What the Ryan Pick Means for Religion and the Romney Campaign

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, shakes hands with his running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, before parting ways on the tarmac at Milwaukee-Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee on Aug. 12, 2012

When Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running made on Saturday, he clearly differentiated his fiscal policy from that of President Obama — but his choice of Ryan also said something important about how the candidate views the politics of religion.

Romney has been mostly quiet about his Mormon faith throughout the campaign. During the Republican primary, his faith appeared to hurt him in heavily evangelical Southern states, and some have argued it could depress evangelical turnout in the fall. The selection of Ryan, a Catholic, indicates that Romney is not concerned about these Mormon-evangelical pressure points.

If he had been worried, Romney could have picked VP short-lister Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty’s former longtime pastor Leith Anderson is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Pawlenty’s role as a Romney surrogate since he dropped out of the presidential race last fall has included a lot of outreach to the evangelical community.

Instead, Romney opted for Ryan, who may be a more natural fit on religious grounds. “Historically there has not been the same level of animosity between Mormons and Catholics as between Mormons and evangelicals,” says political scientist David Campbell of Notre Dame. “Today, when we look at how people of different faiths perceive one another, Catholics actually have quite a positive perception of Mormons [and vice versa].” Catholics and Mormons have found common cause in recent years, he says, in opposing same-sex marriage.

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The press has already made much of the fact that neither Romney nor Ryan is Protestant, but Mark DeMoss, an evangelical adviser to Romney, argues that denomination is not a determining factor among evangelical voters, who lean Republican. “Since the vast majority of evangelicals are more concerned about the values of a candidate than the religion or denomination, I don’t think it matters that there is not a Protestant on the Republican ticket,” he says.

Ryan’s Catholicism is also a reminder that the U.S. has accepted politicians from faith groups it once marginalized. “The Ryan pick demonstrates how completely mainstream Catholicism has become,” says Campbell. “Romney has a religious background that makes some voters wary, not unlike Catholicism in the days of John Kennedy.” Mormonism appears to be on the same track toward widespread cultural acceptance.

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With questions of Romney’s Mormonism on the back burner, the religious focus of the campaign will likely shift to a debate about Catholic values. The church has sparred with both parties this election year. Catholic bishops supported a lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s requirement that employees of Catholic hospitals and universities receive birth control coverage. But they also attacked the House Republican budget, written by Ryan, for proposing cuts to programs that aid the poor and elderly.

Stephen Schneck, director of Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Research, explains the choice between two very different Catholic VP options (Obama’s Vice President, Joe Biden, is Catholic too): Biden’s Catholicism “is the Catholicism of our ethnic neighborhoods and union halls and St. Christopher medals on the dashboard. Congressman Ryan’s Catholicism seems different,” he says. “It’s about obedience to the bishops, about pro-life politics, and reflects the professional class of Catholics who made it out of the old neighborhood and into the suburbs.”

No matter which vision wins out, America will inaugurate a Catholic Vice President in January for only the second time in its history. Romney hopes that milestone will mark the inauguration of the first Mormon President as well.

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SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Elizabeth Dias

Perhaps the power of the religious voter may not be so powerful these days.

Previously there was a sense that the issue of abortion could galvanize the masses. Have voters become more aware of the other issues at hand?  Or, more likely, in the case of Catholics,  are they bitter about their own religions or their former religions?  Catholicism has earned contempt in recent headlines. Catholic Dioceses are declaring bankruptcy as they legally defend serial pedophiles and then defend the bureacracy of the Church who concealed the pedophelia. The Catholic voting block is not at all in unity. (Check out the story about the Diocese of Wilmington DE for a glimpse at the gang rape legal defense horror- by the way, this is exactly where Joe Biden hails,  from Wilmington DE).

Thanks for your observations about the religious aspects of the 2012 election. It gets voters thinking...Do evangelicals despise Obama? Wait, hmmm, they aren't to keen for Mormons e ither? Would this hatred outweigh other sentiments?  Would all of them be smart enough to realize that Romney's rhetoric about War in Iran is a red flag? We will watch this closely.

ChowT
ChowT

Mormon president makes moron out of us.

RaymondSwenson
RaymondSwenson

Looks like your readers are full of religious bigotry towards Catholics and Mormons.

In 2002, coming off his success in managing the Winter Olympics, Romney could have easily chosen to relocate his residency to Utah and been elected governor there. He would have had a cooperative Republican dominated legislature and built a track record in a state that has a positive economic and fiscal position ahead of most states. Instead he took the harder path of running for governor in his home state of Massachusetts, where he had.lived for three decades, raised.his children and built his company from scratch, and where he had to get any piece of legislation through a legislature overwhelmingly Democrat of the Kennedy-Kerry kind. Romney chose the harder challenge, rather than the sure thing, easy path. He did not do it for money--he took no salary as governor. And for over a decade now, instead of working on turning himself into a billionaire like Warren Buffett, who also buys companies but generally ones that are safe bets rather than ones that need serious renovations to become profitable, Romney has worked in public service primarily benefitting the public. Running for president is not, as it was for the Clintons and the Obamas, a path towards becoming a millionaire, but rather a path toward using his skills in getting loser companies onto their feet and winning to help American businesses get back on their feet and hiring people. He has rescued a hundred major businesses and knows what they need. Barack Obama rescued, not GM, but its labir union, and froze out thousands if people who had loaned their money to GM. Obama has squandered millions of taxpayer dollars on liser companies who created jobs in Finland and other countries.

The Wall
The Wall

Ryan is an ignorant hypocrite coward. His breach onto the political scene was as a throwaway - his job was to support such unpopular and  irrational ideals so that the "middle ground" would shift  to the right. Unfortunately for the public perception manipulators this Kermit the Frog impressionist's zany ideals created a magnet for the extremists misshaping the American political landscape. Not one to bite the hand that feeds him (except Ryan does bite the hand that FED him as he lurches to dismantle Social Security) Ryan has chosen to endorse the man whose checks Ryan himself endorses before depositing to his off shore account.This discredits the republican plan, undermines fair government and marks the end of the republican party having not only caught, but endorsed the "cancer" of tea-party infection.Goodbye to the Republican Party - forever. Gone the way of the Federalists and the Whigs, punishment for unveiling a monstrous agenda decades in the implementation to undermine democracy, government and true economic competition.

ChowT
ChowT

What is means for religion?

I think it means   more money for the super 'R'.

MACV
MACV

Here is the Romney-Ryan agenda FACT CHECKED BY 60 MINUTES ...

Repealing the Affordable Care Act - which both Romney and Ryan have pledged to do - would re-open the so-called donut hole, a coverage gap in the Medicare drug benefit, which under the president's health-care plan is gradually closing.

Romney says "we're not going to reduce taxes for high-income people." A study put out by the Tax Policy Center earlier this month concludes that inevitably, Romney's plan would result in "large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers." (SO ROMNEY IS LYING)

Ryan was one of three people on the Simpson-Bowles commission to vote against moving forward with the recommended plan to reduce the deficit, and was reportedly the person to throw a wrench into the "Gang of Six" deficit deal last summer. (SO IT'S NOT ABOUT THE DEFICIT, IT'S ABOUT GUTTING PROGRAMS REPUBLICANS DON'T LIKE)

If you loved Bush Jr. ... you'll love Romney-Ryan ... with the same results!

Obama/Biden 2012 ~ cleaning up the Republicans mess!

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

So the economist joins the greed-ridden elitist to try and buy

their way to the White House- What a team! 

Ryan will need to get fitted for his Magic Mormon Underwear soon!  These sacred undergarments harness the power

of the Almighty to cough up enough cash for their crusade to the highest seats

in the land.  See for yourself how these

miracles are performed and how money plays its role in politics at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...

  

 

JohnDahodi
JohnDahodi

Thanks Romney, you have made easy for Obama to keep the White House for 4 more years. Paul Ryan has already opened his cards in the last 4 years in the Congress dictating his un-American wish of sending poor class over the cliff and middle class to welfare lines around America. Paul Ryan has proved himself beyond doubts that he is after welfare, food stamps, Medicare, Social Security and Medical recipients cutting their programs and  pushing more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires who have already pocketed about 3 trillion dollars tax cuts in Bush era and now may get another trillion dollar more. All these brainless proposals will cut the employments of many millions more and our deficit will still grow day by day. And, if Romney will follow the dictates of other right wing hawks and start another War with Iran, America along with the world will invite the another recession or depression, more worst than 2008. Hopefully, Obama-Biden and his team will expose the Romney-Ryan to their fullest extent and convince majority that Romney-Ryan are not the solution of our problems.    

Richard Cannon
Richard Cannon

This article is another example of uninformed journalism regarding religion in America.  Mormon teaching is not viewed as Christian by the majority of Catholic and protestant theologians.  Most view it as a cult or a completely different religion.  However, most conservative Catholics and protestants will vote against Obama while not being very enthusiastic about Romney.   As a conservative Christian independent I can't support either Obama or Romney.    Obama has failed as a national leader; Romney's record and willingness to stand for anything when it benefits him is disgusting.   

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Wow!  So you wear a hairshirt and live in a cave?  That's a lot of self-hate to hold inside. 

pelhamite1
pelhamite1

I have to say, I am a bit surprised by my response to Romney's Mormonism.  On the one hand, I was never going to vote for the fellow in any event, but I can't help the feeling that if he was acceptable, the Mormonism would be a problem.   Decent people though Mormons are generally (and I have known a few), there can be little doubt that there's is a religion essentially founded by con man and established by one of the more ruthless figures in maerican history (read up on Brigham Young some time).  Mainstream Christianity, of which I am an adherent, has got a lot to apologize for, to be sure, but there are enough essential truths woven through it to make the journey worthwhile.  Some of the precepts of Catholicism and even evangelical Protestantism I find  .    .    . unlikely, but the concepts can at least be considered with a straight face.  Mormonism, frankly, doesn't quite pass that test.

         

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

It'd be nice if we could get religion out of politics, wouldn't it?

~

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

I long for that day when I have no idea what faith, if any, a candidate practices, and when the so-called "religious right" is but a footnote in some poly sci paper.

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

Can't find the quote at the moment, but I heard Ann Romney say we should trust that Mitt wouldn't cheat on his taxes because they give 10% to their church, so they're not the kind of people who would cheat. 

That was an astonishing bit of unreality.  Apparently there are no Mormons who ever err. If you start with this premise I guess it's okay to lie all you want, because, of course, it's not a lie if you do it.  You give 10% to your church after all.

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney goes to church but worship Money.

ChowT
ChowT

The 10% is a liscence to cheat, con and lie.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

Hasn't Ann ever heard of the Mafia? Good Catholic boys, every one …

ChowT
ChowT

Goes to Church, never misses.

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

 Good point.  I'd forgotten that.  We all like sheep have gone astray.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

Congressman Ryan's Catholicism … is about pro-life politics

No. Ryan's politics is about anti-abortion politics. There is nothing "pro life" about a politician who prides himself on writing a budget that caters to the wealthy and to corporations, that adds further to the already bloated defense budget and that does all this on the backs of the poor and the vulnerable.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Well put, Sue_N.

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For more info about HG please visit http://www.helpher.org/about-h...