On Twitter, Religion News Service reporter Jack Jenkins has been compiling all the religion comments from the ever-growing field of 2020 Democratic Presidential hopefuls. A new thread serves as probably the closest thing we have right now to a comprehensive look at how those eager to take President Donald Trump down feel about faith.
Booker has made his Christian faith an explicit part of his campaign so far and hosted a small prayer meeting in his church the day before he announced his candidacy.
Cory Booker on his faith: “Christ is the center of my life … I believe that the Bible talks more about poverty, about greeting the stranger, about being there for the convicted, far more than it talks about the kind of toxic stuff you often hear (Trump) spewing” #BookerTownHall pic.twitter.com/cJpS5o1PO7
— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2019
“Mayor Pete,” as the insurgent South Bend mayor is lovingly referred to by his rapidly growing number of fans, (pro tip: the last name is pronounced “Buddha-Hedge”) was raised Catholic but now attends the Episcopal Church. He took aim at Vice President Mike Pence’s religious beliefs during his CNN town hall, in which he labeled Pence “the cheerleader of the porn star presidency.”
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) March 28, 2019
Warren is a Methodist, and she talked to CNN about how the Bible informs her policy ideas, her time as a Sunday School teacher and the importance of Matthew 26 in her life.
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) March 28, 2019
Delaney is a Catholic, and he spoke about his beliefs concerning the importance of the separation of church and state with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
I firmly believe in the separation of church and state. Full stop. So a lot of us get our values from our faith. Right? A lot of us get values in terms of — I’m Catholic. My wife and I and our daughters, we’re practicing Catholics. And to some extent, some of the social justice orientation I have probably comes from that. But I don’t think my church and my church policies and doctrines should decide public policy in this country, because I also believe… I also believe strongly in the freedom of religion. Right? And I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. So I don’t think anyone’s religious doctrines should inform public policy, but we all know people’s faith informs oftentimes how they think about the world. So, thank you.
Gabbard is a Hindu who was raised in a mixed-faith home. She spoke with CNN about the discrimination she’s faced as a member of a religious minority.
As a practicing Hindu, I have been on the receiving end of Hindu- phobia and bigoted attacks. The very first time that I ran for Congress in 2012, my Republican opponent at that time said on television that I was not qualified to serve in Congress because my being a Hindu contradicted the United States Constitution. Unfortunately, even now as I stand before you here today and running for president, those Hindu-phobic attacks continue. Attacks against Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, people of all different religions cannot be allowed to stand. And what is most important is to lead from the front. Yes, as president of the United States, I will do that in calling out and condemning those bigoted attacks. But this is something that each and every one of us has the opportunity to do when we are confronted with such bigotry. It is only when we stand together and speak out against and condemn this kind of bigotry and the violent acts that sometimes occur as a result that we can actually change, make that real change we know we need to see.
Jenkins himself interviewed Castro about how Catholicism informs his life and political aspirations. The whole interview is worth a read, but of particular note is Jenkins’ acknowledgment that his party has a lot of non-religious people in it.
I have a deep respect for both people who believe in God and practice their faith and also people who choose not to believe. And I recognize that our Constitution respects both of those types of Americans and that whether you choose to believe or not, you have a great role to play in shaping the future of our country. So I’m confident that I can speak to both people of faith in our country and also people who may not believe.
The other Democratic frontrunners have been relatively quiet on the faith front. Beto O’Rourke is a Catholic but has rarely talked about his religious beliefs publicly. Bernie Sanders says he is “not actively involved in organized religion.” Kamala Harris today says she’s a Baptist, but was raised going to both the Baptist Church and a Hindu temple. John Hickenlooper says he was raised as a Quaker and still tries to live by “Quaker values.” Amy Klobuchar is a Congregationalist who attends the United Church of Christ.
Joe Biden hasn’t officially announced his candidacy yet, but he has spoken very movingly about how his Catholic faith helped him through times of deep loss in his life. One candid moment came on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Biden lost his oldest son to cancer, and his first wife and daughter in a car accident. He told his fellow Catholic—Colbert—that “what my faith has done is… it sort of takes everything about my life — with my parents and my siblings and all the comforting things. And all the good things that have happened, have happened around the culture of my religion and the theology of my religion.”