A Private and Enigmatic Faith
Richard Nixon was raised in a devout Quaker home, claimed to be converted to Christ as a teenager, attended church fairly frequently for much of his life, had a close relationship with Billy Graham, held worship services in the White House, and repeatedly stressed the importance of spirituality and morality. Nevertheless, while numerous scholars have discussed Nixon’s Quaker upbringing and its influence on his personality, few have paid much attention to the role religion played in Nixon’s political life, especially his campaign for world peace. His very private, complicated, perplexing personality makes Nixon’s faith hard to decipher. Nixon’s calculating, conniving, often ruthless conduct has understandably prompted extensive doubt about whether his religious profession was genuine. Nixon’s personality and actions as president lead many to view his extensive use of pious and moral language simply as a ploy to appeal to religiously-committed citizens, promote his policies, and win votes.
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