Kaine and Pence share their Catholic views and how it might affect their decisions.
Tim Kaine, the vice presidential running mate of Hillary Clinton, grew up in a traditional Irish Catholic family. During his youth, he went on a 9-month mission to Honduras, where he worked with Jesuit missionaries. It was there he mastered “liberation theology,” a controversial gospel whose main theme was social justice for the poor. In his own accounts, he also witnessed extreme poverty while he was there. Kaine is a Roman Catholic. He is against abortion, however, he also believes a woman should have the right to choose whether she wants to carry out a pregnancy. He is noted for his conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church, especially in issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
Mike Pence, the vice presidential running mate of Donald Trump, also grew up in a traditional Irish Catholic family. While in college, his association with a group of young evangelical Christians lead him to become a born-again Christian. He calls himself an evangelical Catholic. He is concerned about one of the biggest threats faced by the Church today, the mass conversion of Catholics to evangelical Protestants.
Both Kaine and Pence have already brought religion into the 2016 presidential election. However, most of the political experts believe their testaments about their faith will not make any big impact on the outcome of the election. Their religious views may reflect in their future work but as of now, they will not make much difference.
Not a single question about tax policy but time for a question about religion. So much for separation of church and state.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) October 5, 2016
A question some think should not have been asking during a vice presidential debate is one surrounding the balance of personal religious beliefs and public policy decisions. The moderator asked, “Can you discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position?”
Kaine and Pence shared the following:
KAINE: “That is an easy one for me, I am really fortunate I grew up in a wonderful household with great Irish Catholic parents — my mom and dad are sitting right here. I was educated by Jesuits at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. And I worked with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras now nearly 35 years ago –and they were the heroes of my life. I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I do not believe in this nation — a first amendment nation where we do not raise any religion over the other and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone. For me the hardest struggle in my faith life was the Catholic Church is against the death penalty and so am I. But I was governor of a state — the state law said there was death penalty for crimes that the jury determined to be heinous. So I had to grapple with that. When I was running for governor — I was attacked pretty strongly because my position on the death penalty. But I looked to the voters of Virginia in the eye and said look, this is my religion — I’m not going to change my religious practice to get one vote, but I know how to take an oath to uphold the law, and if you elect me I will uphold law. And I was elected and I did. It was very difficult to allow executions to go forward, but in circumstances where I did not feel like there’s a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law and I did. That was a real struggle — but I think it is really, really important that those of us who have deep faith lives do not feel like we can just substitute our own views for everybody else in society — regardless of their views.”
PENCE: “It’s a wonderful question and my Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am. I was also raised in a wonderful family of faith. It was church on Sunday morning and grace before dinner. But my Christian faith became real for me when I made a personal decision for Christ when I was a freshman in college. And I have tried to live that out — however imperfectly every day of my life since. With my wife at my side, we have followed a calling into public service where we have tried to keep faith with the values that we cherish. And with regard to when I struggle, I appreciate and I have a great deal of respect for the Senator Kaine’s sincere faith. I truly do.”
KAINE: “That’s shared.”
PENCE: “But for me, I would tell you — the sanctity of life proceeds out of the belief that ancient principle that where God says before you were formed in the womb I knew you, and so for my first time in public life, I sought to stand with great compassion for the sanctity of life. The state of Indiana is also — sought to make sure we expand alternatives and healthcare counseling for women — non-abortion alternatives. I’m also pleased with the fact we are well on our way in Indiana to becoming most pro-adoption state in America. I think if you’re going to be pro-life you should be pro-adoption. But what I can’t understand is with Hillary Clinton and now the senator at her side — is to support a practice like partial birth abortion — and to hold to the view — I know Senator you hold pro-life views personally, but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me. I cannot have conscious about a party that supports that. Or that – I know you have historically opposed taxpayer funding of abortion — but Hillary Clinton wants to repeal the long-standing provision in the law where we said we wouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. So for me, my faith informs my life. I tried to spend a little time on my knees every day. But it all for me begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life.”
It is noted that Hillary Clinton is relying on the black churchgoers, and Donald Trump is hoping for the support of the white evangelicals. People of faith are still looking between the two candidates, one who cannot even cite a single Bible verse, another who concedes that it does not come naturally to discuss her own faith.
Pence and Kaine. Two Roman Catholics. The former professing acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and… https://t.co/1rOHEhXTOX
— Julie Byrne (@JulieByrneHUCS) October 5, 2016
In the debate that happened last night, Mike Pence was calm, polite, and poised. He spoke about the role his faith plays on issues such as abortion rights, very eloquently. Many are of the opinion it should be Pence who should be running for the presidential position.
No matter what, the next Vice President will be a Catholic, either in practice or in origin.