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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Presidential religions

Presidents whose religions I've known:

  • Obama: Christian
  • Bush 2: I don't know
  • Clinton: I don't know
  • Bush 1: I don't know
  • Reagan: I don't know
  • Carter: Baptist (I think)
  • Nixon: Quaker
  • Johnson: I don't know
  • Kennedy: Catholic
  • Eisenhower: I don't know
  • Before them: I don't go back that far

Of the ones I listed, did I get any wrong? Am I uninformed for not knowing so many religions of our past presidents? Maybe. Is it really that important for any of us to know? Not even.

How do we know what religion any president is? We know Richard Nixon was a Quaker because the media made sure we knew. Why? Possibly because most people don't know much about Quakers. Why do we know Kennedy was Catholic? Well, I was pretty young, but I vaguely recall hearing he was our first Catholic president. So, that was something.

And now 18% of Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Why? With the other presidents whose religions I've known, I've only known them because the media made sure they got it right. But for some reason the media hasn't so thoroughly detailed Obama's religion so that people would know.

Posted by Marie at August 19, 2010 11:16 PM


Of the presidents whose religions I don't know, I'm 100% certain they were all some variety of Christian. Because if they were Jewish, Hindu, atheist, etc., the media would have been all over that and we'd all know.

Perhaps in the case of Obama, certain media is quite satisfied in letting people think the wrong thing.

Posted by: Marie Carnes Author Profile Page at August 19, 2010 11:59 PM

The thing is, it's a rule. 20% of America believes (x), where (x) is whatever you want.

There was an NPR "On the Media" segment I heard recently which discussed "Media Numbers." Ever notice how (Y) affects 50,000 Americans? It's a media number. It's not so large as to be ludicrous, and yet it's not so small that problem (Y) can be discounted as insignificant.

While it didn't specifically touch on the 20% issue, it seems to me that 20% seems to be a driving number when you talk about [Obama is Muslim|Bush was in on 9/11|Moon Landing is fake|etc].

What I think is most astonishing about the whole thing (and what disgusts me about "certain media" along with certain others) is that this is getting more air than the massive withdrawal of troops from Iraq. (quotes around withdrawal optional)

And your comment is correct insofar as I know -- all except Kennedy, who is specifically Catholic and IDK why that's a distinction in the books but it was when I was growing up, and there's a run-on sentence for ya.

Also, for some reason nowadays (Probably mostly to discount Christianity, because it's out of vogue right now) the founding fathers aren't "Christians" anymore, they're "Deists." Not that it changes actual history or impacts anything, but as that era's discussion in history gets smaller and smaller it's going to be interesting... what will our grandchildren be taught?

And IDK how I got to rambling like this. I promise that I'm sober.

Posted by: ben Author Profile Page at August 20, 2010 1:11 AM

Oops, I left out our beloved Gerald Ford, but I don't know his religion either.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Ben.

Posted by: Marie Carnes Author Profile Page at August 20, 2010 5:48 PM

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