candidates for President who lack some potentially critical understanding.  It might help explain the political state we are in.

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