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.
As an IT professional, let me make it perfectly clear, I think 1/3 of the world's population should be wiped out – starting with Jews and Catholics!
Exactly the same thoughts with Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Pot, HITLER et'al. Though they have slaughtered millions or even billions but they'ver never succeeded of such cause. What make you think you will?
I wonder who would be getting on top in the "oval office" Romney or Ryan?
Before I trash Paul Ryan, and his faith, I'd like to say that Jews are creepy!
First to the Jew , then to the Gentile. God bless
Word Jew means, a self centered or a secular so does word pig. take your pick.
As a Southerner, I want to say that I never met an honest or decent Jew! Just for the record!
Every hindu pagan christian worship them as their hindu sanatan's, filthy man god's.
It's laughable to see reps of Roman Catholicism advocating govt thievery to redistribute wealth. They don't even understand their own scriptures.
Can you exound on that?
One of the Ten Comm forbids stealing. Taking one persons wages and giving to another is theft, whether one man with a gun does it, or a group of folks calls govt does it. Jesus's and the scriptures exhortations to help the poor are given to individuals, those who actually have the means to do so. For so-called Christians to advocate theft is hypocrisy with a vengeance.
So taxes are theft? Do expound, oh brilliant scholar.
While you're at it, tell us all how many people have been prosecuted for coveting their neighbors wives and not honoring their fathers and mothers.
Taxes that transfer wealth are clearly theft.
Oh? What taxes DON'T "transfer wealth"?
Good point, Tom. Roman Catholics advocating wealth redistribution through theft are no less hypocrites than if they advocated coveting and disrespecting one's parents.
In this country taxes are used to pay the debt that politicians borrow from the Federal Reserve System to pay for programs and policies that they feed to constiituencies for votes. So yes, taxes are theft since they are taking our money to pay for borrowing money which they used to keep themselves in the seat of power.
Thank you Woodrow Wilson
Are those who don't honor their parents being prosecuted NOW? In the 21st century??
And I don't see any answer to my other question. Why is that?
So, you idiots think ALL taxes are theft? Great.
Want to fill us in on how you plan to run a nation without them?
Tom Tom the Pipers Son
Stole a pig
And away Tom run
Straight to the doctors office
Where Tom sat with the pig on its lap
The pig says
Can you remove this cancerous growth from my ass?
Wedge issues aside, (like gays and ab0rtion) from a traditional 'liberal' poitics standpoint, the Roman Catholic church and its teachings are one of the most politically liberal inst'tions in this country. (Why do you think Massachusetts is a blue state?)
Mr. Ryan, as a 'screw the poor, cut off their benefits' Republican is the ant'thesis of what the Church believes. Oddly enough they are really big on notions like:
"Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Now where did that come from?
Of course most evangelical protestants are blind to what the Catholic church stands for. All they can see is the churches' landholdings and political structure. It's going to be an entertaining few months.
I want to talk about science, but let me preface my remarks by stating that I don't like Jews!
Does your Russian girlfriend know you are on the computer Mel?
And yes, given that I live in a sea of Christianity that makes one fearful of being a Jew for one's own safety, I'm safe when I specify that I've little love for Xtians. And where I last lived (TN, Buckle of the Bible Belt) was even worse!
As a mushlim i love the joos and the xtians
Can I go on record as saying I despise all Jews?
Didn't Moses already bring you all out of Memphis years ago?
Yaakov – you put the woofer in "stereotype"
People who believe in gods are idi0ts.
Thank God you are here so everyone can see what a real idiot looks like.
No need. You beat everyone to that finish line, TBT.
Can't catch you Tom and you have a pig under your armpit.
You may have the pig and tom transposed. Look again.
All atheists are swines.
Oooh, look. Another brilliant scholar on Jeebus' side! Look up 'swines', fvckwit.
Tom Tom the Pipers Son
Stole a pig
And went to a Doctors office
Sat down with the pig on its lap
The pig says
Hey Doc can you
Remove this cancerous lump from my ass?
Prayer changes things .
Typical atheist technique, burying David Barton response – 07/12/2012 takes on his critics.
Have you measured the efficacy of your ad campaign, Dave? DAVE? Can you do that DAVE?
That's a scary photo. Damien has arrived.
I would like to see an atheist or a Wiccan elected president, not because I'm advocating atheism (I'm not) nor because I'm a witch (I'm not) but because it might signal an end to these unproductive brouhahas over religion. Religion is a personal andprivate matter, the province of the individual, the family, the home, the church, the religious denomination school, the private school if so elected. Shouldn't that satisfy everyone?
When an atheist rules millions die .
George, you're just another Illuminati fool posting on this site to destroy Christians and the teachings of Jesus so your man made lies can rule.
Wonder choice! He picks a catholic or he can deflect the comments on the mormons. Is this really what we want to discuss when choosing a president. We can't afford the debt that Obama will inflict on us – simple as that. What you say, the debt is all Bush's causing. Great, who will Obama blame when is health care costs us 2, 3, x times more and we get less or close to no healthcare. Who will be blame when we default on the debt. I guess he will blame Obama #1, but he is Obama, the sequel.
The blame game comes almost entirely from the right. You blame Obama for everything, and take responsibility for nothing. You are no better than the democrats. You're a hypocrite.
So you think Romney can somehow fix everything? It doesn't matter whom is elected President unless Congress gets off its collective azz and starts working instead of posturing.
I actually blame GOVERNMENT for everything. They take and squander. Obama said many thinks he eventually did not do. The least of which is to be the most transparent administration in history. What happened to that. Why don't you say Obama is a hypocrite? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. If our flawed election system only gives us two people, I will throw caution to the wind and hope things change. Staying with Obama is just now the reasonable choice.
The president actually does matter. If Bush was not president, we would not have entered Iraq. If Obama was not president, we would not be looking at a health care system that will be broken, flawed and too expensive. As for congress, I agree. But it is our own fault with congress. We get to vote people out, yet they don't get voted out because people are lazy, too dumb, or just overwhelmed by the constant crap from the politicians, and the biased media. The fact that we are discussing Mormons is just my point. I could not care what religion a person follows. I would be willing to vote for him even though there are some issues I don't like. Why, because in 4 years another person gets elected. Short term loss for long term gain. The media will only discuss these stupid issues. It is pathetic.
Sorry, you lose. Without the backing of Congress, we wouldn't have ended up in Iraq.
As far as the health care issue, you're presuming it will be a huge boondoggle. Where's your proof that it will? Got a crystal ball or two?
No matter which side is elected the presiding tactic is the same. Increase the debt load on American society and inflate the economy by the destruction of the dollar. When we all go broke, the monied elites will return to pick upi our assets for pennies and control our policies from their ivory towers.
In this guise of faith, Paul Ryan espouses the atheistic philosophy of greed. Conservatives who buy into this are grotesque.
So this greed that you hate so much. Who is more greedy, the business that wants to make more money and take is operations off shore, or a person who demands free stuff from the government. Who will pay for this. Once the cost of government healthcare costs, and costs protecting the country gets too high, I suspect the government will just take all your salary and assets and give you an allowance (determined on what the government thinks you should get).
That being said, Christianity amuses me. For example, I observed some Fundies going on at length in English and Spanish about "Jeeeesus!", all while scarfing down hotdogs. I wanted to ask them in both languages whether Jesus the Jewish Rabbi would have eaten the pork! *GRIN*
Jesus tells us that it is not what goes into a man's mouth which defiles him but that which comes out. So my guess is yes.
Paul Ryan, 1999, his three favorite books:
"The Bible, Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged."
The belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, will cause people to survive their own physical deaths and live happily ever after in heaven, if they follow some rural laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine = Judaism.
Judaism + a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made = Christianity.
Christianity + a belief that the secrets of the Universe were revealed to a failed conman and treasure hunter in upstate New York, that performing a ritual in a temple in Salt Lake City will cause dead people to be admitted into a happy after-life kingdom and that an Israeli tribe colonized America = Mormonism.
I guess that, by sheer layering, Mormons win the gold medal for completely fvcking ridiculous superst.itions. One can imagine Brigham Young standing on a pedestal accepting the gold and humbly proclaiming, “If my beliefs are even more ludicrous than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”
(with apologies to Isaac Newton).
Are you just plain nuts or an exotic one?
Jesus is the son of King David by immaculate conception.
Paul Ryan, the real views:
• "But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand."
• "And when you look at the twentieth-century experiment with collectivism—that Ayn Rand, more than anybody else, did such a good job of articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism—you can’t find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand."
• "It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are."
Rands books are for the manic depressive for which you obviously are.
Yes...by all means. His faith. Wow. America does emphasize trivia, don't it?
What's more important...what he does on Sunday mornings, or the other 6 days a week?
I couldn't care less if he worships goats in a barn – get the economy moving!!!!
That would mean an atheist actually works with they arrive in the workplace instead of bsing their way through their career of doing nothing and collecting a paycheck.
Paul Ryan, Randite:
• "I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people."
• "I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are."
• "It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well."
Typical slimmy atheist technique, burying David Barton response – 07/12/2012 takes on his critics.
Read how to come alive instead of Rand's death wish mantras.
I'd love to. I'll do so as soon as you can define "slimmy", honey.
It's you atheist haters of everyone in society as you create the divisions then sit back and watch the fireworks.
Another moron pipes up.Thanks for your input, Sheila. It's worth exactly what I paid for it.