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Examining faith and politics in the 2024 presidential race

This story was originally published by Religion Unplugged.

President Biden and Donald Trump clinched their respective parties’ presidential nominations on Tuesday night, setting up a 2016 general election rematch.

The outcome in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington state was never in doubt as both Biden and Trump cruised to victory.

Neither Biden, a Democrat, or Trump, a Republican, faced major opposition after a number of challengers had dropped out in recent weeks.

Following the outcome of the recent Super Tuesday primaries earlier this month, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley suspended her presidential primary bid. She had been the last candidate in the GOP primary.

Biden, in a statement, said he was honored to become his party’s presumptive nominee. He warned that “freedom and democracy” remain at risk and that Trump poses a threat to America.

“Voters now have a choice to make about the future of our country,” Biden said.

Trump, meanwhile, shot back at the president in a video, telling supporters “we have to get to work to beat Joe Biden. … This vote is going to be the most important vote you’ve ever cast.”

Biden, 81, defeated Trump in 2020 to become just the second Catholic president — behind John F. Kennedy — in U.S. history.

The 77-year-old Trump faces several legal hurdles in the coming months that may also dampen his chances of retaking the White House after winning the presidency in 2016 and losing to Biden four years ago.

Here’s a guide to the candidates, their religious affiliation and a notable statement they have made about faith:


TrumpDonald Trump

Former president of the United States

Age: 77

Religion: Raised Presbyterian, now a nondenominational Christian

Bio: Trump is a real-estate mogul who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Despite a myriad of legal issues and the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, Trump remains the GOP’s frontrunner for the nomination.

On religion: “I grew up going to church with my family in New York City. My parents taught me the importance of faith and prayer from a young age. Though I was confirmed at a Presbyterian church as a child, I now consider myself to be a nondenominational Christian.”


BidenJoe Biden 

President of the United States

Age: 81

Religion: Catholic

Bio: Biden is the 46th and current president of the United States. An ideologically moderate member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 under President Barack Obama and represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. He is only the second Catholic in American history — after John F. Kennedy in 1960 — to occupy the White House.

On religion: “Like so many people, my faith has been the bedrock foundation of my life: it’s provided me comfort in moments of loss and tragedy; it’s kept me grounded and humbled in times of triumph and joy.”


RFKRobert F. Kennedy Jr. 

Activist, lawyer and political commentator

Age: 69

Religion: Catholic

On religion: Known by his initials RFK Jr., Kennedy is an environmental lawyer who is against vaccines. He is the chairman and founder of Children’s Health Defense, an anti-vaccine advocacy group. A former member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy is now an independent candidate for president and hopes to follow in the footsteps of JFK.

On religion: “Getting us to hate each other is all part of the scam Our nation’s renewal is going to begin when we start to treat each other with respect.”


SteinJill Stein

Green Party nominee

Age: 73

Religion: Jewish

Bio: A doctor and an activist, Stein was the Green Party’s nominee for president of the United States in the 2012 and 2016 elections. She was also the Green-Rainbow Party’s candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010.

On religion: “I have a lot of respect for many religions and spiritual traditions. I feel I am very much culturally Jewish — I was raised Jewish, though I am not actively a practicing Jew.”


WestCornel West

Professor, author and political commentator

Age: 70

Religion: Christian

Bio: The grandson of a Baptist minister, West’s primary philosophy focuses on the roles of race, gender and class struggle in American society. A self-proclaimed socialist, West draws his ideology from several traditions, including Christianity and left-wing populism. Among his most influential books are “Race Matters,” published in 1993, and “Democracy Matters” in 2004.

On religion: “White brothers and sisters, brown, red, or yellow — they are capable of transformation. Salvation is not in our hands, anyway.”


OliverChase Oliver

Libertarian Party nominee

Age: 38

Religion: Christian

Bio: A political activist, sales account executive and HR representative, Oliver was the Libertarian Party nominee for the 2022 U.S. Senate race in Georgia and in the 2020 Georgia’s 5th congressional district special election.

On religion: “I do want to clear up a misconception I am seeing online. Being LGBTQ does not mean you are anti-Christian or oppose religion in general. There are many LGBTQ people with a deep faith in the gospel, myself included. Don’t question people’s faith if you don’t know them.”

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