U.S. presidents and their faiths

  • David HolmesFrom Obama to Kennedy, what have been the private and public faiths of modern American presidents? For almost a decade, Professor of Religious Studies David Holmes has studied this and other questions about the faiths of American presidents.

    David Holmes

This is the second of a two-part series from an interview on the faiths of the modern U.S. presidents with David L. Holmes, Mason Professor of Religious Studies. – Ed.

From Obama to Kennedy, what have been the private and public faiths of modern American presidents?  For almost a decade, Professor of Religious Studies David Holmes has studied this and other questions about the faiths of American presidents.

 "If we look at one of the most genuinely religious figures, where what you see is what you get, in recent American history that person would be Gerald Ford," he said of the nation's 38th president.

Holmes sat down recently with the William and Mary News to discuss the private and public role of faith among some of the most powerful men in the world.

Holmes has taught at William and Mary since 1965. His dedication to and excellence in his craft has been  recognized by numerous teaching honors including  the Society of the Alumni Faculty Service Award (1997), the Outstanding Faculty Award of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1996) and the Thomas Ashley Graves Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching (W&M, 1993). He also received the college's Thomas Jefferson Award in 2008, an award presented annually to a member of the William & Mary family for significant service through his or her personal activities, influence and leadership.

Holmes is the author or editor of several significant books, including the much-acclaimed The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (Oxford University Press, 2006), and has been a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias. Indeed, he has tallied more than 40 contributions to refereed volumes and an equal number of entries in more popular publications.