Paul Ryan is putting his Catholic beliefs front and center as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. Ryan has been campaigning around the country and the question of his Catholic faith is sometimes a topic that the media likes to confront him with, in light of the fact Vice President Joe Biden is also Catholic. So as the Vice Presidential Debate on October 11th approaches, questions concerning the shared Catholic faith of Ryan and Biden are coming more frequently.
On Saturday during a campaign stop, Ryan was explicitly asked about whether he will confront Biden on his seemingly incompatible politics stances and his Catholic faith. He answered by talking about the HHS Mandate, vowing to remove it on “Day 1.” The AP report details his answer:
Ryan promised at a town hall meeting in Orlando that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would reverse the contraception mandate on “Day 1″ if he is elected president. The mandate requiring all insurance plans to include access to contraception was part of Obama’s health care overhaul.
Ryan’s comments came in a response to a woman’s question about whether he would ask Vice President Joe Biden in a debate how he reconciles his views as a Roman Catholic with the Democratic Party platform.
Both Ryan and Biden are Catholic.
“It will be gone. I can guarantee you that,” Ryan told the crowd of 2,200 supporters in an arena at the University of Central Florida.
Back in February, Ryan released a statement calling the mandate an “affront to religious liberty.” He put out a statement saying,
While I am a pro-life Catholic, I believe this mandate transcends the issue of personal religious beliefs about contraception, sterilization and abortion. The Obama Administration failed to recognize this mandate is in violation of our First Amendment right of religious freedom.
The President’s policy continues to contradict the core principles of our nation. His decision disrespects not only the religious community, but it also disrespects the Constitution. By treating our rights as revocable privileges from our government, instead of inalienable gifts from our Creator, the President has put his personal political philosophies above the principles upon which this nation was founded. I will continue to monitor this issue closely and will work to see that this policy is reversed.
Ryan has been unapologetic about having his Catholic faith animate his policies even before being selected as the Vice Presidential nominee. His defense of the faith continues even in the national spotlight. While some Catholics have questioned supporting Romney because of alleged uncertainty of where his administration would stand on issues important to Catholics, it is clear Romney’s choice of Ryan as VP eases that consternation. The fact that Ryan has declared that the HHS Mandate, a prime target for Catholics in this election, would be gone on ‘Day 1′ should be a good indication of how Ryan will influence and guide the administration.
A second clear indication of how Ryan’s faith impacts his decisions will be highlighted during the VP debate on October 11th. There we will most likely see two very different interpretations of Catholic teaching in action.