Over at The Washington Post, Yonat Shimron examines the religious affiliations of the member of Biden’s cabinet. Here is a taste:
President Biden’s Cabinet is set to make history in a number of ways.
If all the nominees he has chosen are confirmed, the Cabinet — including the vice president, the heads of 15 executive departments and eight other key positions — will be the most racially and ethnically diverse ever. Among them are six African Americans, four Hispanics, three Asian Americans and one Native American.
Half the nominees are women — the most ever nominated for a presidential Cabinet.
In terms of their religious backgrounds, the Cabinet nominees are also diverse. Like Biden, the majority — at least eight — are Catholic.
But five Jews have also been nominated, two Black Baptists and, if the surgeon general is included (often not), two Hindus. (A handful of Cabinet picks do not appear to identify with any religion.)
I talked to Yonat for this story. She asked specifically about why Biden does not have an evangelical Christians in his cabinet. Here is what I said:
“Most evangelicals tend to lean Republican,” said John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah University.
And while White evangelicals could legitimately critique the omission, Fea said they probably won’t notice because, in their eyes, “an evangelical Democrat is not an evangelical, anyway.”
Frankly, it is doubtful that Biden thought about evangelical Christians when he set out to create the most diverse cabinet in U.S. history. Evangelical Christians make-up roughly 25% of the U.S. population. One might think that a president concerned about diversity would consider this. Of course, as I noted in the piece, qualified evangelicals are hard to find. But they are out there. What about civil rights activist Bryan Stevenson for Attorney General? How about Texas Tech professor Catherine Hayhoe for the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency? I am sure there are other evangelical Democrats out there who are qualified for other cabinet posts.
Addendum (11:49AM): It seems like this post has opened a can of worms about the definition of the word “evangelicals.” I am not interested in delving into this labeling game right now, but I will say this by way of correction to the post:
- Brian from Toronto informs me that Katharine Hayhoe is Canadian.
- I don’t know much about Marcia Fudge’s church, but some are telling me it is very evangelical. I am willing to accept that.
- I don’t know if Bryan Stevenson would identify as an evangelical. He is a graduate of Eastern University, an evangelical Christian school in the Philadelphia area.