The New York Times notes that this presidential election campaign season has been unusual for the absence of emphasis on certain hot-button social issues, such as abortion, or marriage equality.
This evening’s Vice Presidential debate could return the public conversation to those traditional concerns of so-called “values voters,” because of the faith foundations of the two men on the center stage.
The two men who will face off, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, share a deep religious faith that is central to their politics, but has been obscured by a more profane than holy race on top of the ticket.
While both men are devout, they represent different strands of Christianity in American life, a contrast that is likely to be on display as they discuss their positions on social issues and how religious beliefs would guide their approach to governing.
The Times says that Pence, who grew up Catholic but turned to Evangelical Christianity at college, has found himself in a political race almost devoid of the kinds of issues which a conservative Christian would normally expect to address.
Mr. Pence, whose signature line is that he is “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” finds himself in a campaign devoid of any debate about the moral questions that have for decades been central to the country’s right-left political divide …
Early in his political career, Mr. Kaine’s style of Catholicism made him uneasy with some elements of the Democratic Party, particularly on issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriage. While he has since shifted on those issues to accommodate his party – and his running mate – he remains unapologetic about how important his faith is to his career in public service. …
He said he had not encountered any discomfort from his party, which polls show to be increasingly secular, when he talks about his religious beliefs.
“It doesn’t divide you from people,” he said. “It actually connects you to people because they’re skeptical about people in politics but curious about us, too, and if you share with them what motivates you, that gives them some understanding of who you are.”
Read more at the New York Times. The Vice Presidential debate will be held this evening at 9pm at Longwood University, Farmville, Va.