August 11th, 2012
09:20 AM ET
Ryan as VP pick continues election year focus on Catholicism
By Dan Gilgoff and Dan Merica
Washington (CNN) – Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate promises to cast a spotlight on American Catholicism in an election year when the tradition has already been a major focus.
Ryan, a Catholic who chairs the House Budget Committee, is better known for his outspoken fiscal conservatism than for leading on conservative Catholic social causes like opposing abortion and gay marriage.
But Romney called attention to Ryan's religion Saturday in introducing him as his running mate: "A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life," Romney said.
And socially conservative groups were quick to praise Ryan's selection, with the president of National Right to Life saying that "Ryan has a deep, abiding respect for all human life, including unborn children and their mothers, the disabled and the elderly."
Ryan’s advocacy for cutting taxes and trimming the deficit — he is the architect of the GOP’s proposed federal budget — married with his willingness to talk about fiscal belt-tightening in moral terms and his low-key social conservatism speak to a political moment in which the economic concerns of the Tea Party and the social focus of the Christian right have merged into a relatively cohesive anti-Obama movement.
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Ryan’s presence on the ticket also could increase Romney’s appeal among the millions of middle-of-the-road Catholic voters who populate key swing states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Catholics are considered the quintessential swing vote, and no presidential candidate has won the White House without winning Catholics since at least the early 1990s.
With Romney, a Mormon, selecting a Catholic, Obama is the only Protestant in the 2012 presidential race (Vice President Joe Biden is also Catholic).
"As a conservative Catholic, Ryan is likely to appeal to a number of Catholics in the Midwest,” said John Green, a professor of religion and politics at the University of Akron in Ohio. “Catholics who are concerned about religious liberty, he is certainly a positive there."
The Catholic Church has helped frame this year’s election by strenuously opposing a rule in President Obama’s health care law that requires insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage to nearly all American employees, including those at Catholic colleges and hospitals. The Democrats have said that Romney’s and the GOP’s support for the Church’s position constitutes a “war on women,” while Romney and his party say Obama’s rule represents a “war on religion.”
In an interview with CNN, former GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich, who is Catholic, said that Ryan would shore up support in a Catholic community that feels it is “under siege.”
Romney released an ad Thursday repeating the war on religion charge. Next week, Sandra Fluke — a Georgetown University law student who was thrust into the national spotlight after radio show host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” for her role in supporting Obama’s contraception rule — will introduce the president at a stop in Denver.
Ryan’s own Catholicism became a major issue this year, with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops criticizing his proposed federal budget for what the bishops said would be its adverse impact on the poor.
The bishops cautioned against overreaching budget cuts that endanger “poor and vulnerable people.” The bishops’ message called on “Congress and the administration to protect essential help for poor families and vulnerable children and to put the poor first in budget priorities.”
This split between politically conservative and liberal Catholics has existed for decades in the Catholic Church. But with Ryan running for vice president, some experts expect this divide to be sharpened.
"What Ryan will highlight is a division within the Catholic community,” Green said. “More politically liberal Catholics are very critical of the Republican approach and the Ryan budget, but Ryan has taken them head on.”
In an April speech at Georgetown, a Catholic school, Ryan defended his budget in religious terms.
“The work I do as a Catholic holding office conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it,” Ryan said. “What I have to say about the social doctrine of the Church is from the viewpoint of a Catholic in politics applying my understanding of the problems of the day.”
Ryan’s $3.53 trillion budget doubles down on past proposals to overhaul Medicare and other government programs that are seen as politically sensitive. While the budget has little chance to become law, it draws a distinct contrast with Democratic views on spending.
That speech, along with other statements that put his budget into religious terms, led liberal Catholic groups to openly protest Ryan’s budget.
In particular, NETWORK, a group founded by 47 Catholic nuns that speaks out on social justice issues, went on a bus tour around the country to protest the Ryan budget.
In an interview with CNN, Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, said Ryan has co-opted sacred Catholic teachings and twisted their meanings.
This line of attack will intensify in the coming months because of Ryan’s nomination, says Deal Hudson, a religion and politics expert who ran President George. W. Bush’s Catholic outreach in 2000 and 2004.
“I think the Catholic left will make this the drumbeat about Congressman Ryan,” Hudson said. “That is why it is so important for the campaign to effectively get out in front of this argument.”
According to Hudson, it is possible to defend the Ryan budget from Catholic attacks, it will just take a campaign that “realizes this is what they face."
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Tom, simply because CNN has a category called Belief doesn't mean this is the first lens that should be directed toward a VP nominee. This elevates religion to a larger role than it should play in our elections and political life, and all because the media doesn't apply a sense of civic duty in reporting relevant information. instead, they have popular Web site content categories to fill and puts religion – along with entertainment and sports – all on the same level in public discourse.
Is it the first? Well, if so, go cry me a river. That should tell you that CNN knows exactly who their readers are.
If you don't like the coverage, there are plenty of other sources of news. Why stay if you think this is not neutral enough for you? You're like Keith, complaining about the milk you get for free, but sucking the teat all the same.
And really, dear, did you fall off the turnip truck this morning? This is a business. It caters to those who make money for it.
If you want to read unbiased news, then leave. Try public TV.
Don't come here and moan about what you get to eat for nothing.
At least we Americans got over the JFK scare of 1960! Oooooooh, can a Catholic, a Catholic, be POTUS? We've matured beyond that thought. Now, let's stop discussing his religious affiliation, period! Good Grief-O! Holy Freak-O!
His opponents have to bring it up. They cant use facts to debate policies, they would lose.
His opponents have to bring it up.
Are you serious? Religion is the fuel that keeps the Republican engine going. They make it a central issue. Now that they have a Mormon nominee with a Catholic running mate, they want to say, "why do you keep bringing up religion?" So it's fine to question Obama's beliefs, but now that the Republicans have a nominee who wears superman underpants, religion is off the table? I'm thinking of a word that begins with H.
Good for you Americans! More Catholic are to come in power, back to the medieval age!!!
Atlas shrugged and asked, "What the heck does Ayn Rand have to do with this? Is she Paul's great-granny, or something?"
You just described the entire republican party, how do they keep the poor idiots in the south voting for them – they shout "guns" and "abortion" over and over.
I've read 2 books of Ayn's, you assume much but know little. Because I identified two quotes from her that sound a little Republican that must mean she was pro-life and Republican!
You assume a lot.
Henderson, you troll a lot.
@Tom, read the original discussion at 4:26pm today.
I've read more than enough of your drivel, you troll.
Way to go CNN!! Talk about sensationalism in the news and steering the conversation onto nothing of substance about the guy. I abhor the discourse on faith and religion in politics – get rid of it, not relevant except for the fact that we have religious nut cases getting elected into power. Like racism – how do you cure it? Stop talking about it. Since the announcement came in CNN has served Paul and Romney well by telling the story the way these guys want it told. Paul and Romney pick to topics that they want discussed and CNN mirrors their request. I've read every article on the guy on CNN today and I still know very little about his politics – other than he read Ayn Rand (which is supposed to make him a scholar – retarded) and that he's a conservative Christian that has a beef with the economics of medicaid. Still no substance in the articles. Not that I really need to know much about him. Anyone that things that Ayn Rand is cool and scholarly I put into the same camp as those that read Mein Kampf and said the same thing – both lead to the same result, both stem from the same philosophy, and both are warning signs of an imminent danger to our society. These guys try to come across as being intelligent – but the reality, as the latest psychology journals inform us (e.g., doi: 10.1177/0146167212439213 ) – the conservative mindset is a lazy one that sticks to the common answer, avoids complexity, and become more conservative under the following conditions: intoxication, time pressure, cognitive load, and cursory low-effort thought to answers given. The science on this is pretty clear, conservatism is the lowest denominator on thinking giving gut reactions to questions they know nothing about. Sound familiar?
Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
If you put away your rational mind, then you can accept this as true.
Unlike the delusional left winger who constantly preaches tollerance and practices intollerance, i think a man is perfectly in his right to have any faith he wishes, that includes your master obama.
You said, "i think a man is perfectly in his right to have any faith he wishes"
True. Just as it is every man's (or woman's) right to point out how ridiculous it is for adults to still believe in fairy tales.
and why do fairy tales so move us? why are they the summer blockbusters? why can't we ever seem to get enough of them?
As JRR Tolkien said to (a then atheist) CS Lewis: "Christianity is not just one more myth among many. It's the One truth underneath, to which all the fairy tales point."
If Tolkien said it, does that make it true?
You said, "and why do fairy tales so move us? why are they the summer blockbusters? why can't we ever seem to get enough of them?"
Some are very entertaining. That doesn't mean we claim they are real.
You said, "As JRR Tolkien said to (a then atheist) CS Lewis: "Christianity is not just one more myth among many. It's the One truth underneath, to which all the fairy tales point.""
Of course, he did so because he believed it, not because he had anything rational to support his assertion. Wishing for a fairy tale to be true doesn't make it so.
Fairy tales move us because they excite our fears.
@LinCA this is true. It's also within a man's right to point out the inherent falsehoods on your critiques, thus rendering the solidarity of your opinion invalid to the logical man.
Ahahhha. "Invalid to the logical man"? Since when are you the standard for a "logical man" OR woman, you egotistical dweeb?
You said, "It's also within a man's right to point out the inherent falsehoods on your critiques, thus rendering the solidarity of your opinion invalid to the logical man."
Are you claiming a falsehood in my critique of religious beliefs? If so, please be specific.
a) yes, fairy tales are entertaining and they do move us. but that's because it taps into something very real going on with us underneath.
and, contrary to TomTom's cynicism: it's not merely fears. Sure, Beauty & the Beast draws out that everyone is fearful that they are the ugly one that will be utterly rejected. But what would possess Beauty to kiss the Beast? It's inexplicable. This story is not merely about a fear of rejection, it's a need for more than just acceptance: a home, honest love, to be completely vulnerable & known as the mess that we are and still have a love that sees us to the bottom of that mess yet still loves us to the skies, that loves us enough to die to change us, etc.
b) you said "wishing for a fairy tale to be true doesn't make it so."
Certainly, but that's to miss his point entirely. A point which CS Lewis got & pressed out in his essay "Fern Seed & Elephants." Check it out.
c) you said "not because he had anything rational to support his assertion."
Yes, being Oxford scholars & prominent authors does not guarantee rationality, but considering the sheer number of scholarly articles on the matter they both wrote to the contrary, I find it hard to believe you have actually engaged their thought in coming to your assessment. If so, that in itself would be an irrational assertion.
The basic problem with religion, any religion, is that without starting on the assumption that there is a god, there is no way to get there. All religious arguments are circular. Religious arguments are therefor without a rational basis. Without a rational basis for the narrative, it's noting more than a fairy tale.
Don't mistake this discussion for a theological one. A theological discussion can only be had if all participants explicitly or implicitly agree there is a deity. But to those on the outside, theology is really the discussion of the fabric, the cut, the colors and patterns of the emperor's new clothes.
@ LinCA: as I posted earlier today... Nietzsche's criticism of your position:
“Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as science ‘without any presuppositions’; this thought does not bear thinking through, it is paralogical: a philosophy, a ‘faith,’ must always be there first of all, so that science can acquire from it that direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist. … The truthful man, in the audacious and ultimate sense presupposed by the faith in science, thereby affirms another world than that of life, nature, and history; and insofar as he affirms this ‘other world,’ does this not mean that he has to deny its anti.thesis, this world, our world? … It is still a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, the Gay Science)
Nietzsche's point: science is not a substi.tute for faith. putting your faith in science is not science, but religion.
it's the pot calling the kettle black. and it's utterly flawed philosophically.
Equating science with religion is disingenuous. Science is simply a method to describe nature. It relies on the laws underlying our observations are uniform throughout the universe and unchanging. To "believe" in science requires "faith" in these things. But since science, contrary to religion, is evidence based, it is far more likely to provide a reasonable answer than religion ever will.
So yes, I "have faith" that unless there is at least a smidgen of evidence in support, it is highly unlikely to be true. Whatever "it" is.
While everyone is free to believe in the Tooth Fairy, I choose not to, unless there is a rational argument to be made in favor of it. I don't exclude the possibility that the Tooth Fairy exists, I just don't consider it very likely.
The notion that some desert tribes got it all figured out thousands of years ago, is ridiculous beyond compare. But again, believe what you will.
@ LinCA: just saw your response. not sure if you'll check back, so here's a few thoughts...
a) science is not the same thing as scientism.
science is a great tool. i like it. i'm glad we have it. but it's merely the subjective (philosophically speaking) discipline of observation. it brings in the data. as Nietzsche said, it's the "faith" that gives it a direction.
your "faith" is not scientifically based. it's something you bring to the data. hence the term (his): "presupposition."
that's the difference. your presuppositions lead you to read the data differently. that's not science, that's faith-based (scientism).
b) the Tooth Fairy analogy fits your presuppositions (that God does not exist), but as such, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
but consider an alternate analogy: you wake up in a room with no memory of where you've come from. there's a bed, walls, a plate of food & a toilet. what do you know? you did not create yourself – yet you exist (or is that it? a Cartesian dilemma?). did someone make the room, or did the random flux of nothingness bring you into an existence through an equally random collocation of principles that make life (or whatever this is) possible? yet you assure yourself: "there is no meaning to this existence except that which i make for myself." really? how can you have such confidence? it's your **faith**. it's not something you derived. and if anything, your mere existence itself makes that deduction virtually impossible.
that's your Tooth Fairy analogy from the opposite set of presuppositions. would you call the idea that someone brought you there & provided for you in that way the "Tooth Fairy?" no, it would be illogical, at best...
c) no one is claiming ancient, nomadic tribes had it "figured out" years ago (that's assuming this is an anthropocentric endeavor: again, a self-fulfilling prophecy). but if there is a god, and he/she/it chose to reveal him/her/itself, then the question of "to whom" is not a matter of our preference or their capacity to fully comprehend.
the greater issue: has this God revealed himself?
I do not like Ayn Rand because she used reason to understand the world. I will lump her in with religous republicans because I do not like her philosophy and my simple mind understands the world better with such oversimplifications.
Religion needs to stay out of government and, politics. Destructive Christian that believe in the bible that has been rewritten and rewritten over time. Has put so much fear in people to control them. True loving people who go out to help others who can not help them selves and do not judge them for who they are. This a free country and everyone should have the right to live there life equally as they see fit without judgement.
Religion and government should stay away from eachother. Which is exactly why your post fails 🙂 Oh btw,The bible wasnt re-written, it was actually banned and punishable by death if a common man was caught with it. Know who did this? The same people who tried to say christ was born on the winter solstice, the Romans. The bible to this day still says he was born in the early autumn. Re-written? No. Attempted to be irradicated? Yes.
you say "This a free country and everyone should have the right to live there life equally as they see fit without judgement." -----– I guess christians are the exception right? LOLUMADBECUZJESUSISLORDLOLOLOL deal with it
The only way to keep Christianity out of politics is to keep Christians out of politics. As long as we have the right to express our opinions, and we are, after all, the majority in this country based on democracy, we are going to be free to express them in the way which best suits us, which is in theological terms. Unless you're trying to impose a totalitarian government, freedom of speech has to include those who see the world differently than you do. That includes those who see it through religious eyes.
Ayn Rand was pro-life. I know, because I am a liberal and know everything about everyone. Anyone who is not democrat must be pro-choice. I know, I know, because I know everything. It is not possible for a non-democrat to be pro-choice. Do not question me. I am bootyfunk and know everything about politics, especially that pro-choicers are only democrat. Libertarians and religous republicans are the same thing because I said so, so it must be true.
herbie forgot to take his Ritalin today.
time to go to the beach with my fiance. gonna do some snorkeling on the south side. keep fighting the good fight, Tom.
bye Henderson. tell mommy it's time for your meds.
America is turning into a Theocracy like Iran – better carry your bible or you'll land in jail. Tea Party , Americas Taliban!
well said... and I would add conservative groups were quick to praise Ryan's deep, abiding respect for all human life: will that mean he will forbid weapons? or bomb less than say Bush??? ha ha what a bunch of radicals
last i checked it is the ones carrying bibles in public being arrested. but reality doesnt help liberal agenda so nvm... continue
Do tell. Can you cite your source for this claim?
Also last time i checked, it wasnt the tea party shooting places up. Guy who shot giffords? Ardent atheist liberal socialist, thought her immigration policies were too conservative, in his own words. Guy who shot batman movie? Active member of Occupy Wall Street black block party. Guy who shot the indians? Theosophist, very left leaning sect.
Sure tom. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIuIHrUbbpA
I alwaus love how tom and others demand sources and then when they are cited the silence is deafening
1 Corinthians 14
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the w.hore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.
I Corinthians 11:3
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
I Corinthians 11:8-9
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Whoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. He that sacrificeth unto any god, save to the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
seems consistent with the war on women.
I notice all your quotes come from the Old Testament. Interesting......
Those are actually the teachings of the pharisees. Catholic teachings is about how the pharisees are not perfect in laws like Christ. So i guess you need to go to reading comprehension school?
DJ Ryan wrote: "I notice all your quotes come from the Old Testament."
uh oh...someone doesn't know their bible very wel....lol....
that's ok, there is just as much rubbish in the NT as the old.
Well, and DJ, just to be clear I Corinthians is NT junk by the politician and self-proclaimed "apostle" Paul.
I pray for you save the world. What a sad sad life you live. One day you will be face to face with the one you mock, I would not want to be you when he sends you to hell with the rest of your Atheist friends.
No one with a deep and abiding faith in the value of human life would approve of a war, let alone a senseless one like Iraq.
I'm into Dorothy Parker.
But is she into you?
i'm in hawaii, actually noon here now. so good afternoon!
where are you?
Henderson = boring
I am booty funk and am in Hawaii. I think Ayn Rand is pro-life because I am ignorant and want to disregard all of her views and lump her into the views of all religious Republicans.
Hawaii?! You dog! I'm on the East coast, mid-Atlantic; it's 6:34 here, so early evening. Or "Prevening" as they say on Big Bang Theory.
Henderson is a boob.
Speak of the herbie and he shall appear in full crap-mode.
Henderson sucks because he exposes my irrational democratic dogma. Every non-democratic is religious. Ayn Rand was not a Democratic. She must have been religious, and pro-life. I know because I am smart and I like prevening. It starts at 5:00.
herbie, what, pray tell, is a "Democratic"?
Have you had a stroke?
he's twisting something i posted earlier. making a childish, black and white argument. but that's Henderson. he's apparently a Libertarian and because i said he had a lot in common with Republicans, his panties got in a bunch. he's keeps bringing up abortion for some reason, over and over, because it's a social issue and something Libertarians and Republicans don't necessarily agree on. he's a singer with one note.
I reposted my inane comment above. I think it was from page 9.
Childish black and white arguments like the ones you make with scripture quotes?
If Ryan had faith in anything more than money and power, he would have compassion.
Ryan's plan slashes education, raises taxes on the middle class, and eliminates Medicare and Social Security to pay for more tax cuts for the rich.
There is nothing remotely Christian about the values that drive Paul Ryan.
"Ryan's plan slashes education, raises taxes on the middle class, and eliminates Medicare and Social Security to pay for more tax cuts for the rich."
typical republican fare. republican politicians always claim to be the most christian but do the least to help the poor, vote for the rich and against the poor, slashing everyone low income program they can.
An them Ayn Rand folks too. They are pro-life. Believe me because I read a buuk or too.
Henderson, are you 13?
Romney called Ryan "a faithful Catholic" who "believes in the worth and dignity of every human life.
But the Catholic Bishops and Nuns do NOT like Ryans budget.
unfortunately, it's what much of the american populace wants to know. unfortunately, it matters.
An important social issue for Catholics is opposition to the death penalty, but you don't hear Ryan telling his tea-bagging buddies about that.
Why is Ryan's faith the first thing CNN thinks we should learn about the man who wants to be VP? How about his education? Record? Character? Resume? Career accomplishments? History? Religion should not be on the list. It shouldn't be on the news. This is an election in a democracy, not a theological anointment.
Well, it certainly makes sense that it would be the foremost attribute for discussion on a "Belief" blog, wouldn't it? And since Romney's Mormon faith has been an issue for many thus far, why wouldn't the religious beliefs of his running mate choice be pertinent?
bECuze we all know that them Ayn Rand followers are religous prolifers. Do not tuulk to me aboug about what Ayn Rand actually thought, like that she was pro-choice, jussd tuualks to me about my preconceived notions that she was a religious person like most republicakans.
morning Tom. watch out, Henderson is in here stealing names, posting idiocy, like the post above me. lame broken record trolls.
Thanks, Booty. Is it morning where you live?
I think the post above yours is pretty obviously a troll-turd, dropped on the kitchen table for all to admire. If it was Henderson's work, it wouldn't be much of a surprise. He's not exactly subtle. Or terribly interesting.