The Presidential Religion Parade (so far)

And then there were four … hats in the ring, that is. In order of appearance, they include: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio. No surprises … all were expected.  

It is interesting, and sometimes instructive, to know the religious backgrounds of candidates … or at least their formal affiliations. It’s not that religion should be a determinant or disqualifier for someone’s vote. What should be included in a voter’s calculus is a candidate’s character (insofar as it is possible to judge it), his or her experience and policy positions.  But if the person is seriously religious (e.g., Mike Huckabee), it can give clues to the reasons for their policy positions. 

And it can also provide trends. One thing is clear looking at this year’s crop of hopefuls: being Roman Catholic is so unimportant that it’s not even mentioned in the media. No fewer than six Republicans and two Democrats claim that as their affiliation. Still, the only Jewish candidate is the Democrat Bernie Sanders. 

Here’s a list of the contenders (those with an asterisk have announced; others have professed interest).


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  • *Ted Cruz: Southern Baptist
  • *Rand Paul:  Presbyterian, formerly Episcopalian
  • *Marco Rubio: Roman Catholic, once baptized Mormon, sometimes attends a Southern Baptist church, today claims Catholicism
  • Jeb Bush: Roman Catholic as of 1995 (Episcopalian before that)
  • Chris Christie: Roman Catholic
  • Carly Fiorina: raised Episcopalian; self-described irregular churchgoer
  • Mike Huckabee: Southern Baptist
  • Lindsay Graham: Southern Baptist
  • Bobby Jindal:  Roman Catholic
  • George Pataki: Roman Catholic
  • Rick Perry: non-denominational Evangelical
  • Rick Santorum: Roman Catholic
  • Donald Trump: Presbyterian
  • Scott Walker: Evangelical Christian; non-denominational


  • *Hillary Clinton: Methodist
  • Lincoln Chaffee: Episcopalian
  • Martin O’Malley: Roman Catholic
  • James Webb: non-denominational Christian
  • Joe Biden: Roman Catholic
  • Bernie Sanders: Judaism 



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