My Take: Paul Ryan will provoke a debate on Catholic politics
Mitt Romney's VP pick, Paul Ryan, means there will be Catholics on both party tickets. Vice President Joe Biden is also a Catholic.
August 14th, 2012
10:41 AM ET

My Take: Paul Ryan will provoke a debate on Catholic politics

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A lot has been written about the “Mormon moment” in American politics. But the election of 2012 is starting to shape up as a “Catholic moment,” too.

Now that Mitt Romney has tapped the former altar boy (and Rep.) Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, there will be a Catholic on both major party tickets for the first time in U.S. history.

So as Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden articulate their views, we will be tuning into an intra-Catholic conversation pitting “social justice” Christians on the left versus “family values” Christians on the right.

Because this election will doubtless focus on the economy, and because Ryan is known primarily as the author of a budget passed this year in the Republican-controlled House, this debate will not focus primarily on social questions such as abortion and same-sex marriage but on economic concerns such as tax policy and the safety net. What would Jesus do about our debt and the deficit?

In a preview of the debates to come, Catholic bishops wrote four letters to Congress in April attacking the Ryan budget as unjust and calling for “a circle of protection ... around essential programs that serve poor and vulnerable people.”

These letters, signed by leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, articulated general principles of Catholic social teaching. “A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects ‘the least of these’ (Matthew 25),” wrote Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California. “The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”

Another letter, co-signed by Blaire and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, argued that “the needs of those who are hungry, poor and vulnerable should come before assistance to those who are relatively well off and powerful” and spoke of drawing a “circle of protection” around the “poor and vulnerable.”

But America's bishops also took aim at specific policy proposals, including cuts to affordable housing programs, cuts in food stamps and changes to the Child Tax Credit.

Blaire insisted that “just solutions” to our budget problems “must require shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and fairly addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs,” before concluding that the Ryan budget “fails to meet these moral criteria.”

To his credit, Ryan responded to these letters not just with canned talking points but with a fairly detailed defense of his understanding of Catholic social thought.

In an April interview with David Brody, Ryan admitted that the “preferential option for the poor” was “one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching.” But he insisted this idea “means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life; help people get out of poverty, out into a life of independence.”

A year earlier, in a letter to Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Ryan said his budget was informed by the Catholic principle of "subsidiarity,” which he equated with “federalism,” and more particularly with the practice of addressing social problems with local rather than national solutions.

Lots of things changed when Romney tapped Ryan as his vice-presidential pick. Among those things is the religious dynamic of the 2012 election. We have in Romney/Ryan what is arguably the first non-Protestant ticket in U.S. history.

And in the vice-presidential tussle between Ryan and Biden we have the promise of a civil and informed debate about Christian values and economic policy.

For far too long, politicians have been able to name check God or point vaguely to the Bible to gain the imprimatur of heaven for their particular policies or their political party. That sort of "God on our side" politics has been bad for both our religious and our public life.

But substantive debates about Christianity and politics are potentially healthy for both.

A century and a half ago, Americans engaged in a collective conversation about the Bible and slavery that was both civil and informed. Is it too much to hope that an intelligent debate about Christianity and the economy is now in the offing? If so, we will likely have Ryan (and Romney) to thank.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Economy • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Politics • Poverty • United States

soundoff (1,003 Responses)
  1. gerald

    Biden is a Cino and there is no dichotomy between true social justice and family values. Communism isn't social justice Mr. Protheo

    August 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  2. Life Of Brian

    Brian: I am not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
    Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
    Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
    Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
    Brian: Now, fvck off!
    Arthur: How shall we fvck off, O Lord?

    Really how shall the religious just fvck off already, your day will soon be done.

    August 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • gerald

      Follow the gourd.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • steve

      Chill out. Always look on the bright side of life.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  3. Reality

    And there goes Stevie P. again chattering away about other people's beliefs never disclosing his own beliefs which taint anyones chatter. Once he did admit to loving all the gods which then begs the question does he support Allah's dictates as noted below.

    o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
    "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

    "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

    "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

    "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

    "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

    "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

    "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

    "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

    "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

    "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

    "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

    "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

    "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

    "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

    August 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      He pretty much let the cat out of the bag during the Aurora thing.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • mitch

      Keep the info coming, I am to lazy to do the research, but the more we/you can point out that all deities are illusions, the faster we will be free of the curse of religons.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • danita

      I truly hope people take the time to read this since you did spend a while on it. I'm passing this one.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  4. Tom

    We had this debate in the 60's. Enough already.

    Catholics in America do not take order from the Vatican. If they did they would all be Republican for its prolife stance. Stop the bigotry you idiot.

    August 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Great. If they don't take orders from the Vatican, then the Obama health care issue is mute, as they decide for themselves, anyway.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • gerald

      Nice broad brush. Lots of them do stay in step with the vatican. Paul Ryan is one of them.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • God

      60-70 % of Catholic women DO use BC, gerry.

      August 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • steve

      Paul Ryan is very much out of step with the Vatican in regards to social justice and wars.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • steve

      I think lthe numbers are closer to 90%. http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/-do-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-birth-control-ctd.html

      August 17, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  5. ME II

    "A century and a half ago, Americans engaged in a collective conversation about the Bible and slavery that was both civil and informed. "

    Not sure that Civil War is what we should be hoping for here.

    August 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the bible supports slavery throughout.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. WASP

    " God allows it for a reason."
    August 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    ROFLMFAO.............."god allows it" how can an imaginary creature permit or deny anything? that is the same as saying "god allows people to get shot" sick dude really sick

    August 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • ViK100

      absolutely God allows it. God allows you to choose not to have him in your life.. just don't go crying to him for help when you most need him.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  7. TheVocalAtheist

    No need for a God or a religion in any of this. It's counterproductive and based on the teachings of a supernatural philosophy. Nonsense.

    August 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      People who say they don't believe in God delude themselves. They simply have concluded that they are god and they can do whatever they want to do. Without morality to guide us, we become bratty children, selfishly out for ourselves. Look at where our culture is today – clear proof of what happens to people whey they deny the existence of God.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • steve

      The atheists and agnostics I know are more moral then the Christians I know. Atheists do something considered immoral they ask the person they offended for forgiveness.. Christians do something considered immoral they just say I'm not perfect and ask God to forgive them.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  8. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    This Gary Weiss piece posted to the 'Election Center" is more compelling on Ryan than Mr. Prothero's piece above.


    August 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  9. Topher

    Why did God become a man?

    God did this wonderful thing for various reasons:
    1.To fulfill the prophecies of God's Word

    2.To satisfy the law, paying for all who are guilty of sin (Isa. 53; Heb. 9:12,15). By his sacrifice, he purchased the right to give us salvation.

    3.To show us an example of how to live, and to tell us important stories face-to-face.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • kindless

      Now Topher, hon, I don't buy into all that make-believe stuff. But if all that craziness were true, how in the world did catholics take those things jesus said and mess them up so bad? (You know, especially regarding your #3.) You need to get some chamomile tea and sit down and think about what you're saying here dear!

      August 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Atheists also take perfectly good rational thought and mess it up by getting into arguments that should be of no import to them...

      August 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Because he loathed his breasts?

      Because if he became a Labrador, he would have looked silly?

      Because he couldn't become a God?

      August 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • WASP

      @toph: ok i have to ask because the whole " why did jesus become a man" thing. lmfao
      1) if eve was the "original" sinner then adam shouldn't jesus have been born a female and executed......opps i mean sacrificed for our sins?
      2) why is it that all three of the trinity are depicted as male? shouldn't "god" be a unik; seeing it truly has no reproductive organs to depict gender? or could it be that it was the male dominated history lead by men that stated for a fact god was male?
      3) i have seen more good from non-believers, than most of the faithful i have ever met in my life, so seeing "jesus" was born during a time when men beat and enslaved females just for the hell of it, i doubt he was such a great guy as the old myths want you to believe.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • you forgot

      4. None of the above

      August 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • sam

      God became a man to fulfill *his own* prophecies?? That's...did you type that with a straight face? You did. I know you did.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Just a john

      Sh*it, Topher
      There you go getting me all confused again. I thought the jesus/messiah figure was the son of god and the virgin human Mary. Now the concept of the holy trinity means to me it was actually all three that were whacked up on the cross all at once, the father, the son and the holy ghost, right. So who was left to run the shop for the three days it takes to be resurected? The more I try to make sense of your mythical beliefs, the more I tend to go with Zeus and Dionysus, at least they knew how to get laid and party.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • mitch

      OK I know look not walk, ouch, ouch, ouch!

      August 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      What a bunch of crap.
      So god(s) had to incarnate to fulfill what he said ? Why didn't he just keep his mouth shut, in the first place, if he was omniscient ? Who set up the "law" of retribution in the first place. Why didn't he just repeal the law ? I thought he was forgiving. The idea that an eons long p.i.s.s.e.d. off deity, required his own son to die for his own satisfaction, is so barbaric, it's unspeakable. And you call THAT an example. OMFG.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • ViK100

      Jesus came to save us. To give us hope when none existed and showed us the greatness of the Father while he was at it.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So Jesus is trying to save us from something his dad doesn't have to do? That's stupid. It'd be like telling my kids, "Hey, I'm gonna kill you tomorrow, but if Momma hides you under the bed I won't know where you are so I won't, and I don't want any of you to die, so accept the gift of Momma's hiding ability!!" Ummmm... Dad, how about just not doing any killing tomorrow?

      August 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  10. Honey Badger Dont Care

    The whole rational behind the CC not wanting people to use birth control and having abortions comes from the middle ages when they just needed more people to pay ti the and for their religious wars. Pretty simple really.

    That CC, as well as all other religions, have outlasted their need. If there ever was one.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Well it has been having great success as a Pedophiles paradise.

      That should count for something.

      But I bet some of those nuns would be better utilized as synchronized swim teams for the third world

      August 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I dont know, the habit might get in the way.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bob

      William – funny mental picture re synchro nuns in the pool. Very appropriately ridiculous.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You people are delusional. I am, of course assuming you are sincere.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Bob wrote:
      "William – funny mental picture re synchro nuns in the pool. Very appropriately ridiculous."

      Well – it might be a variation on some of the choreography in The Meaning of Life", but I think given the right budget, some form of a Monty Python team could pull it off most gloriously.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Bill, what do you mean 'you people'?

      August 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bill and Honey.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • mitch

      @Bill Deacon
      Atheists are imaginative, the religious are delusional. Always walk on the lighter side of life-Monty Python

      August 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • mitch

      brighter, or lighter, sorry mia culpa, self-flagelation currently in progress. Ouch!

      August 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes it takes something whether it be imagination, delusion, bigotry or ignorance to consider the Catholic faith a pedophiles paradise. I suppose as long as you all are amusing yourselves

      August 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • mitch

      Ok I know, look not walk, and I screwed this up too, wrong post at first. I can't flagelate anymore, it is over.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  11. nmmell08

    Catholic church is a mixed bag. Promoting charity and protecting the poor is great, their social policy is...well it makes me cringe. I don't think the Catholic Church follows the key tennet of Jesus's teachings which is "Love your Neighbor". If this country could just do that...instead of trying to use our religion to dicitate social policy, we would be much better off

    August 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Have you read the catechism of the Church or any pontificals? It sounds as if you are basing your thoughts on things you've heard.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Hey Bill, I was raised Catholic & memorized my Catechism & even my Latin pryer responses as an altar boy. Then I began reading the Four Gospels of Jesus & began a deeper relation with Jesus & the Father. I also realized how far the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, like most organized religions, had strayed from the teachings of Jesus.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      sonny, You remind me of a song. "Me and Jesus got our own thing going."

      August 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Nmme- The only concern is that while one group declares that the opposition is trying to insert its views when we look at all of the special interest groups and lobbyist that do the exact same thing we have to ask should we try to limit one group and not limit the others? We have so many decrying the politicians who are putting forth their personal agendas that stand in opposition to theirs but do they feel the same of the ones that do the same for agendas that they support?

      August 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon
      "Have you read the catechism of the Church or any pontificals?"
      Not sure those are needed to understand that the Church thinks that contraceptives should (almost) never be used. This has a direct impact on public health in a negative way.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I would maintain that promiscuous seexuality is a bigger health care concern that drives the need for artificial contraception. But that's just me.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      Who said anything about promiscuous se.x?
      What about overpopulation? Allowing parents to decide how many mouths they will have to feed.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  12. YBP

    The Mormon Proposition (doc film) shows that the church lurked in the shadows, partnering with the Knights of Columbus, a as a more respectable frontman to put forward their cruel Prop 8 agenda. Is Romney using that same strategy now, trying to keep his religion under the radar until November? It seems possible. There's a recent brit doc film called The Mormon Candidate that addresses numerous concerns. Everyone should check it out right away.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I don't think that anyone is under any delusions about who paid for Prop 8. Mormons represent about 1.7% (about the same as Jews) of Americans but funded (from memory) about 50%* of the donations to Prop 8.

      I'm not afraid of Mr. Romney's religion. If he was allowed to govern the way he did in Massachusetts, I wouldn't even be all that afraid of his politics. I am afraid of what the RNC will morph him into.

      * I haven't checked that data – it could be wrong.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  13. da Pope

    As long as they do not promote the use of contraceptives...I need more catholics donating to my fund every Sunday.
    Bless you...

    August 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  14. SafeJourney

    Read what the Catholic bishops and nuns think about Ryans budget plan. Ryans plan is more in line with his idol Any Rand views

    August 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      They may not like Ryan's budget but the are suing Obama.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • J.W

      Maybe it would be best for all the Catholics to sit this election out.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Fat chance

      August 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  15. ooshie

    Not that one's vote should be based entirely on this, but considering the WWJD issue since WWJD was mentioned in the article: If J were around today, would he more likely have been a captain of finance or a community organizer dealing with, but not exclusively with, issues of the poor? (I'm not suggesting that either candidate is a J).

    August 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • nmmell08

      Likely the latter, he was focused on that in the past. Historians beleive he exsisted, we just don't know exactly who or what he was

      August 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • William Demuth

      What would Scooby Doo be doing if he was real?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      What Would jesus Do, for a Klondike Bar?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • old ben

      William Demuth wrote:

      "What would Scooby Doo be doing if he was real?" Good question. Difficult to say, but I do know one thing he would not be doing: synchronized swimming

      August 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • William Demuth

      old ben

      Not even for a Scooby Snack, or to save all of our collective immortal souls?

      Then Scooby is not a real savior.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I bet that the eucharist and Scooby Snacks are made of the same thing.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • steve

      Jesus was not shy in hiding his disdain of the wealthy.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  16. Magesterium

    Vice-President Biden is a CINO. He supports abortion. He supports gay "marriage". Anyone can self-identify as a Catholic. The question is: would the Church identify them as Catholic? The Church has stated on more than one occasion that people who support or participate in abortion are NOT Catholics in good standing and should refrain from speaking on those issues. For anyone who is curious, "Magisterium" means "the teaching authority of the Catholic Church", specifically, the Pope and the Bishops of the world. Please don't insult the Faith by numbering Mr. Biden as a Catholic in Good Standing.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Biden is VP for ALL Americans. Not just Catholic ones. As per the constîtution, the VP, like other leaders, is tasked with suppporting the civil rights of all citizens.

      You religious nutters seem to think we are a theocracy. We aren't.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      yes, very important point Primewonk. If Magesterium and keith doesn't understand the basic, ultimate responsibilities of the office of VP, then they should stick with things they may know – let them go shine Kirk Cameron's shoes or something else

      August 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      (don't, not doesn't)

      August 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Simran

      Does the Church have the authority to decide who is and who is not a Catholic? How do they decide? Do they conduct a national survey of some sort and then stamp you with an I Card saying Catholic?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wonk, since Biden is Catholic but supports issues that puts him at odds with the Catholic church and Ryan's budget is also at issue with the church as well ... seems like both Biden and Ryan are not governing under the command of the Catholic Church.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Prayer changed my oil. Alleluia, amen.

      No one cares that in the flawed and un-biblical top down authority model of the Roman church, the bishops have appropriate for themselves an authority that belongs to the entire church. The Holy Spirit works among your members, if it works at all. Your all male bishops think it also works only among half the population of the planet. Your church is doomed, unless it recognizes women, and their value, and finds a model which actually values the members of the church, (bottom up). I suspect they never will.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Exactly PCMOAA,
      The premise in all the bs is that the hierarchy actually IS the church. Since a). the hierarchy never asked the church, and b). the majority of the church actually DOES use birth control, the argument is deeply flawed. They as'sert the church is the Mystical Body, but, in fact they don't really believe it, and neither do the bishops.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  17. sigmond seamonster

    Go to Jerusalem and kiss the Wailing Wall Paul Ryan. Show your loyalty and allegiance to Israel by kissing the Wailing Wall with the same lips that drink your Holy Communion. Then smile for the cameras with plastic veneer clip-on white teeth. Smile and send more young Americans to fight wars in the Middle East they know nothing about or understand. Send the youth of your Country to suffer for the sake of Israel, then you will have the opportunity to become Vice President. Kiss the Wailing Wall like Romney, like Bush, like Obama, like Clinton. Show your allegiance to your Master, O israel.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Somebody nails three faiths with one posting!

      Alas I bet your of the fourth one aren't you? Well I suggest you go back to work blowing up school busses, this website is own lock stock and barrell by the zionists.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • SonOfTheSouthVA


      August 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  18. sigmond seamonster

    Go to Jerusalem and kiss the Wailing Wall Paul Ryan. Show your loyalty and allegiance to Israel by kissing the Wailing Wall with the same lips that drink your Holy Communion. Then smile for the cameras with your plastic veneer clip-on white teeth. Smile and send more young Americans to fight wars in the Middle East they know nothing about or understand. Send the youth of your Country to suffer for the sake of Israel, then you will have the opportunity to become Vice President. Kiss the Wailing Wall like Romney, like Bush, like Obama, like Clinton. Show your allegiance to your Master, O israel.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  19. zafrogzen

    There's one problem with Ryan's dogma about government dependence - it cost way more to help people acquire the means and skills to stand on there own economically than it does to give them a small stipend or cash payment so they can just survive. Another fact - a large majority of folks who do take government help only need it for a short period, not permanently as Ryan suggests. Figuring out how to help people get on their own is a worthy objective, that could be bipartisan, but Ryan and fellow repubs aren't interested in that.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Robyn

      Sorry but your facts are incorrect. If people do not acquire the necessary skills to better themselves they will remain on the system. You have multiple generations that have been on the system and know it better than those of us that actually work for the govt.
      The other major factor in my opinion that you are not addressing is that bottom line it is the responsibility of the individual to support themselves and their families. Yes of course, things happen and people could rely on the system but as it stands right now there is no time limit on SNAP – which means forever and only a 5 year max on TANF. Not to mention the fact that a college student can get approx $150 a month for SNAP while a senior citizen only receives $15. Paul Ryan is talking about adjusting and reforming the system to correct these issues.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • nmmell08

      Well RObyn it is impossible to get the skills if job training funds are way too low to meet the demand.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Granted many feed on the government. and I hope they get rounded up and shot.

      It is the ones in the middle who suffer. Stop giving tax dollars to both the top AND the bottom.

      Keep taxes for projects that benifit the masses and NOT individuals. Many of the non working class will turn to crime, and many of the elite will flee the country, but overall we will all be better off.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Robyn


      Everyone gets an education and it is up to each of us to use it to the best of our ability. Kinda goes back to my point about individual accountability. When you review the numbers, those that complain about wanting more education from the govt are the same ones that dropped out of High School. I not only work a full time job, supprt my boys and just finished my college education. It can be done if someone is driven, determined and accountable for their futures.

      I don't want anything I have not earned. If we had more people living under that same concept we would not be in the financial mess we are in now. In my opinion based on the facts of the individual's running for office there is only one logical choice and that is Romney/Ryan. They are not saying that we should not "help" those that are down but only if they are deserving and are trying to help themselves as well. Accountabillity is key.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • nmmell08

      I can tell you from what I have seen Robyn that no two schools are equal. My school was excellent, a top school in CT and a top 50 school nationally likely as a public school. Other schools are underfunded and the kids do not have the tools to succede. And then those who want to get the skills, the job training funds dry up so fast many can't get help

      August 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Robyn, you are missing the main point.

      They are liars. Romney tells you what you want to hear BECAUSE it is what you want to hear.

      Wealth has been flowing to the top for generations, and while I admire your drive to climb up, your odds of prospering in the current system are going DOWN, not up.

      As long as we permit wealth to become political power, you will be kept down, or co copted to support their agenda, not yours.

      And as for your boys, they may well get them killed supporting their agenda.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Or if they are interested, they haven't proposed anything specific. We can be very sure it will cost more, though.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Robyn

      As a veteran I have served my county and I would be proud if my boys followed suit. Second I don't think Romney is telling me what I want to hear. The wealthy usually stay wealthy unless they make risky investments and lose it. Bottom line the wealthy are the ones in a position to take risks that those of us on the bottom tiers are not capable of, not because of anything other than financially speaking. At no point in time have I heard Romney/Ryan state that they do not expect the wealthy to pair their fair share. Not only are they paying in a higher tax bracket they are also taking the risks with their own money to create jobs etc. It is just way past time that those that are not paying to start paying. Why should they receive something for nothing? Again accountability.
      You are correct that no two school are the same. Some districts have more money than others. But bottom line if you really want an education you can receive one. Might not be the same as elsewhere but it is sure better than nothing. Knowledge is power and hard work is critical. You can take a GED and still attend at least a commuity college or trade school. In fact, trade schools are offering the best bang for the buck right now because they need skilled labor.
      And I can only assume you are referring to getting my boys killed from their agenda is in regards to the war. As a female veteran it is not just men going to war. Honestly if we all remember back to 9/11 we ALL wanted to go to war for justice. The entire country was for it. I for one was for it LONG before 9/11 because I had friends that were killed prior to it on the USS Cole. The war should have been over and done with long ago, but, you have people that don't want it won. Our fources are more than capable of finishing it, they just need the okay from the Commander in Cheif. As a veteran I went where I was told to go, proudly, doing my duty. But as a veteran you have to support those there and give them the means by which to win the war. Those here that are not vested in it don't care except for the financial side of things. We need a strong military and they should be the first to receive benefits.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I am glad you are willing to sacrifice your children, but I am not.

      As for your service, to each his own, but do not assume your sponsors nor your fellow citizen cared about your sacrifices in a losing effort.

      Ignore the rhetoric and look at what is really going on, and you will soon realize you were nothing more than a means to an end, a commodity, a resouce to be squandered.

      In an election cycle where none of the candidates have served, don't be so childish as to believe any of them care.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Robyn

      Then maybe you should pack your bags and move elsewhere.

      I along with millions of other veterans are proud of our service. No one can take that away from me. I personally think everyone should have to serve so they can see how the rest of the world lives. I also personally think your should not be President unless you have served because you have to know what it's like to send someone off to war. But those are not the laws of the land as such at this point.

      I have also seen first hand as a Patriot Guard Rider that hundreds come out to pay their respects for those that gave their all to serve their country. Again, some have the calling to serve their country while others stay at home, suppose to be doing their part on the home front. I want a home front that is strong and viable, not millions living on welfare because they feel the the government owes them something. I felt I owed my country so I served but I do not owe anyone setting on welfare when they are fully capable of working. In fact maybe we should send all of those on welfare overseas to serve so if we are going to have to feed and house them atleast they are working for it.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You are indoctrinated. I have served, my father and his brothers served, my mother’s brothers served.

      I have buried my best friends and carried their sisters from their graves, while recruiters tried to add more souls to the slaughter

      Most wars serve no purpose, and we haven't even attempted to win one in over a half century.

      If you choose to be part of a disposable underclass that is your right, but much water under the bridge and a lot of practical experience has taught me it is a destiny I prefer to leave to your children rather than my own.

      We need those willing to die so that others may prosper, so continue your sacrifices if you like, but do not expect applause, or even a living wage.

      Maintain your post till we can replace you with a machine that requires less benefits.


      August 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Robyn

      I will maintain my post because someone has to. The soliders have always tried to win the wars – it was those back here that have kept them from doing so.
      Second I earn my livng and I need NO ONE to insure that – I can do it on my own.

      That's the difference between me and you. I am willing to work for what little I have. Proud of my accomplishments and fully understand that I want more out of life, and willing to work for it.

      Lastly if you are not proud of your service to this country – that is a disgrace in my opinion. I am one woman proud of what I have done. If you choose not to be that is your right – oh yeah – because some served to give you those rights.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I shall advise my son to place that upon your sons tombstones when it is their turn to die in some meaningless conflict.

      Of course there shall be a charge for the engraving.

      Make the check out to "I Told You So"

      God Bless the Soldiers, for theirs is the imaginary kingdom of Vallhalla

      August 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Robyn

      Oh Willliam what a shame in deed.

      You have offered no advise to anyone of this forum of how to improve things what so ever. You just point fingers and talk about nothing.

      I would rather you not be any where near my grave or those of my family. Like I said earlier – you really should invest in property somewhere far far away from America. You have no desire to help or contribute in any way. You like no one, nothing positive to say. You are not finding a solution to any issues – you are part of the problem. So grow a pair and fly off to some 3rd world country so you can be in "power" since you seem to know everything – yet do nothing but run your mouth just to hear yourself speak.

      I will defend my country because it is the right thing to do. I will defend the rights of those that work, prosper and give something back to this country. Not free loaders and sob's like you.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Robyn

      Actually William I just figured it out.

      You are one of those Westboro crazies that I reeve up the engine on my Harley so I don't have to hear the bs coming from their mouths.

      Love the sound of my Harley!

      August 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I would offer you the same advice I offer Lnce Cpl Sam Cherman before he deployed on a peace keeping mission to Lebanon back during the Reagen era.

      Sam, I said, no one really cares. It's your life use it as you see fit, but realize it is just poilitics. Your life is meaningless to them.

      He laughed. Three weeks later I buried him after his barracks was blown up.

      We then brought our troops home and the whole pretext of him going for was forgottten.

      To many young men have died, and I for one will not believe that adding young woman to the casualty list is somehow progress.

      We have willingly lost the last half dozen wars we fought because the price of winning is too high.

      It is just cheaper to let you and those like you die. If that is what you want then by all means carry on, but remembr one thing. In victory or loss, with honor or shame, you will be discraded when you are no longer needed.

      It is the brutal truth of history, and you and your children deserve better.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Robyn

      My life is not worth anymore just because I am a woman. I want my boys to know and understand the cost of freedom and unfornately that means that some pay the ultimate cost. I believe in my country and felt a need to do my part by serving. Do most people not understand the cost, of course they don't because they have not served nor buried someone close to them.

      I do hold a great deal of politicians responsible for those that have died that really didn't need to. But the fact of the matter is that too many liberals want to win the war without giving those fighting the war the means by which to win the war. Hense why I said I think those in politics – especially the President – should have been a veteran. We have been fully capable of winning all of the wars we have been in, just did not have the support to get the job done. But with that said I fundamentally believe in doing the right thing and am willing to fight for it. Kind of like the Lee Greenwood song – I will gladly stand up and fight for her today.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You are far to defensive. I suspect some PTSD issues?

      I don't condemn you for what you do, more power to you. I just caution you with the fact that few people care.

      Your brethren are living under bridges, they are hanging themselves, shooting themselves, even lighting themselves on fire. They and being put into prison by the truckload, and still no one cares, Their usefulness is about used up, and we shall once again throw them under the bus. The ”market” has spoken and your commodity price is WAY down.

      We did it after Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and now Afghanistan, We pump silly songs into kids’ minds and then burn them out like disposable cigarette lighters being waved around at some country western concert.

      Now of course, all the reserved jobs won’t materialize, and all the "help" that is promised shall always be right around the corner that we never reach. I shall hear for the next ten years how we need more doctors, more meds and more jail cells, all for our fallen heroes.

      You ask what should be done, perhaps we might take a lesson from the Who (rather than that painful warbling of the right wing nut case you mention), and get down on our knees and pray we won’t get fooled again, so we don't waste another generation of kids on the dreams of conquest this nation indulges at the behest of simpletons and liars.

      If you can’t or won’t value yourself more than you do, rest assured no one else will.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      I think a majority will agree that Ryan is a menace. Where would you rather see a menace, Congress where he can do real damage, or a do-nothing position like VP? This presupposes Romney gets elected and nothing happens to him. Not the best or even a good choice, but still better than what we have now.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Robyn

      First off I have not PTSD issues. Just issues with people that do not support the veterans. Second we should be taking care of them because they have "earned" it unlike those setting on welfare etc. This country was founded by dreams of a better place. If this is the best you can dream of then I pity you becuase this dream of yours is millions of others nightmare.

      I can remember growing up when asked what I wanted to be – I said President. Because my mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be – with hard work and dedication – now we give out metals to our kids for just showing up. There is no drive, there is no determination, there is no fight. They just sit with their hands out wanting what their parents have spent years working for. I am very proud of my nephew that is in middle east right now serving him country instead of him sitting back here just going through the motions. Will he get killed over there, I certainlly hope not. But as a family we support him and am proud of him for standing up when so many others do nothing.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • J.W

      Bill it sounds like you are saying we should fight countries that we can easily destroy just for practice.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  20. keith

    Ok listen: Performing abortion and supporting the murderers is a sin. The Church as dictated that we as Catholics should not support any candidate that supports it. Contraception and the like are also not approved but DO NOT rise to murder of the fetus. Biden knows this and ignores it and still calls himself a Catholic, he should not unless he has changed his view and no longer supports murder of the unborn fetus. Thats all HE should just leave the Church and stop using it for political advantage.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      The church can't even dictate that it's preachers stop buggering little boys rear ends, but they can dictate what a woman can do with her uterus?

      I suggest you stop the nonesensical harrasment of women, and start sniffing the BVD of your preachers smelling for the sh1t of six year old boys.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      And they also hide pedophiles. I wouldn't listen to anyone in any position of power from that church if they were telling me how to make macaroni and cheese. Mmmmm, macaroni and cheese.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So pedophiles aren't hiding anywhere but in the Church? Does that even begin to make sense to you?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who are you to tell anyone else what to call himself or what to believe, you ninny?

      Get it through your skull: Over 90% of Catholics use artificial contraception at some point in their lives. Catholic women have abortions, too.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Simran

      @ Keith,
      Imagine a scenario. Ms X is carrying a pregnancy and prenatal screening tests show that the fetus has ANENCEPHALY (well that is a brain developmental defect) – now half of these babies do not survive birth and half die within hours of birth. Do you want to give mother the hell of going through a pregnancy all the while telling her that the baby is going to die anyways? Just bcoz you think your Jesus says so?

      August 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Although it should be painfully aware, I'll say it anyway. There is a vast difference between what the Roman Catholic Church teaches, and how people interpret it. It also teaches that ALL men (and women) sin. Biden's sins are just more public. Finally, it is God's job to judge, not ours.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • steve

      Actually Pope John Paul ll stated a person can use more then the abortion issue when deciding who to vote for. The whole social justice thing comes into play.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
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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.