Vice-President Joe Biden talked about faith, politics, and living through tragedy with Stephen Colbert in a refreshing switch in how religion and faith is handled in the public square.
By all initial outward appearances, he was just another nighttime talk show guest hawking a product—in this case, himself.
Yet the vice president’s close encounter with Colbert turned out to be far more intimate and poignant than viewers normally see in such fastidiously processed situations.
Under Colbert’s insistent prodding concerning the recent death from brain cancer of Biden’s son Beau and whether the veep will decide to run for president, the 72-year-old career politician—never one to hold back under any circumstance—not only seemed to bare his soul, he practically ripped open his chest cavity and pulled out his beating heart to share with his emotionally invested studio audience.
At Mr. Colbert’s urging, he also discussed religion and philosophy at length, describing his Roman Catholic faith as providing an “enormous sense of solace.” He attributed part of it to the rituals of his religion.
“I go to Mass, and I’m able to be just alone, even in a crowd,” Mr. Biden said. He recalled how his wife, Jill, once taped a note on his bathroom mirror with a quote from the philosopher Kierkegaard that said, “Faith sees best in the dark.”
There was one moment when Mr. Biden seemed to suggest where he might find the strength to run. He noted that his mother had a favorite expression: “As long as you are alive, you have an obligation to strive, and you’re not dead until you see the face of God.”