As new candidates announce their bid in the 2016 presidential race, we examine the religious beliefs of the leading contenders for America’s next president.
Many Americans find it helpful to know what religions their presidential candidates believe. A lot of the current presidential candidates are Roman Catholic, however others branch out and have a wide, interesting religious history; although all of them identify as Christian of some denomination, unsurprisingly. Knowing their religious beliefs can help us understand many of their political positions.
Hillary Clinton claims Methodist as her religion, and is one of the top presidential candidates for the Democratic party. According to her website, faith “is deeply personal and real” to her, and there is little evidence against that statement. She said that she was raised with God. She has taken the media by storm with her platform based primarily around the rights of the LGBT community. According to the Human Rights Campaign, she announced her support in 2013. She has support from the Log Cabin Republic, a well-known LGBT republican group, who have presented 9 questions on hers, and other Republican presidential candidates, thoughts and opinions of the different laws that have made things difficult for the LGBT community.
Marco Rubio is a Florida Senator, and he has an intimate past with religion. He began his life as a Catholic to Cuban refugee parents. His family raised him Catholic, however when they moved, it was to a primarily Mormon area. He was baptized under the Church of the Latter Day Saints. He later converted back to Roman Catholicism, however he splits his Sundays between Mass and sermons at the Christ Fellowship in Miami. He believes that creationism should be taught in school along with evolution as origin theories. He alienated some Atheists after declaring that faith in God “is the most important American value of all.”
He is unafraid to let his religious beliefs influence his political stances. For example, Rubio walks a tightrope between ‘traditional’ marriage and LGBT rights saying that he is against it “not because I seek to discriminate against people who love someone of the same sex” but because he feels that marriage between “one man and one woman is a special relationship” that “deserves to be elevated in our laws.”
An eye surgeon from Kentucky, Rand Paul is also the Senator. He is a serious Christian, however he admits he struggles with his faith on a daily basis. He feels believing is sometimes difficult after watching “small children dying from brain tumors”. However, he openly asked God’s help in winning the presidential election. Paul told CNN on Sunday that he feels there’s a religious aspect to marriage that shouldn’t be taken into consideration when it comes to LGBT marriage “contracts”. He wants to “preserve” the “religious connotation of marriage that has been going on for thousands of years.” He feels you “could have both traditional marriage, which I believe in, and then you could also have the neutrality of the law that allows people to have contracts with one another.”
Jeb Bush, or John Ellis Bush, is a dedicated Catholic. However, he wasn’t always that way. Born in Texas, he did a semester abroad in Leon, Mexico. While working with the poor, he met and fell in love with a woman who he chose to marry. They raised a family together in Florida, where his children were baptized Catholics. However, it wasn’t until he was 43 that he took the RCIA to convert to Catholicism. Close friends, such as Tim Towey, say he isn’t a “showy Catholic”, but it’s clear that he is passionate about the religion.
Ted Cruz is a proclaimed Southern Baptist. In the first ad of the presidential election season, he displays his beliefs for the world to see. He primarily targeted religious families, and had the ad run over a weekend before the first contests in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. It showed families praying together over dinner, along with the Cruz family. Over these images, Cruz’s voice could be heard saying, “were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household.” Ted Cruz was born to “lapsed Catholics”. His father became reborn when he was young.