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Newsweek's Religion Editor Kenneth Woodward Talks Religion in the White House at First Friday Club of Cleveland


On Thursday, May 31, we went to the monthly meeting of the First Friday Club of Cleveland to hear Mr. Kenneth Woodward address the subject of "Religion in the White House." This is a subject Mr. Woodward certainly knows a lot about since he served as Religion Editor of Newsweek for 38 years and (among other accomplishments) is the author of several books, including the recently published Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Ascent of Trump. We would love to read this book if only we had the time.

Mr. Woodward had several fascinating stories to share with us concerning the Reverend Billy Graham, Hilary Clinton (he conducted an extensive interview with her when she was First Lady, in which she talked about her extensive involvement in the Methodist Church), Mother Teresa, the 1960 U.S. Presidential Election, and the origins of the Moral Majority as well as the political power of evangelical Christians.

Along the way, Mr. Woodward made the point that he could not find any evidence that a U.S. President's religious faith (i.e., the faith that he professes) has ever had any bearing on any decision he made on the foreign or domestic front, which would include immigration policy.

While we were there we had a good discussion with Mr. Leonard M. Calabrese who does business consulting with many members of Cleveland's international community including some of the clients of Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC. We talked about how Pope Francis has been an excellent advocate on behalf of immigrants during his tenure and about how much we both admired Bishop Perez.

This was a big day for the First Friday Club of Cleveland because, as we found out, it had its first meeting in May, 1958 thus making it now 60 years old. We all agreed it's remarkable that the organization is still in existence and still as vibrant as it was.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison

Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC

Aimee Jannsohn