Church & the presidency

  • News
  • Thread starter gnome
  • Start date
  • #1
1,036
1
Is it possible for anyone who isn't seen going to church every Sunday to be elected president?

When's the last time that happened?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Evo
Mentor
23,153
2,794
gnome said:
Is it possible for anyone who isn't seen going to church every Sunday to be elected president?

When's the last time that happened?
Probably safe to say never, religion plays a huge part in presidential elections. I think more now than in the past, perhaps? I haven't read up that much on it, it will be interesting to find out.
 
  • #3
466
2
Jefferson probabally was the last one...

Though I could picture TR going off kayaking or something to find God instead of sitting in some stuffy building.
 
  • #4
kyleb
I'm pretty sure Lincoln wasn't an every Sunday type of guy, best I can tell he didn't even consider himself a Christian.
 
  • #5
russ_watters
Mentor
19,851
6,274
The US wants a "Sunday Christian" (protestant): someone who goes to church every Sunday, but only pays lip-service to it. Bush is more religious than most people are comfortable with (thats right, including conservatives). The last President we had with that problem was Kennedy. Kennedy was Catholic, and there was a question raised about his loyalty to the Vatican over the US, but people quickly realized he was just a "Sunday Christian" as well (with his lebido, how could he be anything else?).
 
  • #6
selfAdjoint
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
6,786
7
russ_watters said:
The US wants a "Sunday Christian" (protestant): someone who goes to church every Sunday, but only pays lip-service to it. Bush is more religious than most people are comfortable with (thats right, including conservatives). The last President we had with that problem was Kennedy. Kennedy was Catholic, and there was a question raised about his loyalty to the Vatican over the US, but people quickly realized he was just a "Sunday Christian" as well (with his lebido, how could he be anything else?).
I think that this is just about right, but I think the last president whose religion bothered the people was Carter, not Kennedy. Once they got used to the fact that a Catholic could be just a "Sunday Christian" too, they had no problems with Kennedy. But "Born Again Jimmy" set everybody's teeth on edge.
 
  • #7
1,036
1
russ_watters said:
The US wants a "Sunday Christian" (protestant): someone who goes to church every Sunday, but only pays lip-service to it. Bush is more religious than most people are comfortable with (thats right, including conservatives). The last President we had with that problem was Kennedy. Kennedy was Catholic, and there was a question raised about his loyalty to the Vatican over the US, but people quickly realized he was just a "Sunday Christian" as well (with his lebido, how could he be anything else?).
Kennedy's "problem", if that's the right word, was not that he was too religious but simply that he was a Catholic. I think, by the end of your post, that we agree on that. But are you sure that your first sentence is still true today?

Maybe I'm just becoming over-sensitive to it, but it has seemed that a great deal more importance has been attached to presidential candidates' religiousity in recent elections than used to be. Is this just an invention of the media, a ploy to sell "news". In fact, the media give the impression that American society is becoming more religious in general.

And yet, surveys like this
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=408
suggest the opposite.

So, are you sure that it's still the case that the majority want a president who only pays lip service to religion? If so, is it a stable, growing, or shrinking majority?

And either way, why do you suppose that an electorate among whom only a minority attend church regularly insists that the president do so.
 
  • #8
russ_watters
Mentor
19,851
6,274
selfAdjoint said:
I think that this is just about right, but I think the last president whose religion bothered the people was Carter, not Kennedy. Once they got used to the fact that a Catholic could be just a "Sunday Christian" too, they had no problems with Kennedy. But "Born Again Jimmy" set everybody's teeth on edge.
I didn't know that about Jimmy. He's in that nonexistent era between Nixon and Reagan, where I was too young (or not alive) to remember it and its too recent to teach in history class. :redface:
 
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
19,851
6,274
gnome said:
Kennedy's "problem", if that's the right word, was not that he was too religious but simply that he was a Catholic. I think, by the end of your post, that we agree on that. But are you sure that your first sentence is still true today?
Well, its certainly true that the majority of Americans don't want someone ultra-religious, but the majority of conservatives -- ehh, thats a little tougher. No, I'm not sure.
 
  • #10
SOS2008
Gold Member
24
1
This isn't directly about the presidency, but it is about top political leaders (which includes Frist who currently is third on the list of Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential elections). This thread stems from other threads about the media, but in regard to the general topic of the country becoming more conservative and my assertion that there is an agenda to turn our country into Jesusland, here is something I just saw: http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=p...ctrl=1241&JServSessionIdr001=xuoqjunqv1.app1b

Top congressional leaders have promised to push the Religious Right agenda on judicial nominations, church politicking, abortion, marriage and the Terri Schiavo case, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Americans United today released audiotapes of closed-door addresses by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to a Family Research Council (FRC) gathering March 17-18 at Washington, D.C.'s Willard Hotel. The pair talked about a range of political issues, using the Schiavo case as a springboard.

"Religious Right leaders are determined to run all of our lives, from the moment of conception through the end of life," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "And top congressional leaders are conspiring behind closed doors in Washington to help them do it. It's appalling.

"Frist and DeLay have wrapped sanctimonious language around political posturing," said Lynn. "They are using Mrs. Schiavo's personal tragedy in Florida to burnish their credentials with an increasingly powerful component of the Republican Party. It's a sad, cynical political ploy."
Then this article goes on to say:
…DeLay urged the gathering to contact lawmakers in both chambers to support legislation that would allow churches to become much more involved in partisan politicking. The Texas Republican blasted current federal tax law, which bars both secular and religious nonprofit groups from endorsing political candidates.
An agenda to remove separation of church and state could not be more clear. This should be making everyone, including conservative Republicans more than just a little uncomfortable. :surprised
 
  • #11
russ_watters
Mentor
19,851
6,274
SOS2008 said:
An agenda to remove separation of church and state could not be more clear.
Please expand: how does any of that infringe on the 1st amendment's establishment clause?

Or, failing that, could you explain what you mean by "separation of church and state" and explain how that jives with what Jefferson said about it (as I already requested)?

edit: oh wait, wrong thread. Could you respond in the thread we already have going instead of hijacking this one?
 
  • #12
1,036
1
[responding to SOS2008]:

That's no secret, but it's not the question I'm trying to address here. You're talking about people who do go to church every week (or who say they do).

I'm asking why people who do not attend church weekly, and who according to numerous surveys are still the majority, seem to require that their president must do so.
 
  • #13
SOS2008
Gold Member
24
1
gnome said:
[responding to SOS2008]:

That's no secret, but it's not the question I'm trying to address here. You're talking about people who do go to church every week (or who say they do).

I'm asking why people who do not attend church weekly, and who according to numerous surveys are still the majority, seem to require that their president must do so.
I'm responding by saying it's because these Americans who are fundamentalists (right-wing Christians) who want to remove separation of church and state (i.e., have government alignment with a specific religion, i.e., Christianity) elect presidents like Bush, and probably will therefore support future presidential candidates like Frist. They require this because there is an agenda they want to pursue, such as banning abortion, etc.

I meant to add: People who support Bush who do NOT go to church, are not as supportive as they use to be, and if they are, they aren't paying attention. This also was addressed under the separation of church and state thread, in which I said that the Republican Party is no longer the party for the weed-smoking, sexually liberal Republicans I know (though they themselves may not know it--at least not yet...).
 
Last edited:
  • #14
SOS2008
Gold Member
24
1
russ_watters said:
Please expand: how does any of that infringe on the 1st amendment's establishment clause?

Or, failing that, could you explain what you mean by "separation of church and state" and explain how that jives with what Jefferson said about it (as I already requested)?

edit: oh wait, wrong thread. Could you respond in the thread we already have going instead of hijacking this one?
Agreed my response may better fit in the thread on Separation of Church and State, however, I feel these topics are all related. The quote above is from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, for which I've gone ahead and explained what I feel is obvious (that these people support political leaders who take their side--i.e., government alignment with their religion).
 

Related Threads on Church & the presidency

  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
6
Replies
145
Views
17K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
69
Views
7K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
76
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
18
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Top