Presidential candidates have diverse religious backgrounds

Some people say religion and politics don’t mix.

I do.

So, I wanted to arm our readers with information about the Republicans and Democrats who are running (or about to run) for president.

Some may surprise you.


Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida

Bush converted from Episcopalianism to Roman Catholicism in 1995 and in 2004 he became a fourth degree Knight of Columbus.

Ben Carson

Carson was baptized at Burns Seventh-day Adventist church in Detroit. At one time, he was an affiliate professor at Oakwood College, a historically black, Seventh-day Adventist institution.

Gov. Chris Christi, New Jersey

Christie is a Roman Catholic who holds to the church’s positions against abortion and homosexual marriage.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas

He is a Southern Baptist and his father, Rafael Cruz (who was born in Cuba), is a pastor with Purifying Fire Ministries in Carrolton, Texas.

Former Gov. Bob Ehlich, Maryland

Ehlich is a Methodist.

Carly Fiorina

She was raised as an Episcopalian and her husband is Catholic. They are not connected formally to any denomination.

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore

Gilmore is a Methodist.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

Graham is a Southern Baptist. He is a member of Corinth Baptist Church in Seneca, South Carolina.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Arkansas

Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. A former staffer for televangelist James Robison, Huckabee was pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff and Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouchita Baptist University and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana

Jindal is a Roman Catholic. He was raised in a Hindu household and converted to Christianity while in Baton Rouge Magnet High School. He calls himself an “Evangelical Catholic.”

Gov. John Kasich, Ohio

Kasich is Anglican who was raised a Roman Catholic. He converted after his Catholic parents were killed in an auto accident in 1987.

Former Gov. George Pataki, New York

Pataki is a Roman Catholic who has opposed Catholic teaching by being pro-abortion and pro death penalty. He did oppose building a mosque at Ground Zero at the World Trade Center.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky

Paul attended Baylor University, a Southern Baptist school in Waco, Texas. He is a member of a Presbyterian church in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was raised an Episcopal but switched churches when he had a conversion experience in 1993.

Former Gov. Rick Perry, Texas

Perry grew up in the United Methodist Church but now he attends Lake Hills Church in Austin. It’s a nondenominational, evangelical church.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida

Rubio is a Roman Catholic but he attends Christ Fellowship, a Southern Baptist Church in West Kendall, Florida. His parents emigrated from Cuba.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania

Santorum is a Roman Catholic who is popular among Evangelicals. He has questioned the genuineness of President Obama’s claim to be a Christian.

Donald Trump

Trump is a Presbyterian. He may be a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, a Presbyterian denomination. He grew up in First Presbyterian Church in Queens.

Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin

Walker attends Meadowbrook Church, a nondenominational, Evangelical church in Wauwatosa. His father, Llew Walker, was pastor of a local Baptist church in Plainfield, Iowa. Llew Walker is retired.


Former Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York

Clinton is a member of the United Methodist Church. She has attended Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. Former President Bill Clinton is officially a Baptist (formerly a Southern Baptist).

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, Maryland

O’Malley is a Roman Catholic who attends St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Baltimore. He attended Jesuit Gonzaga College High School and got his undergraduate degree from The Catholic University of America.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont

Jewish by birth, Sanders describes himself as nonreligious. A left-leaning socialist, he scored a zero from Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. He is a supporter of Israel.

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island

Chafee is an Episcopalian who firmly believes in separation of church and state.

If you are keeping score, among the Republican hopefuls there are five Catholics  (Pataki, Santorum, Jindall, Christie and Rubio). Although, Rubio goes to a Baptist Church much of the time so I put him on the Catholic and Baptist lists.

That means there are four Baptists (Cruz, Graham, Huckabee and Rubio). But you could probably add Walker and Perry who go to nondenominational, Evangelical churches that probably share similar doctrine and mission statements with the Baptists, particularly the Southern Baptists.

Among Republicans, there are two Presbyterians (Paul and Trump), two Methodists (Ehlich and Gilmore) and two Episcopalians/Catholics (Bush and Fiorina). Kasich is the lone Anglican and Carson is a 7th Day Adventist (which I didn’t know before).

Among the Democrats, there is one Methodist (Clinton), on Jew (Sanders), one Catholic (O’Malley) and one Episcopalian (Chafee). (This sounds like the making of a “walk into a bar” joke but I shall refrain).

I hope this is helpful. I won’t make my decision on who to support solely on this information but it has helped me narrow my field.