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The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From…

The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama (George H.…

by David L. Holmes

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I only had the time to skip around in this book as most of the chapters are long and some of them dry - heard he is a great speaker may try to find him locally and hear about the rest! ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
David L. Holmes, professor emeritus of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary, discusses the religious beliefs and practices of the twelve post World War II presidents, devoting a chapter to each president. He describes how their backgrounds including their early lives and marriages impacted the religion of each president. He shows how strong or weak each president was religiously and examines presidential behaviors which were or were not in line with their professed beliefs. He explains the impact the presidents’ religious practices on the country at the time of their presidency. The longest chapter is devoted to Obama since the popular view of many people that he is a Muslim is discredited and the Jeremiah Wright situation is explained, both in detail.

I would have preferred a final chapter summarizing and comparing the religious practices of the presidents instead of just a final paragraph at the end of the Obama chapter. ( )
  sallylou61 | Sep 26, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0820338621, Hardcover)

The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, an acclaimed look at the spiritual beliefs of such iconic Americans as Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson, established David L. Holmes as a measured voice in the heated debate over the new nation’s religious underpinnings. With the same judicious approach, Holmes now looks at the role of faith in the lives of the twelve presidents who have served since the end of World War II.

Holmes examines not only the beliefs professed by each president but also the variety of possible influences on their religious faith, such as their upbringing, education, and the faith of their spouse. In each profile close observers such as clergy, family members, friends, and advisors recall churchgoing habits, notable displays of faith (or lack of it), and the influence of their faiths on policies concerning abortion, the death penalty, Israel, and other controversial issues.

Whether discussing John F. Kennedy’s philandering and secularity or Richard Nixon’s betrayal of Billy Graham’s naïve trust during Watergate, Holmes includes telling and often colorful details not widely known or long forgotten. We are reminded, for instance, how Dwight Eisenhower tried to conceal the background of his parents in the Jehovah’s Witnesses and how the Reverend Cotesworth Lewis’s sermonizing to Lyndon Johnson on the Vietnam War was actually not a left- but a right-wing critique.

National interest in the faiths of our presidents is as strong as ever, as shown by the media frenzy engendered by George W. Bush’s claim that Jesus was his favorite political philosopher or Barack Obama’s parting with his minister, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Holmes’s work adds depth, insight, and color to this important national topic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:31 -0400)

Looks at the role of faith in the lives of the twelve presidents who have served since the end of World War II, examining not only the beliefs professed by each president but also the variety of possible influences on their religious faith.

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