Neil Armstrong

Religion, politics, and ideas ofNeil Armstrong

Summary

Armstrong was a deist.

Armstrong was very quiet about his political views, though he might have been closest to a libertarian.

Editorial

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio. His family moved much throughout Ohio as a result of his father's job, though they ultimately settled back in Wapakoneta when Armstrong was 14-years-old. He died in 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio from complications associated with heart surgery.

Armstrong grew up in a devout religious family, though I can't find which denomination they adhered to. Regardless, Armstrong reported that they did not force their beliefs on him, rather:

They allowed me to pursue my own interests. They didn't try to dictate to me what I should do or where I should go.[1]

Armstrong's actual religious views are immersed in rumor and conspiracy–much like his famous moon landing. Christians claim Armstrong was a wildly devout Christian,[2] atheists have claimed him as one of their own[3] and some Muslims claim that, while on the moon, Armstrong heard the Ezan (the Muslim call to prayer) and converted to Islam.[4]

Well, let's have a look at the evidence.

When Armstrong applied for a position at NASA, he marked his religious views on the paperwork as "no religious preference."[5] During the first moon landing, Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong's space-travel companion and a devout Presbyterian, held a communion ceremony (a Christian ritual) and reported that Armstrong didn't participate but rather watched quietly and respectfully.[6] And here's the smoking gun, folks:

Aldrin was a lifelong Boy Scout. He loved the Boy Scouts. In the late-1950s, Armstrong decided he wanted to lead a Boy Scout troop, so he went to sign up at a Methodist Church. The paperwork asked the applicant what their religious beliefs were, Armstrong wrote in "Deist."[7] So there you have it Christians, Atheists and Muslims: none of the above.

Politics? No Thanks

Armstrong is considered an American hero. His moonwalk had political motives, of course. It was a show of American scientific, engineering, computing and financial superiority during the Cold War–a message to the Soviets, if you will. Furthermore, it was a part of a trend during the '60s of U.S. government expansion and a nationalistic morale-booster for the American people.

Despite the fame and notoriety Armstrong enjoyed after his space mission, he was widely considered a humble, quiet man who didn't see the point in capitalizing on his achievements.[8] Armstrong was approached by political organizations of all stripes, but he refused their advances and never went in to politics, though many of his contemporaries did.[9]

If anyone could drag his political views out of him, Armstrong seemed to favor a small government approach, something possibly akin to libertarianism. He was unhappy that America seemed to consider itself the "world's police" and spoke of the importance of state's rights.[10]

Let's hear your views in the comments.

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