The Pew Research Center just released a very interesting report on this general topic:
How important do Americans believe it is to have a President of the United States for whom religion is important?
Let’s start with how Americans see the faith of our current Chief Executives. Americans see President Trump and Vice President Pence very differently here. Only 35% of Americans see President Trump as religious, and 63% see him as not religious.
It is a very different matter with Vice President Pence. Seventy-two percent see him as religious and only 19% believe that he is not. These numbers break down as follows…
- Only 7% believe he is “very religious”
- 28% believe he is “somewhat religious”
- 23% say he is “not too religious”
- More, at 40%, say he is “not at all religious”
Vice President Pence
- 43% believe he is “very religious”
- 29% believe he is “somewhat religious”
- 13% say he is “not too religious”
- Only 6% say he is “not at all religious”
Should a President Have a Religious Faith?
When asked whether the President himself should hold strong religious beliefs, a slight majority think he should with 52% of Americans believing so, while 47% generally believe it is not important. Specifically…
- 20% said it is “very important” the President hold strong religious beliefs
- 32% said it is “somewhat important”
- 25% said it was “not too important”
- 22% said it was “not at all important”
When it comes to the desire for a President to hold the same faith as the respondent, a strong majority of Americans believe it is not important. Thirty-nine percent of Americans saying it is important while 60% say it’s not. The numbers fall as follows…
- 14% believe it is “very important” for the President to hold their religious beliefs
- 25% believe it is “somewhat important”
- 30% said it was either “not too important”
- 30% said it “not at all important”
A Moral and Ethical President?
Americans feel strongly that their President be both moral and ethical with 94% believing this is important. Curiously, 6% believe it is not important. While this is a relatively small number, one wonders who these people are that are not concerned with a President’s moral behavior.
Specifically, 63% believe that it is “very important” and only 1% believe it is “not important at all.” Thirty-one percent say it is “somewhat important” to them and only 5% said it was “not too important.”
Their President Defending Religious Rights and Beliefs
When asked if it is important for their President to “stand up for people with your religious beliefs,” the overwhelming majority (69%) said it was important to them while 31% said it was not.
- 38% said it was “very important” the he defend your religious rights and beliefs.
- 31% said “somewhat important”
- 18% said “not too important”
- 13% said “not important at all”
When talking about the faith of Presidents, it has nearly always been Christianity that is being discussed. So, it is worth noting that Christian beliefs are still seen as somewhat important to Americans when it comes to our nation’s leaders, even if those beliefs can tend to be merely cultural rather than deeply held and practiced daily.