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.
CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the day's big stories
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."
About this blog
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.
Mr. Ryan, if you are a "Christian" and believe in the worth and dignity of every human life do you plan to seek the guidance of Biblical principles in crafting your budget? Are your ready to turn the other cheek, refrain from casting the first stone, examine the plank in your own eye before criticizing the spec in the eyes of others? Are you truly born again having thereby put aside your primitive impulsive and emotional instincts, the herding instincts, fear, which divide us? Are you able to make unbiased decisions and set aside your personal emotional agendas? Will you use your office to reward your friends and punish your enemies? Is your loyalty to the rule of law? Do you insist upon loyalty to yourself? Do you take criticism well? Do you demand obedience? Do you surround yourself with enablers? Is your loyalty to the Biblical message? Is your loyalty to due process, equal protection, freedom of speech? Does that bright light which shines in your mind prevent you from seeing into the shadows which lie beyond the borders of the world in which you live?
Please consider the meaning of Stewardship and the Responsibilities that come with it.
Catholicism and Mormonism, two of the most baseless contrived western religions ever conceived.
VegasRage – Please review the French Revolution and what happened to Maximilien Robespierre. What he contrived is little different that what Obama has undertaken the insanity of improving upon.
Vegas Rage wrote: "Catholicism and Mormonism, two of the most baseless contrived western religions ever conceived."
Really?? baseless?? well true. and contrived?? well true again. OK. nevermind.
You're comparing Obama with ROBESPIERRE? For real?
If someone truly believes in God as their savior then why do they get involved with politics at all? If the bible says (Jeremiah 10:23) that man cannot direct his steps then anyone who says he worships God and then gets involved with politics is being hypocritical. And those who are voting and claiming to be religious are in the same boat.
So you know the parable of the Talents?
I don't know how it applies to what I'm saying though.
Politicians of all stripes use religion to get votes. Most of them will pander to whatever faction their handlers believe will benefit them most in the election.
Their beliefs have little or nothing to do with their political ambitions.
Side thought – According to the parable of the Talents, God did not give us Talents to bury the Talents.
The talents he was referring to were the religious leaders(the slaves) and their spiritual treasures(the talents). Obviously he is not talking about literal money, because he didn't create money nor does he even care about money. (Mark12:17 Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.") Governments are in charge of that system. As I said before the two do not mix. You can't be truly faithful to God and be involved in politics.
And here I thought 'Jeremiah was a bullforg.'
Sorry, but this guy is a fake Catholic. You can't be Catholic and republican. The two have very opposing views. Christianity is a very liberal religion that focuses on helping those in need, sharing what you have and working together to the good of the community. Now does that sound like anything republican?
To categorically claim such a thing is stereotyping and divisive. If you claim to be Christian, you know better than to do such a thing.
You should read up on the Catholic social teaching of subsiarity. Charity and caring for the poor is something that can only truly be done at the Human level.
This is the way people ought to be whether they believe in a God or not.Im not against religion as it'sgood for some people I suppose.But I despise hipocrites.Christ was a socialist.Not so for most of these who proffess to be Chritians.Whether he was God or not his teachings are not really followed by the supposed beliers here.They'all full of hate greed ad selfishness.
Well you are correct about Republicans – they are greedy by nature and some of them actually try to make you think otherwise. But a Christian is often fork-tongued and will act just like a Republican if one doesn't meet all of tenets that the earliest Christian politicians laid out. I'm not really talking about Jesus – he had some good ideas about how we should treat one another, but rather, about all the other characters in the bible and christians of power since.
(so obviously I am going to think Catholicism is one of the dangerous extremist forms of Christianity along with Mormons, evangelicals and Southern Baptists in the way that they can speak love with Jesus and then damnation based on other biblical and non-biblical politicians throughout history whose agendas should be seen as contradictory to those of Jesus)
CHURCH TOMORROW ! Make sure you attend.
It's time to realize God is a very dirty word. How can anyone of conscience still be in the catholic church.
You sound like Stalin... same thought.... North Korean dictator thinks the same.
They are free to be Catholic because they know the truth behind the malice being mucked upon them.
Must you be as divisive and derisive as the Obama camp?
IN GOD WE TRUST as the motto and on our currency is more than enough saying we are a Christian country.
God refers to the Christian God of course because Christians are the majority and they were the once putting it.... I don't care if it was put 60 years ago, or 200 years ago.
Of course you don't care. You're a little turd.
Tom you carry cash on you? Shame on you if you do.
the only reference in our legal papers is to god of nature, which is nature, which is Pantheistic
Notice it doesn't say "In Christ We Trust." I have noticed that American christians seem to be more of the "talk the talk" kind than the "walk the walk" kind. Ryan seems to fit christianity to himself rather than fitting himself to christianity. Christianity is not a garment you put on, but a behavior you display and Ryan misses that distinction.
I actually think it will be phased out. Buildings that carry that are historical and should not offend someone because they are like old photos that are not easily changed and are more a curiosity. But currency is often associated with a more current representation of a country and updated from time to time, sometimes for a specific even like some centenial. Definitely a mistake to include God on that (Eisenhower's admin?). Anyway, I think it will be phased out, since we are not a Christian country and we were not founded on any religion (even though we were founded by Christians).
This guy drove a hot -dog cart before he got into politics.He's a black belt in slipping the weeny to others,espescialy the old and sick.If you have to tie your shoe make sure you keep at least ten feet away.
Why are you gay bashing?
I apologize for not knowing how to embed the video. The video shows Ryan supporting Rand's view on the morality of capitalism.
What could possibly be better than Capitalism?
The web video "Make Mine Freedom" covers Capitalism and the other ISMs.
MMF is an inane cartoon that has less to recommend it than "Make Mine Music".
Then review "The American Form of Government", it's substantiated by Historical Facts and History books you can actually find in a Library.
Nope. Give me a synopsis. Otherwise, I am not interested.
Tom consistently refuses any references that do not conform to her preceptions
Last week I fired two non-Christian workers after I found that they did not attend church on Sunday. Of course I made up another reason 🙂 That's what happens in my company...
Then you're the first 14-year-old to own a company and the only thing you are a Daddy to is a gerbil.
You are obviously not Christian. A real Christian would never fire people for not attending church. Jesus did not attend church, now did he?
You are a horrid individual, and a blaspheme to your supposed Lord and Savior.
May you rot with your dead god.
Seems like you missed the whole point behind most every religion in the world. One of the central tenets of virtually every modern religion is 'Do unto others as you would have done onto you.' Most religions also say that judgement is not for you to decide. You call yourself a Christian and can't even be bothered to follow your religions rules? How would you feel if a company run by a Muslim or a Buddhist bought your company, then learned that you didn't share the same beliefs and fired you for it? There's a reason why most civilized countries allow for freedom of religion. Who or what a person worships has nothing to do with their ability to do their job, doesn't affect you, nor is it your business to know what a person does with their spare time in the first place. I hope your former employees take you to court over discrimination charges as you need a lesson in humility.
Dave, your sentiments are admirable and your post was great, but don't bother wasting time on this "Daddy". it's nothing but a little troll who isn't here for any purpose other than to get a reaction by posting idiocy.
Every one of you was duped by this troll
Wise move! I bet you have none of the usual problems that come with hiring people that hate Christians and have different morals then we do..
Why is the Faith of right wing politicians open to attack and opinion, but if anyone questions Mr. Obama's faith, they are either a racist or told it is unimportant? I honestly don't care what faith Mr. Obama has, nor any other candidate, but does seem to be a bit two faced of people to talk about someones faith when all we heard in 2008 how it didn't matter. And, if it is unimportant what faith Ryan is, then why this story?
Do you really think CNN is representative of the majority of voters? It's a business. Whatever brings in the most readers is the the article of the day, the more controversial the better.
Because if there is such a thing as Christianity, then it has been subverted, corrupted, and destroyed form what it may once have been. Those that call themselves Christian these days are closer to evil than I have ever encountered.
May you all ROT with your dead god.
Maybe because we prefer someone who lives it rather than talking it.
Because right-wing politicians are lying hippocrites who mis -use faith to further their greed and political interests.They use religion as a weapon and I truly believe they have no beliefs.They don't have a kind, sensiive bone in their bodies.I bet they have no charity at all and you could not get a nickle out of one if you were dying of hunger.A guy came to our door one day asking for donations for a very legitimate cause.He said the worst neighborhood to even get adime was an upscale Republican neighborhood.Not to condemn all Republicans but for the most part these mainly Christian voters are cheap and selfish.
@ one who care – Now you understand what Jefferson meant when he called Christianity the most sublime and benevolent religion ever perverted by man
Tom I buy you one-way ticket to Saudi Arabia and let's see if you could last two minutes having your head attached to your body. You are WAY too spoiled in Christian America....
Awww, honey. I KNEW you cared! SMOOCH!
Psht, no need to buy a ticket to another country, I can see a time coming when I have to worry about the well-being of my head in this country.
I worry more about the empty headed Apples we have here!
Christian America? No way. USA is a country of entirely Secular Laws. We are a secular nation. secular, secular, secular
Martin.... Nice try dude. We are in no way a retarded secular nation
No, this isn't a "retarded secular nation". It's just a regular secular nation. The only thing that's retarded here is you.
Finally a Uniting influence in governance.
The current Presidency has been dividing us by Race, Religion, Income, Culture, Social Ideology, ...
We're tired of Obama-isms. His divisiveness and policies remind me of the web video "Make Mine Freedom".
Who is this "we" you are speaking for? You are not royal and can dispense with the royal we; you speak only for yourself.
Anyone who bases his/her judgment on some stupid pop video is likely not old enough to vote.
Count me in the "we"
He's another one of the hypocritical right-wing conservatives that believe acting as if they care about unborn humans gives them some sort or moral superiority. Unfortunately once the baby is born and take their first breath they view them as a leach on society that should be denied food, shelter and health care.
What you are saying is deceitful and you know it.
A-freaking-men, Bro. Ryan is another of the Pharisees whose acts don't live up to his self-advertising.
"Year of our Lord" was used in the const.itution – one of hundreds of reason we're a Christian nation
Is that your thesis statement? Really? You're going to go with that?
That was referring to Lord Fauntleroy,not a religious figure.Read up!
Year of our Lord is nothing more than a convention without meaning. The United Nations is hardly christian, and it uses the same calendar.
Tom Tom..... sooner or later I bet you will convert to be saved. Remember it could be too late buddy.
And I'll bet you're a 14-year-old who doesn't have a girlfriend that doesn't require a bicycle pump.
Maybe if there was officially no religion at all we wouldn't have all these wars,killings, hatred and stupidity Think about that for awhile.Genius!
Yeah also if there was no atheism..... Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot killed MILLIONS of religious people because they hated religion and because of their atheism
"Jewish"The popes killed just as many and would have killed more if the world was as populated the nas it is now.
The spelling is "Yehudi" in Hebrew, my mistake. Hinduism did NOT originate in Egypt. All evidence points to the territory that today makes up India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Sounds like someone is reading too much Al Jazeera. Anyone who can say that Hinduism started outside the Indian Subcontinent obviously has lived in a cave. Next you'll be telling us the Holocaust never happened, and that "Palestinian" is a real nationality, rather than misplaced Egyptians and Jordanians. Unfortunately for your educational opportunities (after all, I suspect you rode the short bus as a kid), I have more important things to do then stay here all night. My advice: do some reading, and not just the Paki Muslim propaganda you seem so good at spewing. Twit!
Muslims, Hindus, Jews are all worthless anyway....
Answer to your hinduism, absurdity is only Google away, to hind, deny truth absolute is way of hindu's, lairs, hinduism had nothing to do with subcontinent and every thing with Egypt, Sons of Prophet Jacob married in to hindu' pagan Pharaoh's family and stayed among them for hundred's of years, Jew's are blood brothers of hindu's and German Saxons but in reality from Carthage of Tunisia, part of Egypt in past history..
Palestinian is as much a nationality as Israeli, Egyptian, or American. You apparently have no idea what a nation is.
I love Jesus Christ; my Lord and Savior.
Sorry but I have to sleep now to wake up for wonderful church tomorrow to pray and feel better.
Also to clean away my bad sins.
What about my good sins?
America is a Christian country and it does not matter what sect a president or politician is... we are all Christians.
WHAT? Since when? Are you drunk?
Since 1776 and even before when we were a colony of England.
I can only hope you are some dumb kid who is still in school and just doesn't know any better.
"We were a colony of England."
Do you have any idea what you are babbling about?
Saying America ain't Christian country is like denying Washington was not first president
What is it you think happened in 1776, dear?
OK, you're either a fvckwit or a troll. I'm betting on the latter.
Have fun, darling!
No, he is a hindu ignorant borne again Christian, refusing to grow up, even though he was borne years ago.
each of the colonies were indeed established as Chistian UNTIL THE REVOLUTION. They were founded by multiple different sects (Puritans, Catholics, Anglicans etc) and spent part of the 17th century killing each other because they had different opinions on what Christianity meant. Look up the 'Battle of the Severn' if you don't believe me.
None of these sects could agree with each other on the 'true faith'. Once the new country was formed, they kicked God out of the new Const'tution and permitted free exercise of religion everywhere in the United States.
The United States IS NOT, AND NEVER WAS a "Christian" country. It is a country that permits freedom of religious expression, including Christianity.
Wrong NY, look up Treaty of Tripoli, 1797. End of story.
I always knew the word "antidisestablishmentarianism" because it is a very long word.
I didn't know we still needed it in everyday usage. Apparently we do.
I'm sick and tired of 80% of the U.S. population for not acting the way Christians should be... if they were as strong and as intolerant as Muslims are, now we would have put Christianity as an official religion in the U.S. federal and let non-Christians keep their mouth shut. Unfortunately Christians are weak :/
Mmmm yes, that would be ideal. Every person working for their fellow man, glassy-eyed and marching in lockstep with each other, afraid to say the wrong thing for fear of the police visiting you in the middle of the night. Never knowing if you have been holy enough to satisfy your superiors. Praying for your kids to get well because medicine has been banned as a tool of 'those scientific heathens' and then wringing your hands in abject misery when your child dies and carrying the stigma of not praying hard enough.
*shivers* Truly you have painted paradise, Joel.
Good old diversity! Ask the Native American Indian how wonderful that is.