Ryan: ‘I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith’

“I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our … Continued

“I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life. Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.”

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speaking during a debate with Vice President Joe Biden, on his opposition to abortion.

Read more in the Faith 2012 Quote Archives.


Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, makes a point to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice-presidential debate at Centre College on Oct. 11, 2012.

  • ranknfile1

    Both men are Roman Catholic and active in their religions, but the Democrat understands that his religion – and its tenets, cannot and should not be imposed on the general population. Ryan believes what he believes AND would have those rules imposed on people who don’t agree, believe or want their actions to be judged on a religious standard. An agnostic has morals and standards, but they are not based on a religious foundation. Why is religion being used to ‘structure’ a government position……

  • grayed1

    With Ryan, faith is a cudgel to make women do as he wants.

  • MyCarHasASixPack

    Ryan has clearly never heard of “Separation of Church and State”.

  • DocOck

    Can’t wait for a candidate for major poiltical office who lists his/her reigion as “None” and never mentions god, ever. . .

  • Dona Dunsmore

    I am not religious at all but I agree with Congressman Ryan. My quarrel with him and all right wingers is that their beliefs should take precedent over mine.

  • moderatemom

    Even Georgetown University holds religious services by clergy of other faiths for students and faculty/staff of other faiths. Some of our posturing candidates could learn a lot by respecting faith traditions not theirs–inclusing Moslems, Hindu, and Bahaii,
    Those who would force their beliefs on the rest of us should be dictators in some other country.

  • moderatemom

    PS Ryan along with his cosponsoring buddy Akin uses neither reason nor science (nor mathematics) in his statements. Rather he treats his beliefs and faith as facts…Even the Pope only does this when speaking Ex cathedra–not all the time.
    Ryan could take a lesson.

  • mormonpatriot

    I would refer you to my reply to CoachBruce4President, above. I would also add that morality is morality, whether it comes from a structured religion or from an unstructured “philosophy” like agnosticism. But the fact that Ryan’s philosophy is associated with a church doesn’t make it less valid for political decisions. They are part of him as a candidate.
    Having rules imposed on people is kind of what laws mean… so I assume you that what you mean is that you don’t like this rule that he is proposing, or that you dislike all laws.
    The two options are: to maintain legislation one way or the other regarding abortion, or to remove all legislation concerning abortion (at least at the federal level). So when is legislation justified? Legislation is to protect the people of the United States and preserve an environment in which life and happiness can be pursued.
    So to me, legislation at some level is indeed justified, because we are talking about defending the very lives of those who cannot defend themselves. Without legislation, babies could be aborted for any and every reason, without regard to the rights of the baby. What Mr. Ryan stated is that he and Mr. Romney are in favor of an approach where both the right to life of the baby and of the mother are respected. A woman may not simply kill a baby because she does not want it. That is a good thing. I hear the argument that, “It’s my body, so I can do what I want with it.” Well, it’s not just their body. A pregnant woman is two lives intertwined. The life of the baby should be of at least as much concern as that of the mother. But the mother, says Ryan, would also be remembered in that abortion in cases of rape or danger to the mother may be considered.
    Now, I would like to hear your answer, if you have read all the way through mine – what exactly, about what Mr. Ryan said do you think is wrong?

  • jade_alpha


    Setting aside the question of when does a clump of cells become a human which requires one to answer the what is it that makes a human well… human.

    The real question is, does the government have the right to force one person to use their body to support the bodily functions of another person. Roe v Wade was a clear answer to that question and the answer was no it does not so long as the fetus is not viable and even when it is the government does not have to right to force a woman to carry a fetus to term or to birth it prematurely if it puts the mother’s life in danger.

    So, just as the government cannot force you to donate bone marrow to children dying of leukemia, donate part of your liver or a kidney to someone who is critically ill, or even donate blood, all of which can save lives. the government does not have the right to force a woman to support the life functions of a fetus that cannot survive on its own.

    So, given that abortion is constitutional and making it illegal is a violation of the rights of the mother what is the best way to prevent abortion? Free birth control and good sexual education would help alot in that regard, however that’s not something I’ve been hearing from either Romney or Ryan so I cannot help but wonder if they are not simply using a politically charged issue for political gain when they could and should be trying to solve the problem if it was really of concern to them. Obama on the other hand has at least made an effort to get affordable birth control into the hands of women and thus is actually taking action to reduce the number of abortions.

    So then, as someone who finds abortion to be a great tragedy who should you vote for? The man who talks or the man who acts? The choice is yours of course but I hope that you will choose to stand for a real reduction in abortions as opposed to feel good words and empty unmanageable promises.

  • Melmel

    I was waiting for him to explain his beliefs about reason and science……nothing

  • tigmom

    @MormonPatriot – With the one exception of a pregnant woman, the government has recognized the inviolability of our person. As jade_alpha put so well, the government cannot compel you to donate blood (not an invasive act), bone marrow or organs (even after death) even to save a life. Thousands die each year waiting for organs (so much for pro-life). I will reconsider my stance on abortion when everyone else (particularly men) have skin in the game and are legally required to donate blood, marrow, and organs after death.

  • Thebobm

    “After all, Sensata has never suggested that the plant was unprofitable. It simply thinks the effort would be more profitable elsewhere.”— Fortune Magazine
    THERE inlies the problem of WHY we lose jobs to other nations and why groups like Bain Capital are killing America.
    Whether Romney was a managing partner in 2002, doesn’t matter. Because the dynamics of Bain and others like them (since their existence) is not just to make a company more profitable, it is to make them more profitable at any cost…. Including the exile of Jobs for the American Worker.
    GREED. …one of the seven deadly sins… Bain Capital, a company designed to embolden GREED, daily…sunrise to sunset…. So my Christian friends, yes we all are sinners, but for 99% of us, it is not our job description.

  • jonathanecurrier

    Ryan makes the separation he claims not to understand. He ignores Catholic social teaching, espousing Ayn Rand-style individualism.

  • Watcher1

    It did indeed mean to keep religion out of the political arena. Anyone who is running on his religion is running against all other religions. As Ryan states: “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.” That is the way a person steeped in religion would lean on every issue, towards their religions version of how things could be and thereby creating a “State Religion” by stealth.

  • Watcher1

    If you are actually a Christian, where does the soul of an aborted “fetus” go? According to your beliefs it would be back to God with it’s soul reserved to come through at a better time, safer time, healthier time. Would it not? What republicans seem to want, and correct me if I am seeing this wrong, is for women to have no access to abortion for any reason, to have no access to the evil “birth control” pills that allow them to be “Femi-nazi’s” as Limbaugh calls the emancipated women of our country. They want women who have been raped to relive their rape every time they look in their childs eyes. This is isane.

  • sky3ler

    I don’t see how someone in public office can try to impose the views of their particular religious denomination on the whole country.

  • spencer1

    As a committed (in the good sense) Republican, without having to even think I support the Ryan/Romney position on abortion, namely to reverse Roe v. Wade and let the people of the states decide. Of course there is a minor inconsistency in claiming that an abortion in Utah is the murder of an innocent child, while an abortion in Massachusetts is merely a medical procedure. And I also support Romney’s obvious extension of his abortion reasoning to slavery, that is to let the people of the states decide.