Last week on the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump subtly torpedoed fellow GOP candidate Ben Carson’s faith. Of Carson, a Seventh Day Adventist, Trump said, "I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about." Pundits believe this was a discrete way of suggesting to hardline conservatives that Carson is not a Christian. Seventh Day Adventism, a branch of the Protestant Church, observes the sabbath on Saturdays and decries Sunday worship.

Since these candidates are weighing in on each other's religious affiliations, we wanted to see how aligned the candidates are with their churches, politically. By studying the political contributions of religious leaders and employees of various religious organizations, we calculated Crowdpac scores for the key religions in the debate.

The irony is that Trump, a moderate at 1.5C, claims his Presbyterian faith is “down the middle of the road”, when it is actually more extreme than Carson’s. The Presbyterian Church scores a 4.3L, much farther from center than the Seventh Day Adventist Church with a score of 2.4L. In fact, Trump as a 1.5C moderate, is politically closer to Seventh Day Adventists than Carson!

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