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.