Religion is a hot button topic in the United States when it comes to presidents. From George Washington right up to Barack Obama, the president’s religious beliefs have been a source of controversy, conflict and outright lying. A recent Pew Research Poll that showed more and more Americans (now an astounding 18% of them) believe President Obama is a Muslim. This perception continues to grow, despite the fact that Obama’s 20-year affiliation with The United Church of Christ and the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright was his presidential campaign’s first major setback.
This is not the first time a president has been associated with an unpopular religion, despite the fact that he does not practice it. Rumors that Abraham Lincoln was a secret Roman Catholic were quite popular during the years before the Civil War. Catholicism has long dealt with a second class status in the United States, mostly likely due to the overwhelming popularity of Protestantism in early America. This might seem odd now as this religious organization makes up the largest sect of Christianity in the United States. Roman Catholics make up the largest group of Christians in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Florida, New Mexico, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Washington, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri Wyoming and Oregon. With 68 million plus members, roughly 23% of the population, Catholics have only been represented by one President, John F. Kennedy, making them the least represented religious organization in U.S. history.