Ron Paul's Christian Values: Pro-Life, Anti-War
The Republican presidential candidate says his opposition to the Iraq war is shaped by his faith. But he's not one to sermonize.
BY: Interview by Dan Gilgoff
You pride yourself on being a libertarian, so how do you reconcile your anti-abortion rights view with the libertarian view, which says that government should be pushed out of our private lives, so a couple or a woman has the right to make that decision?
I’ve never had too much trouble with that because I don’t see it as a privacy issue. I see it only as a definition of life issue. So all those arguments to protect the mother—I argue you’re supposed to protect the baby. We protect the baby if it’s in the crib. And the womb is not a whole lot different to me than the crib. Even though we protect the privacy of the home and don’t have government cameras in our homes, we still don’t endorse infanticide. So we don’t want to control what the woman does with her private life, but when it comes to killing a live human being, then there’s a role to be played by the state…. 30, 40-percent of libertarians agree with me.
The New York Times reported that you were excluded from forums sponsored by Christian groups for Republican candidates in Iowa. As a Christian, how did you react?
I consider them very insecure people if they can’t listen to what I’m saying. I mean, what are they afraid of? What have I said today that should threaten? I can understand why people would disagree, but what is so threatening? It must mean that I’m credible enough that I challenge them philosophically at their roots and they don’t want it to be heard.
You say your campaign is built around the idea of being true to the U.S. Constitution. Last year, a national poll showed that most Americans think the Constitution established a Christian nation. Do you?
No, it doesn’t establish a Christian nation. It’s a Christian nation in the sense that Christian traditions created the nation and that’s a lot different than a theocracy. We don’t have a theocracy. We created a country that protects Christian traditions and the people who were there were influenced by it, by the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, and there’s a big difference between a theocracy and Christian traditions influencing the character of the [Founding Fathers].
We shouldn’t be a theocracy because then who’s going to determine the rules of the theocracy? Should it be the Catholics? Should it be the Mormons? Should it be the evangelical Christians? And which group of evangelical Christians? What we have to protect is the First Amendment. And the influence is more subtle than saying that we are a Christian nation, although we may well be and originally were a nation made up of Christians. So in that sense we are a Christian nation but that’s in the very loose sense of the term, rather than being a Christian theocracy.
What do you pray for?
I pray for wisdom and grace. I want to be as wise as I can and to come across as non-confrontational.