Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
August 19, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton Office: 202-682-4131, Cell: 202-413-5639, E-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
“The candidates are as religiously diverse, confused and contradictory as the American people as a whole.”
-Mark Tooley, IRD President
Washington, DC—Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump regularly disagree, but their dueling campaigns share a mutual acknowledgement of the importance of religious faith in public life.
Both candidates have spoken of the influence of Mainline Protestant Christianity in their youth, and both candidates, reluctant to ever acknowledge wrongdoing, have cited their religious faith as a source of strength as they seek to avoid projecting weakness.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“The 2016 presidential campaign offers a fascinating window into American religiosity.
“Hillary Clinton is a lifelong Methodist deeply shaped by 1960s Social Gospel activism that’s now receding in her globalizing denomination. Donald Trump is a nominal Presbyterian shaped in his youth by Norman Vincent Peale’s ‘power of positive thinking.’ Tim Kaine is a lifelong active Catholic and former missionary who politically rejects his church’s teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage. Mike Pence is a Catholic turned Evangelical who appeals to social conservatives but disappointed them in Indiana’s battle over religious freedom legislation.
“In short the candidates are as religiously diverse, confused and contradictory as the American people as a whole. But their stories evince that religion and Christianity remain powerful forces in American culture and politics, which is both encouraging and troubling. Who is elected may depend on how various religious demographics align.”Google+