If Mitt Romney wins and becomes our nation’s 45th president, would he be our most religious president of all?
Romney’s faith and prominence in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are well known. His detractors worry that he would bring too much religion to the White House. But his role in the LDS church is a complex matter and today’s question is debatable.
Slate.com says: No, Mitt Romney wouldn’t be the most religious president we’ve ever had, according to historians consulted by Slate.com. Who do you suppose was the most religious?
The most religious president we’ve ever had is our 39th—Jimmy Carter. The peanut farmer from Georgia openly proclaimed that he was born again. Like Romney, he had gone on a mission, knocking on doors and attempting to make conversions. He banned alcohol in the White House. Carter still preaches today in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Other especially devout presidents include James Garfield and John Quincy Adams. John Quincy’s devotion was something of an enigma to his father, John Adams. The elder Adams, our second president, was also devout but not the extent of his son.
But former TIME magazine religion writer Richard Ostling says: Yes, Romney is distinctively religious because of his leadership in his church. In August, ReadTheSpirit published an in-depth interview with Ostling about his book exploring the church and the Romney family as well. Here’s the key distinction Ostling makes about Mitt’s religious status: “At one point, he was a bishop. Compared with other Christian denominations, that term is used a little differently in the LDS church. “Bishop” means that he was a part-time, pastor-leader of a congregation. He also was the head of his stake, which is a term for a regional body that’s roughly similar to a diocese or a district in a Protestant group. … His devotion to the faith was regarded as without exception from the Latter-day Saint perspective. If he is elected, it would be like electing a clergyman to the presidency.”
If Carter was our most religious president, then who was our least religious? Two men tie for that honor, according to the Slate.com article. James Monroe and Ulysses S. Grant appear to be the least religious of all our presidents.
Do you think that Romney would be our most religious president?
Does Carter deserve the Number 1 spot on the most-religious list?
Does it matter to you if a president brings strong faith to the highest office?
Please, leave a Comment below.
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.