Much of the attention paid to Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign has to do with the s-word: Can a socialist be elected president? How much of a socialist is he? What exactly is socialism?
What many haven't picked up on is that a Sanders presidency would be a first in a couple other ways. First, Sanders would be our first Jewish president. And second, while Sanders is culturally Jewish, he has said that he's "not particularly religious" and has been described by some as agnostic. Labels aside, what we do know is that he would be our first president who hasn't publicly professed to a belief in God.Blake quotes a Pew writeup:
Two of the most famous presidents in American history had no formal religious affiliation. The first, Thomas Jefferson, lost his faith in orthodox Christianity at an early age, but continued to believe in an impersonal God as the creator of the universe. Jefferson famously edited the New Testament by removing references to the miracles and leaving in Jesus’ teachings.
The second, Abraham Lincoln, was raised in a religious household and spoke frequently about God (particularly as president), but never joined a church. Scholars have long debated Lincoln’s beliefs, including the question of whether or not he was a Christian, and some aspects of his faith remain a mystery.
Lincoln is not the only president for whom there is some uncertainty surrounding his affiliation and beliefs. Some presidents were more private than others about their religious leanings and some may have evolved in their beliefs during their life.Fifty percent of Americans would not vote for a socialist for president and forty percent would not vote for an atheist. An agnostic? We don't know...