The 2016 Presidential Election has been full of nontraditional and unpredictable surprises. From Hilary Clinton’s email scandal, which the public first became aware of in March of 2015, to Donald Trump’s announcement he was running for president just three months after, and then fast-forward to now, the race has turned into hostile and distasteful politics—creating one of the most divisive elections in history, even within party lines.
Although both candidates have markedly different backgrounds, as well as divergent views on future plans, policies and issues, Clinton and Trump share the same religious beliefs. Both identify themselves as Christians, as did Barack Obama and all former U.S. presidents. However, to what extent each presidential nominee believes is unclear since the information we see are from public statements made mostly during interviews or rallies and not behind closed doors.
During a rally in Knoxville, Iowa, when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was asked about her beliefs, she answered by saying, “I am a person of faith. I am a Christian. I am a Methodist.” She also referred to Jesus’ Sermon on Mount on the need to help the poor and added that “there is much to be learned and I have been very disappointed and sorry that Christianity, which has such great love at its core, is sometimes used to condemn so quickly and judge so harshly.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is also a Christian who described himself as “Presbyterian and Protestant.” However, his religious beliefs are less expressed and less known. In an interview on June 24th with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, a popular figure in the evangelical set, he stated that Trump recently became born again. “I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian,” Dobson said. He also added, “You gotta cut him some slack. He didn’t grow up like we did.”
Trump has refrained from mentioning any favorite passages in the Bible unlike Clinton, and has been criticized for it, but in a recent NPR article that details a little more about Trump’s faith background reveals he was baptized and confirmed at a Presbyterian church in Queens, New York, where he grew up. He has also said that a Bible given to him by his mother when he was young is “very special to me.”
A survey conducted at the beginning of this year about faith and politics in the 2016 Presidential Election from the Pew Research Center reveals that many Republicans want a president who shares their religious belief, but fewer see Trump as being religious.
A more recent survey conducted in July shows Trump with a large advantage among evangelical Protestant voters, and Clinton among black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics. The latest polls show that Clinton is leading the race almost by double digits after Sunday’s second debate due to a new Trump tape revealing indecency.