Now that we are in full-blown campaign season, the candidates for president are being asked about their religion. All but Bernie Sanders claim to be a Christian of one stripe or another. Most of the names below have now dropped out of the race; nonetheless, the variety of the faiths they claim has definitely added color to the campaign season.
Sanders is Jewish.
Hillary Clinton is a member of the United Methodist Church, probably the most diverse Christian denomination in the country in terms of its adherents. Politically, a Methodist might just as likely be a liberal as a conservative.
Donald Trump is a member of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (Trump doesn’t seem to know much about Christianity, having said he has never asked God for forgiveness.)
Jeb Bush grew up Episcopalian but converted to Catholicism.
Marco Rubio is Catholic but also attends an evangelical church.
Ben Carson is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Ted Cruz is Southern Baptist.
John Kasich is Jeb Bush in reverse. He was Catholic but is now Episcopal.
According to the Pew Research organization, 11 presidents have been Episcopalian, 8 have been Presbyterian, 4 have been Baptist, 4 Unitarian, and 3 Methodist.
Barack Obama attended a United Church of Christ congregation when he lived in Chicago.
Interestingly enough, there are more Catholics in America than any other Christian group, but we have had only one Catholic president, John F. Kennedy.
Religious faith is something to consider in a candidate because it affects one’s worldview, which naturally has a great impact on political ideology.
We have never had an atheist elected president. I’m not sure when the American people will be ready for a candidate who says he or she does not believe in God at all.
Traditionally, Americans have appreciated presidents who acknowledged the God of the Bible as the Supreme Being of the universe. One of the best examples of this was President Franklin D. Roosevelt leading the nation in prayer over the radio on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). His prayer began like this:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
Wow. Just reading those words gives me shivers. This was a man aware that his countrymen were a people worried about their loved ones at war and a people who also believed in God and prayer.
President Ronald Reagan once gave this prophetic word to his countrymen: “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
While Americans understand that we elect a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief, still, I believe – at least I hope – most Americans still look for a presidential candidate who has a reverence for God, understanding that while he may be the most powerful man on Earth if elected, he is not God. Proverbs 15:33 says this: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
I firmly believe God has blessed America in so many ways because we have acknowledged Him over our 240-year history. I know many are praying that our leaders begin to understand this again lest we become a nation gone under.
Click here for scriptural principles to apply when choosing a candidate.
For presidential candidates’ stands on the issues, click here for the AFA Action Voter Guide.