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List of U.S. Presidential religious affiliations

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  • Ram Lau
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._Presidential_religious_affiliations List of U.S. Presidential religious affiliations From Wikipedia, the free
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 12, 2005
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      List of U.S. Presidential religious affiliations
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

      This is a list of the religious affiliations of Presidents of the
      United States. The particular religious affiliations of U.S.
      Presidents can affect their electability, shape their visions of
      society and how they want to lead it, and shape their stances on
      policy matters. For example, a contributing factor to Alfred E.
      Smith's defeat in the presidential election of 1928 was his Roman
      Catholic faith. In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy faced
      accusations that as a Catholic president he would do as Pope John
      XXIII would tell him to do. Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and
      several other presidents were accused of being infidels during
      election campaigns -- and at other times.

      Throughout much of American history, the religion of past American
      presidents has been the subject of contentious debate. Some devout
      Americans have been disinclined to believe that there may have been
      agnostic 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. On the other hand,
      secular-minded Americans have sometimes downplayed the prominence that
      religion played in the private and political lives of the Founding

      Episcopalians are extraordinarily well represented among the
      presidents. This is in part because the Episcopal Church was the state
      religion in some states (such as Virginia) before their Constitutions
      were changed. Before the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church was
      the American branch of the Church of England. The first seven
      presidents listed below with Episcopalian affiliation were also the
      first seven from Virginia, and five of those were among the six
      presidents most closely identified with Deism. Since there have seldom
      been any churches of Deism, strictly speaking Deist is not an
      affiliation in the same way Episcopalian is; it is included in the
      list below, however, to give a more complete view of the religious
      views of the presidents.

      The church closest to the White House is also Episcopal, and has been
      attended at least once by nearly every president since James Madison.
      St. John's Episcopal Church, just across Lafayette Square north of the
      White House, and built after the War of 1812, is one of about five
      sometimes referred to as "the Church of the Presidents".

      Many people are interested not only in the religious affiliations of
      the presidents, but also in their inner beliefs. Some presidents, such
      as Madison and Monroe, were extremely reluctant to discuss their own
      religious views at all. In general, it is difficult to define with any
      certainty the faiths of presidents, because no one can truly be sure
      what relationship (if any) exists between another person and his
      deity, and because presidents, as public officials, have generally
      remained within the mainstream of American religious trends.

      With regard to Christianity, distinguishing affiliation from belief
      can be somewhat complicated. At issue, to a certain extent, is "What
      counts as belonging to a church?" Must one be a communicant to belong,
      or is baptism or even simple attendance sufficient? Are Unitarians,
      Jehovah's Witnesses, and independents who generally hold Jesus in high
      regard, but do not believe he was divine, to be counted as Christians
      or not? Numerous presidents changed their affiliations and/or their
      beliefs during their lives. George Washington, for example, gravitated
      from conventional Christianity as a youth towards Deism as he aged.
      Contents [showhide]
      1 List of Presidential religious affiliations/beliefs (by President)
      2 List of Presidential religious affiliations (by religion)
      3 External links
      4 Further reading
      5 Presidential trivia lists

      List of Presidential religious affiliations/beliefs (by President)

      1. George Washington – Deist; Episcopalian (VA)
      * The religious views of George Washington are a matter of
      some controversy. There is strong evidence that he (like many of the
      Founding Fathers) was a Deist - believing in Divine Providence, but
      not believing in divine intervention in the world after the initial
      design. Before the revolution, when the Episcopal Church was still the
      state religion in Virginia, he served as a vestryman (lay officer) for
      his local church. He spoke often of the value of religion in general,
      and he sometimes accompanied his wife to Christian church services.
      However, there is no record of his ever becoming a communicant in any
      Christian church and he would regularly leave services before
      communion - with the other non-communicants. When Rev. Dr. James
      Abercrombie, rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia
      mentioned in a weekly sermon that those in elevated stations set an
      unhappy example by leaving at communion, Washington ceased attending
      at all on communion Sundays. Long after Washington died, asked about
      Washington's beliefs, Abercrombie replied: "Sir, Washington was a
      Deist." Various prayers said to have been composed by him in his later
      life are highly edited. He did not ask for any clergy on his deathbed,
      though one was available. His funeral services were those of the
      2. John Adams – Unitarian (MA)
      * The Adamses were originally members of Congregational
      churches in New England. Congregationalist churches became more
      diverse than other Reformed churches such as Presbyterians, where
      higher courts ensure doctrinal uniformity. Many New England
      congregations reacted against the First Great Awakening and were
      influenced by Arminianism, Deism, Unitarianism, and (later)
      Transcendentalism – moving away from Calvinism and its doctrine of
      Predestination. By the 1750s several Congregational preachers were
      teaching the possibility of universal salvation. The first Unitarian
      church in America was established in Boston in 1785. By 1800, all but
      one Congregationalist church in Boston had Unitarian preachers
      teaching the strict unity of God, the subordinate nature of Christ,
      and salvation by character. Harvard University, founded by
      Congregationalists, itself became a source of Unitarian training. [1]
      3. Thomas Jefferson – Deist; Episcopalian (VA)
      * Though a vestryman (lay officer) of the Episcopal Church
      in Virginia, his beliefs were primarily Deist. Unlike its effect on
      Congregational churches, Deism had little influence on Episcopal
      churches, which have a more hierarchical structure making them slower
      to modify their teachings. Of only three things Jefferson chose for
      his epitaph, one was the 1786 Statute of Virginia for Religious
      Freedom. Jefferson's views are considered very close to Unitarian [2]
      (http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/thomasjefferson.html). The
      Famous UUs (http://www.famousuus.com/) website says: [3]

      "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..."

      * A remarkable quote from a letter Jefferson wrote to a Dr.
      Woods indicates that in fact he possessed considerable antipathy
      towards Christianity:

      "I have recently been examining all the known
      superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular
      superstition one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on
      fables and mythology."

      * See Wikiquote
      (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson) and Positive Atheism
      (http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/jefferson.htm) for many
      more similar quotes.
      4. James Madison – Deist; Episcopalian (VA)
      * In 1779 the Virginia General Assembly deprived Church of
      England ministers of tax support, but in 1784 Patrick Henry sponsored
      a bill to again collect taxes to support churches in general.
      Madison's 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance was written in opposition to
      another bill to levy a general assessment for the support of
      religions. The assessment bill was tabled, and instead the legislature
      in 1786 passed Jefferson's Bill for Religious Freedom, first submitted
      in 1779. Virginia thereby became the first state to disestablish
      religion — Rhode Island, Delaware, and Pennsylvania never having had
      an established religion.
      5. James Monroe – Deist; Episcopalian (VA)
      6. John Quincy Adams – Unitarian (MA) [4]
      7. Andrew Jackson – Presbyterian (NC/SC)
      * became a member about a year after retiring the presidency
      8. Martin Van Buren – Dutch Reformed or no affiliation (NY)
      * Van Buren did not join any church in Washington, nor in
      his home town of Kinderhook (village), New York. The sole original
      source to claim that he did join a church – in Hudson, New York – is
      Vernon B. Hampton, in Religious Background of the White House (Boston:
      Christopher Publishing House, 1932). The basis for this claim has not
      been found.
      9. William Henry Harrison – Episcopalian possibly (VA)
      * Harrison died just one month after his inauguration. After
      funeral, rector at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC said
      Harrison bought a Bible one day after his inauguration and planned to
      soon become a communicant.
      10. John Tyler – Deist; Episcopalian (VA)
      11. James K. Polk – Presbyterian; later Methodist (NC/TN)
      * Raised Presbyterian, Polk had never been baptized due to
      an early family argument 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. At age 38, Polk had a religious
      conversion to Methodism at a camp meeting, and thereafter he thought
      of himself as a Methodist. Out of respect for his mother and wife,
      however, he continued to attend Presbyterian services. Whenever his
      wife was out of town, or too ill to attend church, however, Polk
      worshipped at the local Methodist chapel. On his deathbed less than 4
      months after leaving the Presidency, he summoned the man who had
      converted him years before, the Rev. John B. McFerrin, who then
      baptized Polk as a Methodist.
      12. Zachary Taylor – Episcopalian (VA)
      13. Millard Fillmore – Unitarian (NY)
      * In the early 1830s, he worked to overturn the New York
      test law that required all witnesses in New York courts to swear an
      oath affirming their belief in God and the hereafter.
      14. Franklin Pierce – Episcopalian (NH)
      * 1850: unsuccessfully worked to abolish that portion of the
      New Hampshire Constitution which made the Protestant religion the
      official religion.
      * 1853 inauguration: affirmed instead of swearing the oath;
      did not kiss Bible
      * 1861: 4 years after retiring the presidency, he was
      baptized, confirmed, and became a regular communicant in St. Paul's
      Episcopal Church, in Concord, NH.
      15. James Buchanan – Presbyterian (PA)
      * raised Presbyterian, he joined its church after he retired
      the presidency
      16. Abraham Lincoln – Deist; no affiliation known (KY/IN/IL)
      * For much of his life, Lincoln was undoubtedly Deist (see
      [5] (http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/steinlinc.htm), [6]
      In his younger days he openly challenged orthodox religions, but as he
      matured he kept his Deist views more to himself, and would sometimes
      attend Presbyterian services with his wife. He loved to read the
      Bible, and even quoted from it, but he almost never made reference to
      Jesus, and is not known to have ever indicated a belief in the
      divinity of Jesus.
      * A number of pastors have claimed a late conversion for
      Lincoln, but these are hard to substantiate.
      o One notable claim is an entry in the memory book The
      Lincoln Memorial Album—Immortelles (edited by Osborn H. Oldroyd, 1882,
      New York: G.W. Carleton & Co., p. 366) attributed to An Illinois
      clergyman (unnamed) which reads "When I left Springfield I asked the
      people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son,
      the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went
      to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then
      and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do love Jesus."
      + Other entries in the memory book are
      attributed by name. See a discussion of this story in They Never Said
      It, by Paul F. Boller & John George, (Oxford Univ. Press, 1989, p. 91).
      o Some pastors date a conversion following the death
      of his son Eddie in 1850, and some following the death of his son
      Willie in 1862.
      o Rev. Dr. Ralph Randolph Gurley was pastor of the New
      York Avenue Presbyterian church in Washington D.C., which Lincoln
      attended with his wife when he attended any church. Rev. Gurley made
      no claims of Lincoln converting.
      17. Andrew Johnson – no affiliation (NC/TN)
      * Some sources refer to Johnson having Baptist parents. He
      accompanied his wife to Methodist services sometimes, belonged to no
      church himself, and sometimes attended Catholic services - remarking
      favorably there was no reserved seating. Accused of being an infidel,
      he replied: "As for my religion, it is the doctrine of the Bible, as
      taught and practiced by Jesus Christ." (See The Age of Hate, 1930, by
      G.F. Milton, p. 80.)
      18. Ulysses S. Grant – no affiliation known (OH)
      * Grant was never baptized into any church, though he
      accompanied his wife 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.
      19. Rutherford B. Hayes – no affiliation (OH)
      * In his 1890, 17 May diary entry, he states: "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 and to help do Christian work." (page 435)
      20. James Garfield – Disciples of Christ (OH)
      * In his early adulthood, Garfield sometimes preached and
      held revival meetings.
      21. Chester A. Arthur – Episcopalian (VT/NY)
      22. Grover Cleveland – Presbyterian (NJ/NY)
      23. Benjamin Harrison – Presbyterian (OH/IN)
      * Harrison became a church elder, and taught Sunday school
      * Franklin Steiner, in his book The Religious Beliefs Of Our
      categorized Harrison as the first President who was unquestionably a
      communicant in an orthodox Church at the time he was elected
      24. Grover Cleveland – Presbyterian (NJ/NY)
      * During his second (non-consecutive) term, Cleveland
      included mention of Jesus Christ in his Thanksgiving Proclamation,
      something no other President had ever done.
      25. William McKinley – Methodist (OH)
      * McKinley believed the U.S. government had a duty to help
      spread Christianity and Western civilization to the rest of the world.
      26. Theodore Roosevelt – Dutch Reformed (NY)
      * 1908: opposed putting In God We Trust on coins as sacrilegious
      27. William Howard Taft – Unitarian (OH)
      28. Woodrow Wilson – Presbyterian (VA/GA/NJ)
      29. Warren G. Harding – Baptist (OH)
      30. Calvin Coolidge – Congregationalist (VT/MA)
      31. Herbert Hoover – Quaker (IA/OR/CA)
      32. Franklin D. Roosevelt – Episcopalian (NY)
      33. Harry S. Truman – Baptist (MO)
      34. Dwight D. Eisenhower – Jehovah's Witness; later Presbyterian
      * Brought up Jehovah's Witness, Eisenhower abandoned that
      before joining the United States Military Academy at West Point, New
      York. (See [8] (http://www.adherents.com/adh_presidents.html), [9]
      (http://www.premier1.net/~raines/eisenhower.html), and [10]
      (http://www.adherents.com/largecom/fam_jw.html).) He was baptized,
      confirmed, and became a communicant in the Presbyterian church in a
      single ceremony 1953 February 1, just weeks after his first
      inauguration. He is the only president known to be baptized, or to be
      confirmed, or to become a communicant while in office. Eisenhower was
      instrumental in the addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of
      Allegiance in 1954, and the 1956 adoption of "In God We Trust" as the
      motto of the USA, and its 1957 introduction on paper currency. The
      chapel at his presidential library is intentionally inter-denominational.
      35. John F. Kennedy – Roman Catholic (MA)
      36. Lyndon Johnson – Disciples of Christ (TX)
      37. Richard Nixon – raised Quaker (CA)
      38. Gerald R. Ford – Episcopalian (NE/MI)
      39. Jimmy Carter – Baptist, born again (GA)
      * In 2000, Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention,
      disagreeing over the role of women in society. See [11]
      40. Ronald Reagan – Disciples of Christ (IL/CA)
      41. George H. W. Bush – Episcopalian (MA/CT/TX)
      42. Bill Clinton – Baptist (AR)
      43. George W. Bush – raised Episcopalian, at age 40 became
      Methodist, born again, religious teetotaler (CT/TX)


      List of Presidential religious affiliations (by religion)

      * Baptist
      o Warren Harding
      o Harry Truman
      o Jimmy Carter
      o Bill Clinton (Southern Baptist)

      * Congregationalist
      o Calvin Coolidge

      * Deist
      o George Washington
      o Thomas Jefferson
      o James Madison
      o James Monroe
      o John Tyler
      o Abraham Lincoln

      * Disciples of Christ
      o James Garfield
      o Lyndon Johnson
      o Ronald Reagan

      * Dutch Reformed
      o Martin Van Buren
      o Theodore Roosevelt

      * Episcopalian - the first 7 listed below were all from Virginia,
      where the Episcopal Church was the state church until 1786.
      o George Washington (primarily Deist)
      o Thomas Jefferson (primarily Deist)
      o James Madison (primarily Deist)
      o James Monroe (primarily Deist)
      o William Henry Harrison (planning on joining?)
      o John Tyler (primarily Deist)
      o Zachary Taylor (Deist?)
      o Franklin Pierce
      o Chester Arthur
      o Franklin D. Roosevelt
      o Gerald Ford
      o George H. W. Bush

      * Methodist
      o James Polk (originally Presbyterian)
      o Ulysses Grant (also listed as none known)
      o William McKinley
      o George W. Bush

      * Presbyterian
      o Andrew Jackson
      o James Polk (later Methodist)
      o James Buchanan
      o Grover Cleveland
      o Benjamin Harrison
      o Woodrow Wilson
      o Dwight D. Eisenhower (originally Jehovah's Witnesses)

      * Quaker
      o Herbert Hoover
      o Richard Nixon

      * Roman Catholic
      o John F. Kennedy

      * Jehovah's Witnesses
      o Dwight D. Eisenhower (later Presbyterian)

      * Unitarian - Unitarian Universalism is the religion generally
      associated today with those whose ideology developed from Deism.
      o John Adams
      o John Quincy Adams
      o Millard Fillmore
      o William Howard Taft

      * Presidents without affiliation
      o Abraham Lincoln
      o Andrew Johnson
      o Ulysses Grant (also listed as Methodist)
      o Rutherford Hayes
    • greg
      One of the possible Republicans presidential candidates I ve heard about running in 2008 is a Mormon, Mitt Romney the governor of Massachusetts. No Mormons on
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 12, 2005
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        One of the possible Republicans presidential candidates I've heard
        about running in 2008 is a Mormon, Mitt Romney the governor of
        Massachusetts. No Mormons on that list yet.
        --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
        > List of U.S. Presidential religious affiliations
      • Ram Lau
        A Mormon... why not a Buddhist? Ram
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 13, 2005
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          A Mormon... why not a Buddhist?


          --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "greg" <gregcannon1@y...> wrote:
          > One of the possible Republicans presidential candidates I've heard
          > about running in 2008 is a Mormon, Mitt Romney the governor of
          > Massachusetts. No Mormons on that list yet.
        • Greg Cannon
          Sounds lovely to me.
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 13, 2005
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            Sounds lovely to me.

            --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

            > A Mormon... why not a Buddhist?
            > Ram
            > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "greg"
            > <gregcannon1@y...> wrote:
            > > One of the possible Republicans presidential
            > candidates I've heard
            > > about running in 2008 is a Mormon, Mitt Romney the
            > governor of
            > > Massachusetts. No Mormons on that list yet.
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