This discussion on the faith of President-elect Barack Obama is the first of a two-part video series with W&M Professor David Holmes on the faiths of the modern U.S. presidents. Part two will address presidents from Truman to George W. Bush. – Ed.
Although most are publicly faithful, are the private faiths of U.S. presidents as strong? For years Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies David Holmes has studied this and other questions about the faiths of American presidents. Holmes is the author of The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (Oxford, 2006) and in more recent years has studied the modern presidents, including President-elect Barack Obama.
He sat down recently with the William & Mary News to discuss the private and public role of faith among some of the most powerful men in the world. On the eve of the Inauguration of the nation's 44th president, Holmes talked about Obama's own faith and the first family's selection of a church in their new home.
“A couple of things have seemed clear to me,” Holmes noted. “One is that [Obama] is genuinely a Christian. Any stories about Islam and Islamic background are just that, stories.”