According to the Pew Research Center, almost all of the United States presidents have called themselves Christians. And half of them were Episcopalian or Presbyterian, including current President Donald Trump.
Though presidents are not required to adhere to any religion in order to be elected to the highest office in the land, a large majority of them have clung to religion and the Bible as they rose to the top, according to Fox News.
The largest group represented is Episcopalian with 11 presidents including H.W. Bush, Ford, F. Roosevelt, Arthur, Pierce, Taylor, Tyler, W. Harrison, Monroe, Madison, and Washington.
Following the Episcopalians are Presbyterians. Trump claims to adhere to this denomination, calling it a “wonderful religion.” He’s joined with Reagan, Eisenhower, Wilson, B. Harrison, Cleveland, Buchanan, Polk, and Jackson.
Baptists, Unitarians, Methodists, non-denominational Christians, and Disciples of Christ have smaller amounts.
Clinton, Carter, Truman, and Hardin were all Baptists and tied in number with the Unitarians, which included Taft, Fillmore, Q. Adams, and Adams.
The Methodists were W. Bush, McKinley, and Grant; meanwhile, Obama, Hayes, and A. Johnson held non-denominational Christian views. And, L. Johnson and Garfield were Disciples of Christ.
Only two presidents were Quakers: Hoover and Nixon. And, Van Buren and T. Roosevelt followed Dutch Reformed beliefs.
Presidents alone in their categories include Coolidge as a Congregationalist and Kennedy as a Roman Catholic.
No self-defined atheist has become president, but many denominations have changed throughout the years. Perhaps most recently is the Methodist church as it has become embroiled with splits over LGBTQ debates.
Lincoln and Jefferson are the only two without a formal affiliation. Lincoln’s views on God have sparked controversy. In his early years, he was known as the “village atheist,” as reported by Fox News. But after receiving a Bible during his time as president, he said, “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it, we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Richard McMillin
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.