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Closeted Religions in American Politics

Dating back to the Founding Fathers of America, religion and politics have gone hand and hand. Early presidents such as Washington, Madison, Monroe, all religiously identifying as Episcopalian. In fact, nearly half of presidents identify as Presbyterian or Episcopalian. Out of the 45 presidents of the United States, 43 of them have been formally affiliated within a church. Leaving the U.S. with two non-religious presidents. Two. Two over 228 years. Two over 58 presidential elections. Two over 45 presidents. Those two presidents being Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Both considerably up there for most influential presidents of all time.

In a 2014 poll by Pew Research, 53% of Americans stated that if an openly Atheist or Agnostic president ran, they would be negatively effected based on their beliefs towards religion. Even Jefferson and Lincoln, two presidents who had no religious affiliation, still never discussed publicly about their beliefs towards Atheism. That is understandable, America is a predominately (70%) Christian country. With only 22.8% identifying as “Nones,” or those with no religious affiliation. Out of the 22.8%, only 3.1% identify as Atheists. Atheists are the least likely religious group to be elected as president. That is a result of the stigma that comes along with the “satanic” word of Atheism.

Politicians like Bernie Sanders, Barney Frank and Jamie Raskin all have been questioned towards their belief of Atheism. Frank, who was part of Congress, came out as an Atheist, but only after he left office. Raskin, who won the Democratic Party in the Eight Congressional District of Maryland, is best known as a secular in his beliefs. Sanders, who is a secular Jew, lost in the presidential election of 2016. All three of these men, do identify as secular Jews, and prefer that label over “Atheists.” These politicians, although may or may not be atheists, still refuse to take part in the forbidden “A-word.”

Whether or not discriminatory Americans get over the “A-word,” or realize that Atheism is not a immoral lifestyle with the ultimate goal of Hell and meeting Satan; it is rather a paradox of belief. Simply put, it is a belief of non belief. Today, religious discrimination is everywhere and needs to be stopped. Even from those of the highest authority. Who knows, one day America could have an openly Atheist president, and the taboo of the “A-word” will cease to exist.

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Noah Bajek
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16 year old from Chicago, Illinois.

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