This month, Oxford University Press will release “Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents” by Gary Scott Smith (Grove City College). The publisher’s description follows:
In his highly praised book Faith and the Presidency, Gary Scott Smith cast a revealing light on the role religion has played in presidential politics throughout our nation’s history, offering comprehensive, even-handed examinations of the role of religion in the lives, politics, and policies of eleven presidents.
Now, in Religion in the Oval Office, Smith takes on eleven more of our nation’s most interesting and influential chief executives: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Drawing on a wide range of sources and paying close attention to historical context and America’s shifting social and moral values, he examines their religious beliefs, commitments, affiliations, and practices and scrutinizes their relationships with religious leaders and communities. The result is a fascinating account of the ways in which religion has helped shape the course of our history. From John Quincy Adams’ treatment of Native Americans, to Harry Truman’s decision to recognize Israel, to Bill Clinton’s promotion of religious liberty and welfare reform, to Barack Obama’s policies on poverty and gay rights, Smith shows how strongly our presidents’ religious commitments have affected policy from the earliest days of our nation to the present.
Together with Faith and the Presidency, Religion in the Oval Office provides the most comprehensive examination of the inseparable and intriguing relationship between faith and the American presidency. This book will be invaluable to anyone interested in the presidency and the role of religion in politics.