Can Rand Paul Win Over the Religious Right?
Will Presidential hopeful Rand Paul’s faith be enough to sway the religious conservatives in the Republican party?
Senator Rand Paul announced his presidential campaign on April 7th in Louisville, Kentucky. He is known as a libertarian conservative, though he has a rather messy faith background. He is running under the slogan: “Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream.” The junior Republican may find himself competing against Jeb Bush, who recently began talking about running for president this upcoming election. According to recent polls, Jeb has a 21% lead on Paul, who only has 8%. Paul plans to go on a 5-day tour to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Kentucky and Iowa to kick off the start of his campaign.
Rand Paul and Religon
While Rand Paul was born and baptized as an Episcopalian, he and his wife currently attend the Presbyterian Church. However, he may have made some peculiar diversions in his faith while he was learning at Baylor and a member of the NoZe Brotherhood, a highly controversial secret society on the Baylor campus. According to recent interviews of college friends, while Paul attended Baylor, he had participated in some shady antics. They claimed that he had gotten really high, kidnapped a coed, and made her pray to a made-up water idol named “Aqua Buddha”. A later article by FactCheck made attempts to clarify the situation as a harmless prank.
In 2012, Rand Paul spoke at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit. The summit is held each year by social conservatives, a core demographic in the Republican party, but one that often gets brushed aside by those who subscribe to libertarian philosophies like Rand Paul. It’s an event that is essentially required for those looking to garner the evangelical vote for a presidential campaign. He expressed his own personal faith struggles, telling the crowd that “faith has never been easy for me“. He added that he has his own doubts, and he “struggle[s] to understand man’s inhumanity to man”. In March, at a breakfast prayer in D.C., he told the group that religion has a place and role in the government, even if the government does not have a role and place in religion.
In 2013, he spoke with Bloomberg on his gay marriage stance. He holds firm to his stance that his opinion does not matter when it comes to marriage, and he wants the states to be able to define marriage themselves. However, he personally openly opposes gay marriage. He said that he would not “change who I am or what I believe in.” He feels, however, that a marriage is a “contract between adults – I’m not for limiting contracts between adults.” He would rather reword the tax code to leave out the word marriage than redefine marriage across the nation for every state.