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Faith in the 2012 Election

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Religion emerged as an important issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. The personal religious identity of President Barack Obama and the Republican candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, remained a lingering issue throughout the campaign. The challenge of Islam in America and how to respond to the revolutions shaking the Muslim world has increasing salience. And divisive social issues with a religious dimension, including abortion and same-sex marriage, played a role in both the primaries and the general election. This site tracks the statements of the candidates and their running mates on these and related issues. You can also view a grid that juxtaposes the major positions of the major candidates here.


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  • Joseph Biden is vice president of the United States. He took office in January 2009 after serving for thirty-six years as a US senator from Delaware. When he was first elected in 1972, Biden became the sixth-youngest senator in US history. In 2007 he campaigned for the Democratic nomination for president, but he withdrew his candidacy in January 2008. Throughout his Senate career Biden focused on criminal justice and US foreign policy. A practicing Catholic and the first Catholic to serve as...
  • Barack Obama became the forty-fourth president of the United States in January 2009, the first African-American to hold the office. He was re-elected to the presidency in November 2012. After graduating from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago and became involved in Democratic politics. He taught at the University of Chicago Law School (1992-2004) before serving in the Illinois Senate (1997-2004) and as the U.S. Senator from Illinois...
  • Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts (2003 to 2007) and the 2012 Republican candidate for president. He is the author of No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (2010). Romney's failed 2008 campaign emphasized his success as a businessman and chief executive at Bain & Company and spin-off Bain Capital; his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints played an important role in that campaign, as some leaders of the Religious Right hesitated in supporting...
  • Paul Ryan is the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district, serving since 1999, and was a candidate for vice president on the 2012 Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. He is a member of the Republican Party and has been ranked among the party's most influential voices on conservative economic policy. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he played a prominent public role in drafting and promoting the Republican Party's long-term budget proposal. He...