“I do not believe in the Divinity of Christ”

So said Unitarian William Howard Taft some time before he was elected President.

Would he have been electable now?

H/t Andrew Sullivan

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8 Responses to “I do not believe in the Divinity of Christ”

  1. oft says:

    Why not? Obama is a unitarian.

  2. Sam Schulman says:

    WHT didn’t think he would be electable either – refused to contemplate running at all. So what’s the big deal- since we are much more tolerant now. The only resistance would be to a a full-fledged atheist – and we are not denying ourselves any real talent with that taboo.

  3. CONSVLTVS says:

    He probably wouldn’t be electable, but then again he couldn’t be a Unitarian today. Today’s Unitarians are tolerant of every group except Republicans.

  4. B.B. says:

    Well, we currently have an agnostic as president. Although he did run as a Christian.

  5. Polichinello says:

    Unitarians don’t have guys on bikes badgering you to join their church, as the Mormons do. It’s really offputting, even more than some co-worker trying to witness to you. My wife had to emphatically brush off a pair coming back from dropping off my kid at school. They also don’t have a recent history of polygamy (including a number of extant sects) along with a number of less than transparent rituals.

    I don’t agree with Jeffress using a charged term like “cult”, but there are some differences that go beyond a bald rejection of trinitarian theology, and I say this as someone who’s reluctantly going along with Romney’s candidacy.

  6. John says:

    He probably wouldn’t be electable now, but how much of that difference is religiosity vs. technology? Did most Americans know that he said it? (I’m not trying to be snarky–does anyone know the answer?) Nowadays anything a candidate says anywhere gets instantly broadcast through the net. I imagine politicians have to be more careful today than in Taft’s time. It might be even worse in the future.

  7. Susan says:

    I think Taft made the comment in a letter to a relative, so the point may be moot. He probably wouldn’t have expressed the same sentiment in any public forum.

  8. Acilius says:

    Taft wrote that in a letter to the trustees of Yale University, explaining why he couldn’t accept the post of dean at Yale Law School. So while US politicians may be required to show more deference to orthodox Christianity now than they were a century ago, obviously there are many other fields in which religious opinions are less likely to disqualify a person for advancement.

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