Theodore Roosevelt and Religion

Teddy Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt believed in God and believed that people needed to read every-book they could get their hands on, including the bible.

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education”.

Roosevelt’s beliefs were based on his viewpoint that if you were not God-fearing you might consider yourself above the laws of man.

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to Society”

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education

Roosevelt was a regular church goer, having been raised in the Dutch Reformed Church.

The Dutch Reformed Church went with migrants to the Americas, beginning in 1628 in New Amsterdam.

In Canada and the United States, the oldest and second largest body is the Reformed Church in America, which was the American branch of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Netherlands between 1628 and 1819. The largest body in North America is the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which split off from Reformed Church in America in 1857. Smaller related denominations and federations are the Canadian and American Reformed Churches, the Free Reformed Churches of North America (FRC), the Heritage Reformed Congregations (HRC), the Netherlands Reformed Congregations (NRC), the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC), and the United Reformed Churches in North America (URC). Former US Presidents Martin Van Buren and Theodore Roosevelt, both of Dutch descent, were affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church

Roosevelt was a lifelong devotee to this faith. However, during large stretches of his life, he was unable to physically find a church to attend. Thus, he often attended Episcopal services, as his wife was an Episcopalian. He once said:

“When I first came to Washington, I did not know there was any Dutch Reformed Church there, and went with my wife to the Episcopal Church. But, on becoming President, I learned that there was a little obscure, red brick building tucked away on the back of a lot, and I immediately selected that as my Church.

Roosevelt was involved with an Episcopalian denomination in Brazil during his travels to that country, and by the time he had largely retired from public life in Oyster Bay, Long Island, he was a regular attendee, with his wife, at an Episcopalian church there–the “Christ Church of Oyster Bay.” They still list Roosevelt as one of their former parishioners.


Roosevelt, like many of the time had bias as to how he saw the world and of course his spiritual views contributed to part of the complex man he was.  He believed you could clearly see God in the manifest of nature, and that certain places on earth, such as Yosemite and The Grand Canyon were perfect examples of things that could only be created by God.

A special thank you for some of the Dutch Reformed information from the website


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