Explore George Washington's religious practices and his pursuit of religious tolerance within the United States.

George Washington's Religious Beliefs

Washington was generally private about his religious life. While his church attendance varied throughout his life, Washingting was a devoted member of the Anglican Church. In 1762, he became a vestryman at Pohick Church and served as a churchwarden for three terms.

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"For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens"

George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, Wednesday, August 18, 1790

Catholicism

Washington's statements regarding Catholicism and freedom of religion set precedents for the new nation.

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“I trust the people of every denomination, who demean themselves as good citizens, will have occasion to be convinced that I shall always strive to prove a faithful and impartial Patron of genuine, vital religion.”

George Washington to the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, May 29, 1789.

Quiz

See how much you know about Washington’s religious beliefs and practices.

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“Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated."

George Washington to Sir Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792.

Christ Church

First built in 1773, George Washington purchased a pew at this Fairfax Parish church in Alexandria and was a lifelong member of the congregation.

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George Washington

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