Religious affiliations of Presidents of the United States

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
The majority of American Presidents have been Protestant. St. John's Episcopal Church, an Episcopal church in Washington, D.C., has been visited by every sitting president since James Madison.[1]

The religious affiliations of Presidents of the United States can affect their electability, shape their visions of society and also how they want to lead it, and shape their stances on policy matters. Thomas Jefferson,[2] Abraham Lincoln,[3][4] William Howard Taft[5] and Barack Obama[6] were accused of being atheists during election campaigns, while others, such as Jimmy Carter,[7] used faith as a defining aspect of their campaigns and tenure to hold the office.

Almost all of the presidents can be characterized as Christian, at least by upbringing, though some were unaffiliated with any specific religious body. Protestants predominate, with only one Roman Catholic president, namely John F. Kennedy. Some are thought to have been deists, or irreligious. No president thus far has been openly an atheist or an adherent of any non-Christian religion.

Formal affiliation

Most presidents have been formal members of a particular church or religious body, and a specific affiliation can be assigned to every president from Garfield on. For many earlier presidents, however, formal church membership was forestalled until they left office; and in several cases a president never joined any church. Conversely, though every president from Washington to John Quincy Adams can be definitely assigned membership in an Anglican or Unitarian body, the significance of these affiliations is often downplayed as unrepresentative of their true beliefs.[citation needed]

The pattern of religious adherence has changed dramatically over the course of United States history, so that the pattern of presidential affiliations is quite unrepresentative of modern membership numbers. For example, Episcopalians are extraordinarily well represented among the presidents compared to a current membership of about 2% of the population; this is partly because the Church of England, from which the Episcopal Church is derived, was the established church in some states (such as New York and Virginia) before the American Revolution. The Episcopal Church has been much larger previously, with its decline in membership occurring only in more recent decades.[8] The first seven presidents listed as Episcopalians were all from Virginia. Unitarians are also overrepresented, reflecting the importance of those colonial churches. Conversely, Baptists are underrepresented, a reflection of their quite recent expansion in numbers; there has been only one Catholic president, although they are currently the largest single denomination, and there have been no Lutheran, Orthodox, Pentecostal, or Latter Day Saint presidents.

While many presidents did not formally join a church until quite late in life, there is a genre of tales of deathbed conversions. Biographers usually doubt these, though the baptism of Polk is well documented.

Personal beliefs

The inner beliefs of the presidents are much more difficult to establish than church membership. While some presidents have been relatively voluble about religion, many have been reticent to the point of complete obscurity. Researchers have tried to draw conclusions from patterns of churchgoing or religious references in political speeches. When explicit statements are absent, it is difficult to assess whether the presidents in question were irreligious, were unorthodox in their beliefs, or simply believed that religion was not a matter for public revelation.

On the other hand, there are several presidents who considered themselves aligned with a particular church, but who withheld from formal affiliation for a time. Buchanan, for instance, held himself allied with the Presbyterian church, but refrained from joining it until he left office.

Some presidents changed their beliefs and affiliation at some point in their lives; synthesis of statements and membership from different periods can be misleading.

Deism and the founding fathers

Deism was a religious philosophy in common currency in colonial times, and some Founding Fathers (most notably Thomas Paine, who was an explicit proponent of it, and Benjamin Franklin, who spoke of it in his Autobiography) are identified more or less with this system. No president identified himself as a deist, but George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Tyler are often identified as having some degree of deistic beliefs.[9] Washington in particular maintained a lifelong pattern of church membership and attendance, and there is conflicting testimony from those who knew him.

Unitarianism and non-Trinitarian religion

Four presidents are affiliated with Unitarian churches, and a fifth (Jefferson) was an exponent of ideas now commonly associated with Unitarianism. Unitarians fall outside of Trinitarian Christianity, and the question arises as to the degree to which the presidents themselves held Christian precepts. The information is generally available in the statements of the presidents themselves; for example, John Quincy Adams left detailed statements of his beliefs. William Howard Taft, a Unitarian, is noted to have said in a letter to a friend, "I am interested in the spread of Christian civilization, but to go into a dogmatic discussion of creed I will not do whether I am defeated or not. . . . If the American electorate is so narrow as not to elect a Unitarian, well and good. I can stand it."[10]

Two presidents were Quakers (Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon) and information about their religion is harder to come by. Quakerism is, by its nature, not circumscribed by doctrines, but even so it is hard to determine whether either Hoover or Nixon had much adherence even to Quaker practice. For instance, it is common among Quakers to refuse to swear oaths; however, recordings show that Nixon did swear the oath of office in the conventional manner in all cases, and while the matter is clouded for Hoover, there is newspaper and circumstantial evidence that he did likewise.

The only other president with any association with a definitely non-Trinitarian body is Eisenhower, whose parents moved from the River Brethren to the antecedents of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Eisenhower himself was baptized in the Presbyterian church shortly after assuming the presidency, the only president thus far to undergo such a rite while in office; and his attendance at West Point was in sharp opposition to the pacifist tenets of the groups to which his parents belonged.

Non-religious presidents

There are some presidents for whom there is little evidence as to the importance of religion in their lives. For example, almost no evidence exists for Monroe's personal religious beliefs, though this may be the result of the destruction of most of his personal correspondence, in which religious sentiments may have been recorded. As with claims of deism, these identifications are not without controversy. No president has declared himself to be irreligious, agnostic, or atheist.

Civic religion

St. John's Episcopal Church, just across Lafayette Square, north of the White House, and built in 1815–1816, is the church nearest to the White House, and its services have been attended at least once by nearly every president since James Madison (1809–1817). Another Episcopal church, Washington National Cathedral, chartered by Congress in 1893, has been the scene of many funeral and memorial services of presidents and other dignitaries, as well as the site of interfaith presidential prayer services after their inaugurations, and the burial place of Woodrow Wilson.

Presidential proclamations, from the earliest days, have often been laden with religious if not explicitly Christian language. In at least two cases, presidents saw fit to issue denials that they were atheists. At the same time, this was tempered, especially in early years, by a strong commitment to disestablishment. Several presidents especially stand out as exponents of this. Consideration of this has become increasingly contentious as topics such as civil rights and human sexuality have increasingly put churches at odds with each other and with the government.

Studies of presidential religion

Presidential biographers have often been brought to consider the issue of presidential religion. In the case of certain key figures (particularly Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln), they have devoted considerable attention to the subject.

Some researchers have produced general surveys of presidential religion. A recent example is The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by David L. Holmes (New York, Oxford University Press USA, 2006), which examines the views of some early presidents as well as other political figures of the period. The website maintains a list of presidential affiliations, with subpages for each president.[9] Most of these subpages refer to a site by one Peter Roberts, which has links and some more detailed information on the religion of the presidents, vice presidents, and founding fathers.[11]

List of Presidents by religious affiliation

Name Religion Denomination Sect Years in Office Notes
Thomas Jefferson Christian Deist Episcopalian 1801-1809
Warren Harding Christian Baptist Northern Baptist 1921-1923
Harry Truman Christian Baptist Northern Baptist 1945-1953
Jimmy Carter Christian Baptist 1977-1981 Former Southern Baptist
Bill Clinton Christian Baptist 1993-2001 Former Southern Baptist
Calvin Coolidge Christian Congregationalist 1923-1929
James Garfield Christian Congregationalist Disciples of Christ 1881-1881
Lyndon Johnson Christian Congregationalist Disciples of Christ 1963-1969
Martin Van Buren Christian Dutch Reformed 1837-1841
Theodore Roosevelt Christian Dutch Reformed 1901-1909
George Washington Christian Episcopalian 1789-1797
James Madison Christian Episcopalian 1809-1817
James Monroe Christian Episcopalian 1817-1825
William Henry Harrison Christian Episcopalian 1841-1841
John Tyler Christian Episcopalian 1841-1845
Zachary Taylor Christian Episcopalian 1849-1850
Franklin Pierce Christian Episcopalian 1853-1857
Chester A. Arthur Christian Episcopalian 1881-1885
Franklin D. Roosevelt Christian Episcopalian 1933-1945
Gerald Ford Christian Episcopalian 1974-1977
George H. W. Bush Christian Episcopalian 1989-1993
James Polk Christian Methodist 1845-1849 Former Presbyterian
William McKinley Christian Methodist 1897-1901
George W. Bush Christian Methodist 2001-2009 Former Episcopalian
Andrew Jackson Christian Presbyterian 1829-1837
James Buchanan Christian Presbyterian 1857-1861
Grover Cleveland Christian Presbyterian 1885-1889
Benjamin Harrison Christian Presbyterian 1889-1893
Woodrow Wilson Christian Presbyterian 1913-1921
Dwight D. Eisenhower Christian Presbyterian 1953-1961
Ronald Reagan Christian Presbyterian Disciples of Christ 1981-1989 Former Congregationalist
John F. Kennedy Christian Roman Catholic 1961-1963
Herbert Hoover Christian Quaker 1929-1933
Richard Nixon Christian Quaker 1969-1974
John Adams Christian Unitarian 1797-1801 Former Congregationalist
John Quincy Adams Christian Unitarian 1825-1829
Millard Fillmore Christian Unitarian 1850-1853
William Howard Taft Christian Unitarian 1909-1913
Barack Obama Christian Congregationalist United Church of Christ 2009-
Ulysses Grant Christian[12] None specified (Nondenominational Christianity)[12] 1869-1877
Rutherford Hayes Christian[13] None specified[13] 1877-1881
Andrew Johnson None specified 1865-1869 Many historians consider Johnson the least religious,
and the president who was least affiliated with
any religious group or identifiable religious philosophy.[14]
Abraham Lincoln None specified 1861-1865
  • Scholars and various sources have contradicting opinions
    as to whether or not Lincoln was a Christian.
  • Although Lincoln never made an unambiguous public
    profession of Christian belief, several people who
    knew him personally, such as Chaplain of the Senate
    Phineas Gurley and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln,
    claimed that he believed in Christ in the
    religious sense.[15][16][17]

List of Presidents with details on their religious affiliation

For each president, the formal affiliation at the time of his presidency is listed first, with other affiliations listed after. Further explanation follows if needed, as well as notable detail.

  1. George WashingtonEpiscopalian[19]
    Main article: George Washington and religion
  2. John AdamsUnitarian,[20] originally Congregationalist[21]
    • The Adamses were originally members of the state-supported Congregational churches in New England. By 1800, most Congregationalist churches in Boston had Unitarian preachers teaching the strict unity of God, the subordinate nature of Christ, and salvation by character.[22][23][24] Adams himself preferred Unitarian preachers, but he was opposed to Joseph Priestley's sympathies with the French Revolution, and would attend other churches if the only nearby Congregational/Unitarian one was composed of followers of Priestley.[25]
    • Adams described himself as a "church going animal".[21]
  3. Thomas Jefferson – no specific affiliation[26][27]
    Main article: Thomas Jefferson and religion
    • Jefferson was raised Anglican and served as a vestryman prior to the American Revolution,[28] but as an adult he did not hold to the tenets of this church.[26]
    • Modern Unitarians consider Jefferson's views to be very close to theirs. The Famous UUs website[29] says:
      "Like many others of his time (he died just one year after the founding of institutional Unitarianism in America), Jefferson was a Unitarian in theology, though not in church membership. He never joined a Unitarian congregation: there were none near his home in Virginia during his lifetime. He regularly attended Joseph Priestley's Pennsylvania church when he was nearby, and said that Priestley's theology was his own, and there is no doubt Priestley should be identified as Unitarian. Jefferson remained a member of the Episcopal congregation near his home, but removed himself from those available to become godparents, because he was not sufficiently in agreement with the Trinitarian theology. His work, the Jefferson Bible, was Unitarian in theology..."
    • In a letter to Benjamin Rush prefacing his "Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus", Jefferson wrote:
      "In some of the delightful conversations with you, in the evenings of 1798–99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you, that one day or other, I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other."[30]
  4. James MadisonDeism/Episcopalian[31]
    • Although Madison tried to keep a low profile in regards to religion, he seemed to hold religious opinions, like many of his contemporaries, that were closer to deism or Unitarianism in theology than conventional Christianity. He was raised in the Church of England and attended Episcopal services, despite his personal disputes with the theology.[32]
  5. James MonroeEpiscopalian/Deism?
    • Monroe was raised in a family that belonged to the Church of England when it was the state church in Virginia, and as an adult attended Episcopal churches.[33]
    • "When it comes to Monroe's … thoughts on religion", Bliss Isely comments in his The Presidents: Men of Faith, "less is known than that of any other President." Monroe burned much of his correspondence with his wife, and no letters survive in which he discusses his religious beliefs; nor did his friends, family or associates write about his beliefs. Letters that do survive, such as ones written on the occasion of the death of his son, contain no discussion of religion.[33]
    • Some authors conclude that Monroe's writings show evidence of "deistic tendencies".[33]
  6. John Quincy AdamsUnitarian[34]
    • Adams's religious views shifted over the course of his life. In college and early adulthood he preferred trinitarian theology, and from 1818 to 1848 he served as vice president of the American Bible Society.[35] However, as he grew older his views became more typically Unitarian, though he rejected some of the views of Joseph Priestley and the Transcendentalists.[35]
    • He was a founding member of the First Unitarian Church of Washington (D.C.).[35] However he regularly attended Presbyterian and Episcopal services as well.[35]
    • Towards the end of his life, he wrote, "I reverence God as my creator. As creator of the world. I reverence him with holy fear. I venerate Jesus Christ as my redeemer; and, as far as I can understand, the redeemer of the world. But this belief is dark and dubious."[35]
  7. Andrew JacksonPresbyterian[36]
    • He became a member of the Presbyterian Church about a year after leaving the presidency.[37]
  8. Martin Van BurenDutch Reformed[38]
  9. William Henry HarrisonEpiscopalian[42]
  10. John TylerEpiscopalian[44]
    • Although affiliated with the Episcopal church, he did not take "a denominational approach to God."[45] Tyler was a strong supporter of religious tolerance and separation of church and state.
  11. James K. PolkMethodist[46]
    • Polk came from a Presbyterian upbringing but was not baptized as a child, due to a dispute with the local Presbyterian minister in rural North Carolina. Polk's father and grandfather were Deists, and the minister refused to baptize James unless his father affirmed Christianity, which he would not do.[47][48] Polk had a conversion experience at a Methodist camp meeting when he was thirty-eight, and thereafter considered himself Methodist. Nevertheless, he continued to attend Presbyterian services with his wife, though he went to the local Methodist chapel when she was ill or out of town. On his deathbed, he summoned the Rev. John B. McFerrin, who had converted him years before, to baptize him.[46]
  12. Zachary Taylor – nominally Episcopalian[49]
    • Although raised an Episcopalian and married to a devout Episcopalian, he never became a full communicant member in the church.[49]
  13. Millard FillmoreUnitarian[50]
  14. Franklin Pierceno specific affiliation (later Episcopalian)[citation needed]
  15. James BuchananPresbyterian[51]
    • Buchanan, raised a Presbyterian, attended and supported various churches throughout his life. He joined the Presbyterian Church after leaving the presidency.[citation needed]
  16. Abraham Lincolnno affiliation[52]
    • Main article: Abraham Lincoln and religion
    • Life before the presidency
      • Some believe that for much of his life, Lincoln was a Deist.[53]
      • Rev. Dr. Phineas D. Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian church in Washington D.C., which Lincoln attended with his wife when he attended any church, never claimed a conversion. According to D. James Kennedy in his booklet, "What They Believed: The Faith of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln", "Dr. Gurley said that Lincoln had wanted to make a public profession of his faith on Easter Sunday morning. But then came Ford's Theater." (p. 59, Published by Coral Ridge Ministries, 2003) Though this is possible, we have no way of verifying the truth of the report. The chief evidence against it is that Dr. Gurley, so far as we know, never mentioned it publicly. The determination to join, if accurate, would have been extremely newsworthy. It would have been reasonable for Dr. Gurley to have mentioned it at the funeral in the White House, in which he delivered the sermon which has been preserved.[54] The only evidence we have is an affidavit signed more than sixty years later by Mrs. Sidney I. Lauck, then a very old woman. In her affidavit signed under oath in Essex County, New Jersey, February 15, 1928, she said, "After Mr. Lincoln's death, Dr. Gurley told me that Mr. Lincoln had made all the necessary arrangements with him and the Session of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church to be received into the membership of the said church, by confession of his faith in Christ, on the Easter Sunday following the Friday night when Mr. Lincoln was assassinated." Mrs. Lauck was, she said, about thirty years of age at the time of the assassination.
      • John Remsburg, President of the American Secular Union, argued against claims of Lincoln's conversion in his book Six Historic Americans (1906). He cites several of Lincoln's close associates:
        • The man who stood nearest to President Lincoln at Washington – nearer than any clergyman or newspaper correspondent – was his private secretary, Col. John G. Nicolay. In a letter dated May 27, 1865, Colonel Nicolay says: "Mr. Lincoln did not, to my knowledge, in any way change his religious ideas, opinions, or beliefs from the time he left Springfield to the day of his death."
        • After his assassination Mrs. Lincoln said: "Mr. Lincoln had no hope and no faith in the usual acceptance of these words." His lifelong friend and executor, Judge David Davis, affirmed the same: "He had no faith in the Christian sense of the term." His biographer, Colonel Lamon, intimately acquainted with him in Illinois, and with him during all the years that he lived in Washington, says: "Never in all that time did he let fall from his lips or his pen an expression which remotely implied the slightest faith in Jesus as the son of God and the Savior of men."[55]
  17. Andrew Johnsonno affiliation [56]
    • He accompanied his wife Eliza McCardle Johnson to Methodist services sometimes, belonged to no church himself, and sometimes attended Catholic services—remarking favorably that there was no reserved seating.[57]
  18. Ulysses S. GrantPresbyterian, Methodist[9]
    • Grant was never baptized into any church, though he accompanied his wife Julia Grant to Methodist services. Many sources list his religious affiliation as Methodist based on a Methodist minister's account of a deathbed conversion. He did leave a note for his wife in which he hoped to meet her again in a better world.
    • In his 1875 State of the Union address, during conflicts over Catholic parochial schooling, Grant called for a constitutional amendment that would require all states to establish free public schools while "forbidding the teaching in said schools of religious, atheistic, or pagan tenets; and prohibiting the granting of any school funds or school taxes... for the benefit... of any religious sect or denomination."[58] The proposed Blaine Amendment to the Constitution followed.
  19. Rutherford B. Hayesno affiliation
    • Hayes came from a Presbyterian family, but attended Methodist schools as a youth.[59]
    • Many sources list him as Methodist; in general, however, it is agreed that he held himself to be a Christian, but of no specific church.[60]
    • In his diary entry for May 17, 1890, he states: "Writing a few words for Mohonk Negro Conference, I find myself using the word Christian. I am not a subscriber to any creed. I belong to no church. But in a sense, satisfactory to myself and believed by me to be important, I try to be a Christian, or rather I want to be a Christian and to help do Christian work."[61]
    • Hayes' wife, Lucy, was a Methodist, a temperance advocate, and deeply opposed to slavery; he generally attended church with her.[60]
  20. James GarfieldDisciples of Christ[62]
    • He was baptized at age eighteen.[62]
    • Through his twenties, Garfield preached and held revival meetings, though he was never formally a minister within the church.[62]
    • Charles J. Guiteau attempted to assassinate Garfield at a sermon.[63]
  21. Chester A. ArthurEpiscopalian[64]
  22. Grover ClevelandPresbyterian[66]
  23. Benjamin HarrisonPresbyterian[67]
    • Harrison became a church elder, and taught Sunday school.
  24. Grover Cleveland – Presbyterian
  25. William McKinleyMethodist[68]
    • Early in life, he planned to become a Methodist minister.[69]
    • James Rusling, a McKinley supporter, related a story that McKinley had addressed a church delegation and had stated that one of the objectives of the Spanish–American War was "to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them".[70] Recent historians have judged this account unreliable, especially in light of implausible[vague] statements Rusling made about Lincoln's religion.[71][72]
    • McKinley is the only president to include exclusively Christian language in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation.[73]
  26. Theodore RooseveltDutch Reformed[74]
    • Roosevelt always stated that he was Dutch Reformed; however, he attended Episcopal churches where there was no Reformed church nearby. (His second wife Edith was Episcopalian from birth.)[74] As there was no Dutch Reformed church in Oyster Bay, New York, he attended Christ Church Oyster Bay when in residence there, and it was in that church that his funeral was held.[74]
    • His mother was Presbyterian and as a child he attended Presbyterian churches with her.[75]
  27. William Howard Taft – Unitarian[76]
    • Before becoming president, Taft was offered the presidency of Yale University, at that time affiliated with the Congregationalist Church; Taft turned the post down, saying, "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ."[77]
    • Taft's beliefs were the subject of some controversy, and in 1908 he found it necessary to refute a rumor that he was an atheist.[5]
  28. Woodrow WilsonPresbyterian[78]
    • Wilson's father was a Presbyterian minister and professor of theology.[78]
    • Prior to being Governor of New Jersey and President of the United States, Wilson served as President of Princeton University, which was at the time affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.[78]
  29. Warren G. HardingBaptist[79][80]
  30. Calvin CoolidgeCongregationalist[81]
  31. Herbert HooverQuaker[82]
    • As Quakers customarily do not swear oaths, it was expected that Hoover would affirm the oath of office, and most sources state that he did so.[83][84] However, a Washington Post article dated February 27, 1929, stated that he planned to swear, rather than affirm, the oath.[85]
  32. Franklin D. RooseveltEpiscopalian[86]
  33. Harry S. TrumanBaptist[87]
    • Truman kept his religious beliefs private and alienated some Baptist leaders by doing so.[88]
  34. Dwight D. EisenhowerPresbyterian[89]
    • Eisenhower's religious upbringing is the subject of some controversy, due to the conversion of his parents to the "Bible Student" movement, the forerunner of the Jehovah's Witnesses, in the late 1890s. Originally, the family belonged to the River Brethren, a Mennonite sect.[89] According to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, there is no evidence that Eisenhower participated in either the Bible Student group or the Jehovah's Witnesses, and there are records that show he attended Sunday school at a River Brethren church.[89]
    • Until he became president, Eisenhower had no formal church affiliation, a circumstance he attributed to the frequent moves demanded of an Army officer. He was baptized, confirmed, and became a communicant in the Presbyterian church in a single ceremony February 1, 1953, just 12 days after his first inauguration, the only president to undergo any of these rites while in office.[89]
    • Eisenhower was instrumental in the addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 (an act highly promoted by the Knights of Columbus), and the 1956 adoption of "In God We Trust" as the motto of the USA, and its 1957 introduction on paper currency. He composed a prayer for his first inauguration, began his Cabinet meetings with silent prayer, and met frequently with a wide range of religious leaders while in office.[89]
    • His presidential library includes an inter-denominational chapel in which he, his wife Mamie, and his firstborn son (who died in childhood) are buried.
  35. John F. KennedyCatholic[90]
    • Kennedy was the only Catholic president.
  36. Lyndon JohnsonDisciples of Christ[91]
  37. Richard NixonQuaker[92]
    • Contrary to Quaker custom, Nixon swore the oath of office at both of his inaugurations.[93] He also engaged in military service, contrary to the Quaker doctrine of pacifism.
  38. Gerald R. FordEpiscopalian[94]
  39. Jimmy CarterBaptist[95]
    • In 2000, Carter criticized the Southern Baptist Convention, disagreeing over the role of women in society. He continued to teach Sunday School and serve as a deacon in his local Baptist Church.
  40. Ronald ReaganPresbyterian[96]
    • Reagan's father was Catholic,[97] but Reagan was raised in his mother's Disciples of Christ denomination and was baptized there on September 21, 1922.[98] Nancy and Ronald Reagan were married in the Disciples of Christ "Little Brown Church" in Studio City, California on March 4, 1952. Beginning in 1963 Reagan generally attended Presbyterian church services at Bel Air Presbyterian Church, Bel-Air, California. During his presidency he rarely attended church services, due to the inconvenience to others in the congregation.[99] He became an official member of Bel Air Presbyterian after leaving the Presidency. Reagan stated that he considered himself a "born-again Christian".[96]
  41. George H. W. BushEpiscopalian[100]
  42. Bill ClintonBaptist[101]
    • Clinton, during his presidency, attended a Methodist church in Washington along with his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is Methodist from childhood.[102]
  43. George W. BushMethodist[103]
  44. Barack Obama – unaffiliated Christian[104]

See also


  1. White House Historical Association
  2. Sanford, Charles B. (1984). The Religious Life of Thomas Jefferson. Charlottesville: Univ Press Of Virginia. p. 246. ISBN 0-8139-1131-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Richard N. Ostling. "Book lays out story of Lincoln' complex beliefs". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-26. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Abraham Lincoln's Humanistic Religious Beliefs". Archived from the original on January 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-26. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Taft as a Churchman; Belongs to Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, and Has a Pew in Washington" (PDF). New York Times. June 17, 1908. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-02-16. Word reached Washington to-day that the report is being energetically circulated that Secretary Taft is an atheist, and the Secretary's friends are indignant.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Ann Coulter: Obama Is Atheist, Not Muslim". CBS News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Colonial Williamsburg website has four articles on religion in colonial Virginia
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Religious Affiliation of U.S. Presidents". Retrieved 2007-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Terzian, Philip (November 4, 2011), Weekly Standard: Bigoted Against Brigham's Faith?, National Public Radio<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. see "God and Country - Religion and Politics in the US". Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2008-05-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1
  13. 13.0 13.1
  15. Mary T. Lincoln to James Smith, June 8, 1870, in Robert J. Havlik, "Abraham Lincoln and the Reverend Dr. James Smith: Lincoln's Presbyterian experience of Springfield," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Autumn, 1999) online
  16. Reed, James A. (July 1873). "The Later Life and Religious Sentiments of Abraham Lincoln". Scribner's Monthly. 6 (3): 339. Retrieved 2010-02-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> quoting Phineas Gurley
  17. Reed, James A. (July 1873). "The Later Life and Religious Sentiments of Abraham Lincoln". 6 (3). Scribner's Monthly: 340. Retrieved 2010-02-20. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Noah Brooks to J.A. Reed, December 31, 1872
  18. Steiner, Franklin (1936). "Abraham Lincoln, Deist, and Admirer of Thomas Paine". Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents. Retrieved 2010-05-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "The Religion of George Washington". Retrieved 2008-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "American President: John Adams". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-01-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic: Religion and the Federal Government". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-01-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. George Willis Cooke. "Unitarianism in America" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Wesley White (2008). "The Roots of Our Belief" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Darlington Congregational Church: Our History". Retrieved 2011-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "John Adams". Unitarian Universalist Association. Retrieved 2007-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. 26.0 26.1 "The Religion of Thomas Jefferson". Retrieved 2009-01-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "American President: Thomas Jefferson". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-01-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Gaustad, Edwin S. (1995). Sworn of the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8028-0156-2. Retrieved 2013-10-07. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Thomas Jefferson". Unitarian Universalist Association. Retrieved 2007-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. transcript from "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush". beliefnet. Retrieved 2008-12-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> The original letter may be viewed on the Library of Congress website here [1].
  31. "American President: James Madison". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-01-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. James Hutson. "James Madison and the Social Utility of Religion: Risks vs. Rewards". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 David Holmes (Autumn 2003). "The Religion of James Monroe". Virginia Quarterly Review. Retrieved 2007-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "American President: John Quincy Adams: Family Life". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-04-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 "John Quincy Adams". Unitarian Universalist Association. Retrieved 2008-04-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "American President: Andrew Jackson". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-01-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Wilentz, Sean (2005). Andrew Jackson. Macmillan. p. 160.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. "American President: Martin Van Buren". University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-10-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. "Martin Van Buren". Kinderhook Connection. Retrieved 2008-10-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. "Presidential portraits: Martin Van Buren". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 2008-10-08. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. Martin Van Buren (1782–1862) – Find A Grave Memorial
  42. "American President: William Henry Harrison". University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-04-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. "The American Presidency: Harrison, William Henry". Encyclopedia Americana. Retrieved 2008-04-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. "American President: John Tyler". University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. Seager II, Robert (1963). And Tyler too: A Biography of John and Julia Gardiner Tyler. McGraw-Hill. p. 109.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. 46.0 46.1 "American President: James Knox Polk: Family Life". University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-04-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. Adherents:James Polk
  48. Seigenthaler, John (2003). James K Polk. Times Books. ISBN 0-8050-6942-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. 49.0 49.1 "The Religious Affiliation of 12th U.S. President Zachary Taylor". Retrieved 2008-02-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. "American President: Millard Fillmore". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-05-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. "American President: James Buchanan". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-03-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  52. "American President: Abraham Lincoln: Family Life". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-02-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. Six Historic Americans: Abraham Lincoln John E. Remsburg, 1906
  54. White House Funeral Sermon for President Lincoln Abraham Lincoln Online
  55. Chapter III – Review Of Christian Testimony: Reed And His Witnesses Six Historic Americans: Abraham Lincoln, John E. Remsburg, 1906
  56. "American President: Andrew Johnson". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-10-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  57. "American President: Andrew Johnson: Family Life". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-10-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  58. "American Presidency Project: Ulysses S. Grant: Seventh Annual Message". December 7, 1875. Retrieved 2012-02-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  59. Trefousse, Hans L. (2002). Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (ed.). Rutherford B. Hayes. Macmillan. pp. 3–5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  60. 60.0 60.1 "Frequently asked questions". Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. Retrieved 2008-02-25. The president never espoused a particular religion, but attended Methodist Church with his wife Lucy.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  61. Charles Richard Williams, ed., ed. (1922). "May 17, 1890". The Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes, Nineteenth President of the United States. IV. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society. Archived from the original on August 1, 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)CS1 maint: extra text: editors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 Green, F. M. (1906). "Some Pioneers, and Others Who Have Been Prominent in the Restoration Movement: James A. Garfield". In John T. Brown (ed.). Churches of Christ. Louisville, Kentucky: John P. Morton and Company. pp. 412–414. Retrieved 2008-02-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  63. Millard, Candice (2011). Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President. Doubleday. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-0-385-52626-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  64. 64.0 64.1 "American President: Chester Alan Arthur". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-02-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  65. "Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur". White House. Retrieved 2015-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  66. "Biography of Grover Cleveland". White House. Archived from the original on January 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-16. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  67. "The Religious Affiliation of Benjamin Harrison 23rd U.S. President".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  68. "American President: William McKinley". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-02-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  69. "President William McKinley: A Life in Brief". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-02-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  70. Rusling, James (22 January 1903). "Interview with President William McKinley". The Christian Advocate: 17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Reprinted in Daniel Schirmer and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, ed. (1987). The Philippines Reader. Boston: South End Press. pp. 22–23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  71. Shenkman, Richard (1992). Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History. HarperCollins. p. 38. Retrieved 2013-10-07. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  72. Gould, Lewis L. (1980). The Spanish-American War and President McKinley. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. pp. 107–108. Retrieved 2013-10-07. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  73. "1900 Thanksgiving Proclamation". Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. ...the sentiments of sympathy and Christian charity by virtue of which we are one united people. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 "The Religion of Theodore Roosevelt". Theodore Roosevelt Association. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-27. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  75. Theodore Roosevelt (1913). "Boyhood and Youth". An Autobiography. United Kingdom: Dodo Press. ISBN 1-4065-0606-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  76. "William Howard Taft". Unitarian Universalist Association. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-26. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  77. Burton, David Henry. Taft, Holmes, and the 1920s Court: An Appraisal. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 24. Retrieved 2008-02-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 Smith, Gary Scott (2006). "Woodrow Wilson: Presbyterian Statesman". Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press US. pp. 159 ff. Retrieved 2008-02-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  79. "American President:Warren G. Harding". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2012-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  80. "Trinity Baptist Church – Marion, Ohio: History And Development" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-16. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  81. "The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  82. "The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President Herbert Hoover".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  83. "Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies". Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2008-02-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  84. "U.S. Swearing-in Ceremonies Highlight Religious Freedom Legacy: Constitutionally, religion is not a qualification for office". U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs. 2007-01-04. Archived from the original on February 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  85. "Hoover Plans to Swear on Bible, Taking Oath". Washington Post. February 27, 1929. p. 5. Herbert Hoover, in taking the oath of office March 4, will swear – not affirm – with one hand on an old family Quaker Bible, that contains the date of his own birth.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  86. "The Religious Affiliation of 32nd U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  87. "The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President Harry S. Truman".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  88. Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs. "Harry S. Truman". Retrieved 12 November 2014. External link in |website= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 89.3 89.4 Pankratz, Herbert (July 2001). "A Guide to Historical Holdings in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library: Eisenhower and Religion" (PDF). United States Archives. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-02-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  90. "The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President John F. Kennedy".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  91. "The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  92. "American President: Richard Nixon". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2012-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  93. See videos on the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies website: [rtsp:// 1969] [rtsp:// 1973]
  94. "Gerald R. Ford – Facts and Favorites". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 2008-02-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  95. "Jimmy Carter splits with Baptists". BBC. 2000-10-21. Retrieved 2007-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  96. 96.0 96.1 "Ronald Reagan Facts". Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-02-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  97. "CNN Special: Ronald Reagan 1911–2004". Retrieved 2008-02-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  98. "Timeline of Ronald Reagan's Life". PBS. Archived from the original on January 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  99. Kengor, Paul (2007). "Ronald Reagan's Faith and Attack on Soviet Communism". In Rozell, Mark J.; Whitney, Gleaves (eds.). Religion and the American Presidency. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 176–178. ISBN 978-1-4039-7771-7. Retrieved 2012-11-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  100. "The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President George H. W. Bush".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  101. "The Religious Affiliation of President William Jefferson Clinton".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  102. Feldmann, Linda (December 20, 2007). "Candidate Clinton goes public with her private faith". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2008-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  103. 103.0 103.1 Cooperman, Alan (2004-09-15). "Openly Religious, to a Point". Washington Post. pp. A01. Retrieved 2008-02-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  104. "American President: Barack Obama". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-01-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  105. "Barack Obama, long time UCC member, inaugurated forty-fourth U.S. President" (Press release). United Church of Christ. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2009-01-21. Barack Obama, who spent more than 20 years as a UCC member, is the forty-fourth President of the United States.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  106. – many Americans can't name Obama's Religion

External links

Further reading