What are the religious beliefs of the 7 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates?

Aside from their political goals or platforms, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are also scrutinized on a personal level. And part of this public scrutiny is on their individual faith especially as to how each candidate tries to imbibe his or her religious values towards government and public service. Since a number of candidates don’t want to talk about their faith openly or publicly, here’s a short guide on the candidates’ religion and set of personal beliefs.

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Jeb Bush) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Jeb Bush) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jeb Bush

Though the Bush family is essentially Christian, each member belongs to a different church. Jeb Bush is a Catholic convert, his father George H.W. is Episcopalian, his mother Barbara is Presbyterian, and his brother George W. is evangelical.

Jeb Bush joined the Catholic Church in 1995 after a first failed try at Florida’s governorship. After years of contemplation, Bush said that Catholic values and teachings have resonated with him remarking that he “loved the absolute nature of the Catholic Church.” Bush is noted to govern according to his faith and beliefs. But if there’s one issue that he is indifferent with the Church, it’s his support for death penalty. He also supports religious freedom and is a firm believer of traditional marriages.

Ben Carson

Ben Carson has been baptized twice as member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His latter baptism was at the age of 12 when he could already “grasp” his religion. And although he is a dedicated member of his church, he considers relationship with God as more fundamental than membership to any religious denomination.

The neurosurgeon who admitted praying before and after every operation became more popular after his 2013 National Prayer Breakfast speech. He strongly criticized the need for constant political correctness in most issues. He is a firm believer of religious freedom including the freedom to exercise it whether politically correct or not. But when it comes to Islam or a Muslim becoming a president, he cites that it would be inconsistent with the constitution.

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton’s life and actions in and out of the Whitehouse are influenced by her family and the Methodist Church where she belongs. Much of her speeches about faith and religion revolved around her advocacy on human rights, children, women and social justice. For Clinton, the most important religious commandment is to love God, abide by Christ’s teachings, and to love other people or one’s neighbors. But in her desire to promote women’s rights, she often stresses the need to change Christian codes to accommodate certain issues like abortion.

Ted Cruz

Perhaps the most religiously identifiable man in the 2016 Election is evangelical Christian Ted Cruz who is also the son of a migrant pastor. In all of his campaign speeches, he never fails to invoke the name of God. He also strongly supports the conservative Christian views on most political and social issues like immigration, gun control, same sex marriage, on Obamacare, etc. But even if is he popular for being a devote Christian, he is also criticized for his strong Zionist views.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio had to experience three different Christian denominations. He was born and baptized Catholic, has joined the Mormons for three years, has frequented the Southern Baptist Church and eventually made a final decision to practice Catholicism. But the good thing about Rubio is that he maintained that relationship with these churches.

He believes in the church’s teachings except when it comes to the Catholic views on climate change and the origins of earth where he expresses his leaning towards science. He also maintains traditional Christian views on social issues like same-sex-marriage and abortion.

By Phil Roeder from Des Moines, IA, USA (Bernie Sanders at Roosevelt High School) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Phil Roeder from Des Moines, IA, USA (Bernie Sanders at Roosevelt High School) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bernie Sanders

If ever elected, Bernie Sanders will be the first non-religious president of the U.S. He came from a Jewish-Polish family who escaped the Holocaust during World War II. Though born and raised as Jewish, he considers himself Jewish only on the cultural or traditional sense. Sanders has strong socialist views especially in the promotion of common welfare. Though non-religious, he is spiritual and often follows multi-faith values and norms like Confucius’ Golden Rule. And surprisingly, one of Sanders’ idols is Pope Francis whom he admires for promoting the welfare of the greater people especially the poor.

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump

Final one on the list is Donald Trump who is a Presbyterian or conservative “Christian” although most people are still not sold with such idea. Trump has used religion and God in almost all his campaign events. He also used religion to attack rival candidates or in addressing certain issues like immigration and terrorism. According to Trump; he attends church services regularly, his favorite book is the bible, often reads it and has a collection of it. But everyone knows Trump as the number one enemy of Islam in the U.S. often describing the religion as evil.

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