What Pence Could Have Said in the VP Debate When Asked About Faith and Policy


Evangelical Protestants don’t struggle with how to apply their faith to matters of public policy.  Or at least they don’t talk about such struggles.  Evangelicalism is a religion of certainty–a lot of black and white, not much gray.

Catholics are pretty certain about things too.  But they also tend to feel more comfortable with mystery and struggle.

I am probably doing some pigeonholing here.  But I thought about this during Tuesday night’s Vice-Presidential debate when the candidates–Tim Kaine and Mike Pence–were asked, “Can you discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position?”

As Mark Silk notes at Religion News Service, Kaine answered the question, but Pence did not.  I am not sure if Pence’s evangelical faith and/or Kaine’s Catholic faith were behind their responses to the question, but it was interesting to see how they both approached the question.

Here is a taste of Silk’s post

Democrat Tim Kaine, first up, answered the question by talking about his struggle as governor of Virginia to carry out the death penalty, which he opposes in line with his Roman Catholicism.

“It was very, very difficult to allow executions to go forward,” he said, “but in circumstances where I didn’t feel like there was a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law, and I did.”

Republican Mike Pence, by contrast, veered away from the question: “And with regard to when I struggle, I appreciate, and — and — and — I have a great deal of respect for Senator Kaine’s sincere faith. I truly do.”

He then proceeded into a discourse on his opposition to abortion, a mainstay of his evangelical faith. He never got around to saying anything about when he struggles.

Which was a shame, given what happened last year with Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That act, you’ll recall, allowed businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples — albeit Pence, as governor, insisted it was only about guaranteeing religious liberty.

Read the entire post here.

One thought on “What Pence Could Have Said in the VP Debate When Asked About Faith and Policy

  1. Tim Kaine is simply a Catholic heretic, and cannot truthfully be described as “devout.” In the Catholic faith, he is not at liberty to create his own morality. He is afoul of his church, of the “magisterium” which holds primacy in matters of faith and morals. In Protestantism, this is no big deal, but Catholicism is a whole different ballgame.

    Catholic Bishop Slams Kaine, ‘Faith Not Central’ in His Political Life

    Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence offered a critique of Kaine over the weekend, wondering aloud how a self-proclaimed “Catholic” could give public support for anti-Catholic positions that attack the fabric of American society.

    In a Facebook post he titled “VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?” Tobin notes that Democratic VP choice Tim Kaine “has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic” while at the same time “he publicly supports ‘freedom of choice’ for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests.”

    “All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well,” Tobin wrote, dashing the left’s spurious claim that Kaine is a “Pope Francis Catholic.”

    “Senator Kaine has said, ‘My faith is central to everything I do.’ But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life,” Bishop Tobin concluded.

    And for the record, Catholics are free to disagree with Rome on capital punishment. Unlike abortion, the Catholic argument against it is not that it’s inherently evil, only that it is unnecessary. Kaine has no real religious problem here; the Catholic Church is fine with him doing his legal duty in permitting executions. Silk’s essay does not illuminate the actual issues for the non-Catholic reader.

    As for its swipe at Pence on gay marriage, it assumes its consequent, that “discrimination” is inherently wrong, and thus begs the question at the cost of honesty and clarity: That one can believe the Bible forbids homosexual acts–let alone institutionalizing them–was considered uncontroversial for nigh on 2000 years. It is only in the West, and specifically America, that the Christian religion has been re-interpreted to the contrary.


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