Samuel L. Jackson was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Jackson doesn’t appear to be all that religious–or if he is, it’s merely a side-note. When asked if he thought his acting talents were God-given, he replied:
No, because I work at it. I still learn, I read.
Still, Jackson was raised going to Christian churches (though we don’t know what denomination–but in Tennessee, Baptist is a safe bet). However, he considers himself only “spiritual” today.
But then again, he gave $2,000 worth of tickets to the opening weekend of his film, Captain America: The First Avenger, to his church. Which church or type of church eludes us–and it certainly wasn’t for religious reasons. He just wanted to help his new film get some good opening weekend numbers. He said:
If you can’t contribute to your own box office, what can you do? Not only do I see it, I actually buy like $2,000 of tickets and give them to the church. So at least I can say the movie made at least $2,000 in the opening weekend.
And he participated in the reading (playing God) of a dramatic audio recording of the Bible.
So all in all, Jackson seems vaguely Christian but largely non-devout. He’s unwilling to credit God to his successes, calls himself spiritual, not religious; yet reads the Bible and donates to his church. It’s all a bit fuzzy.
Any ambiguity about Jackson’s religiosity is totally made up for with his strong, explicit political views. Firstly, all of Jackson’s political contributions have been to either Barack Obama or the Democratic National Convention.
In fact, Jackson’s gone all out for Obama. In 2012, he made a political video called “Wake the Fuck Up,” in which he laid out all the reasons voting Republican would be a bad idea, including their supposed infringements on women’s rights, gay rights, the proliferation of voter suppression laws and a lack of concern for the poor, among other things. In his classic Jackson style, he would regularly say to the characters in the film, “It’s time to wake the fuck up.”
He even went so far as to lament the fact that “God” spared the Republican National Convention (being held in stormy Florida) from Hurricane Isaac.
But this is all recent history. Jackson has a long history of extreme politics, from taking members of the Board of Trustees at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia hostage because they wouldn’t agree to admit black members or to offer black studies classes to catching the attention of the FBI as a member of the Black Panthers.
Civil rights is rather important to him. And the perfect connection of his past as a black activist to his present as a major Obama supporter might just be this quote:
I voted for Barack because he was black. 'Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them. That’s American politics, pure and simple. [Obama’s] message didn’t mean shit to me. In the end, he’s a politician. I just hoped he would do some of what he said he was gonna do.
You could never say Jackson isn’t passionate. Subtle? No, but certainly passionate.