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Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan's Faith


Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

Photo: Getty Images

Faith Snapshot:

Last Updated: 8/14/2012

Issues of faith and religion come to the forefront quite often during elections and presidential campaigns. Now that Mitt Romney has announced his running mate, many Christian voters want to know more about Paul Ryan's faith. This "faith snapshot" provides a brief overview of Paul Ryan's religious background.

Paul Ryan's Political Profile:

Party: Republican
On the Issues: Ryan on 5 Major Issues
Age: 42
Miami University of Ohio, B.A.
Current Position: U.S. Representative, Wisconsin; Vice Presidential Candidate.
Experience: Chairman of U.S. House Budget Committee; Marketing Consultant.
Declared Candidacy: Mitt Romney announced Ryan as VP candidate on August 11, 2012.

Paul Ryan's Faith Snapshot:

Religion/Church: Roman Catholicism

Raised in Janesville, Wisconsin in an Irish-Catholic home of four children, Paul Ryan served as an altar boy. Still living in his hometown today, Ryan is a life-long Catholic and practicing member at nearby St. John Vianney Catholic Church.

The experience of finding his 55-year-old father dead of a heart attack when Ryan was only 16, deeply impacted his life and helped conduct him toward public service. Ryan's older brother Tobin said, "It is remarkable that he chose a path of individual responsibility and maturity rather than letting grief take a different course. Some of his political views did begin to coalesce around the time of my father’s passing."

While in Washington, Ryan participates regularly in a congressional Bible study group. Many conservative voices confirm that Ryan's faith is an important part of his life as well as a guiding influence for his policies and positions.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said, "As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, he has been a defender of religious expression in the public square. Paul Ryan has spoken out strongly against President Obama's abortion, drug, and contraception mandates as an affront to religious liberty. He has articulately described how the President's government takeover of health care has pushed aside our First Amendment right of religious freedom."

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, wrote about Ryan's faith in this USA Today editorial:

"... Ryan has never been enamored with either Washington or the national stage. A devoted husband and father, he chose to keep his family in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, living in a house within blocks of where he grew up and went home virtually every weekend.

A man of deep Christian faith, he remains rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition of his upbringing, even citing the social teaching of the church to defend his budget plan."

Ryan and his wife, Janna, have three children—Elizabeth, Charles and Samuel.

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