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Giuliani Declines Questions About Faith

posted by David Kuo

Associated Press
Davenport, Iowa – August 7- Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday that whether he was a practicing Catholic was a personal matter as he declined to answer questions about his religion.
Addressing a town-hall meeting in Iowa, the former New York mayor was asked whether he considered himself a “traditional, practicing Roman Catholic.” An audience member also called on Giuliani to discuss the role his faith played in making decisions on issues such as abortion.
“My religious affiliation, my religious practices and the degree to which I am a good or not so good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests,” Giuliani said. “That would be a much better way to discuss it. That’s a personal discussion and they have a much better sense of how good a Catholic I am or how bad a Catholic I am.”
Giuliani is alone among the major Republican candidates in favoring abortion rights, a practice that the Catholic Church opposes. Some church officials have suggested that candidates who favor abortion rights should be denied the sacrament of communion.
On a personal level, Giuliani has been married three times, with one annulment and one divorce. Catholics who are divorced and have remarried are not permitted to receive communion.
In two days of campaigning in Iowa, Giuliani has sought to focus attention on adoptions and improving the quality of life for children. Yet, he has faced questions about his personal life, dealing with queries about his 17-year-old daughter’s political preference on Monday and his religion on Tuesday.
The first questioner at the town-hall meeting mentioned President Bush’s success in winning the support of Catholic voters and pushed Giuliani to explain his religious faith.
“That’s a matter of individual conscience,” Giuliani said. “I don’t think there should be a religious test for public office.”
That answer didn’t satisfy questioner Thomas Fritzsche of Davenport, Iowa.
“Of course he didn’t answer my question,” said Fritzsche.
Giuliani said he’s the only Republican who can compete throughout the country without writing off traditionally Democratic states.
“I can make this campaign a nationwide campaign,” Giuliani said. “We have only run in certain states.”
Giuliani met privately with law enforcement officials who run anti-drug programs, and he told about 300 people at the town hall meeting that it was essential to expand the nation’s anti-drug effort. He said no other presidential candidates has his experience fighting drugs.
“It’s something I understand really well,” said Giuliani, noting his experience as a prosecutor and mayor of New York City. “I’ve been doing this kind of work longer than I’ve been in politics.”
Giuliani also offered his prediction about whom Republicans will face in the fall election.
“I suspect it will be a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket,” he said. “Their views are pretty much the same.”
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



  • Henrietta22

    It shows strength of character on Giuliani’s part to not answer a question he thinks is too personal. I like him and I have friends in N.Y.C. that have always liked him and the things he has accomplished as prosecuter, and mayor in that city. I won’t vote Republican in the next election, however.

  • JohnQ

    Henrietta22, I agree with you.
    I am surprised, as a big Bush supporter, that you will not vote Republican in the next election.
    ;-)
    Peace!

  • Joey

    I’m torn between thinking that he’s made a good point about a priest knowing his spiritual record better than he does, or thinking he’s being a typical politician and just dodging the question. :-/ Well, I like him, but I won’t vote for him either…though he’d make a good appointment at some other job, cabinet member of some kind…
    God bless.

  • pagansister

    Giuliani is correct when he says that his beliefs are a personal matter. Has nothing to do with how good or bad a president he might make. No religious test is necessary to run for president in this country or should there ever be a test. As to whether he is a “traditional, practicing Catholic”, IMO he is a Catholic who does as he chooses, (thus the 3 marriages, with one being an annulment and one divorce)a “non-robot” Catholic.
    It is nobodys’ business how he practices his religion.
    However, I’m not voting Republican in the next election…non of the prospects are appealing to me.

  • nnmns

    I agree, he’s doing the right thing in not answering the question. And he’s not using religiosity to get votes from fools, which is good. But I do not expect to vote for him, either.

  • Týsson

    Regardless of Giuliani’s faith or lack thereof, he’s the most dangerous candidate in the running. If anyone thinks Bush’s disregard for the Constitution and our civil rights has been bad, they should take a look at Giuliani’s public record as mayor of New York City. Take Giuliani’s disdain of the Bill of Rights to a national level and “Patriot” acts 1 & 2 will seem libertarian by comparison.
    Not that it’s particularly relevant, but in keeping with the spirit of other posters here I actually will be voting Republican in the next Presidential election–for the first time in my life.

  • sinsonte

    I wonder what the priests think of Giuliani’s propensity to cross-dress? And, after my brain and heart surgery later this month, where more than half of each organ will have to be removed, I too will be voting Republican.

  • Windsors Child

    I believe that any person who wants my vote, especially for so important an office as president of the United States, better be willing to discuss his personal faith or lack of it publicly. That is not a religious test for the office, it is simply candidates being honest about themselves so that everyone, those who are pro-religion and those who are not, can have a better understanding of who the candidate is. Any candidate who says he or she does not want to discuss religion is hiding something in my view, and is far less likely to get my vote. As for the election next year, I do not know who I will vote for because I do not know who will be on the ticket. But one thing I am certain of. I will not vote for Hilary, and I will not vote for Barack. My decision has nothing to do with their religious faith. It has everything to do with the fact that both candidates are too far left for my taste.

  • Týsson

    “I wonder what the priests think of Giuliani’s propensity to cross-dress?”
    You know, of all the negative characteristics innate in Giuliani one could choose to vilify him for, bringing this up, particularly as often as it is, just seems silly.
    “And, after my brain and heart surgery later this month, where more than half of each organ will have to be removed, I too will be voting Republican.”
    There was a time I felt the same way. Then I came to feel the same way about voting for either major party. Then Ron Paul came along….
    shrug

  • Katie Angel

    I think that someone who refuses to talk about their personal faith is taking the high ground and anyone who requires a candidate for any office to do so is being disingenuous as well as nosy. Faith is a personal thing and not the business of the American people – we need to look at the way a person conducts him/herself not what they say about their religious convictions. GW Bush is a perfect example – he talks about his conversion experience, God and faith all the time but has yet to behave in a Christian manner toward any of “Jesus’s” constituents – the poor, the disenfranchised, the lost, the helpless, prisoners, the homeless or anyone else that doesn’t have AT LEAST $1,000 for a fundraiser dinner. If instead of requiring our politians to TALK about their faith, we required them to ACT out their faith, perhaps we would have more moral and better politians. It is easy to talk about following Jesus – actually doing it is a whole different story. I have no idea who I am going to vote for next November – I tend to be a moderate Republican who has left the party because of the hypocracy and voted for third party independent candidates a lot (I live in a state where my vote is unlikely to influence the outcome in the electoral college) but I always evaluate the candidates on their merits and if I see someone I like in the major party choices, it won’t matter whether they have an R or a D in back of their name. I am looking for pragmatism, collaborative thinking, flexibility around a strong moral core and integrity – I’m probably going to be disappointed again but hope springs eternal. I admire the former Mayor for not caving in to the religio-fascists and muckrakers that want to make him the story, rather than his message.

  • bdcthlc

    I certainly understand Mr. Giuliani’s reluctance to discuss his Catholicism. Speaking as a “bad Catholic,” there is a certain amount of guilt in being one. And by certain amount, I mean a lot! When a Catholic is asked to publicly admit to having fallen away from the church, all sorts of thoughts go through the mind… If I admit it, will I still be able to sneak into the communion line and experience the very special connection to Christ? Will I be made to go to confession?
    Catholicism, at least to me, often feels like an ethnic background. I am Italian, French, Irish (I hit the trifecta of Catholicism!)and Catholic . So, even though I may choose to worship with Universal Unitarians, I will always be Catholic.
    Now, having said that, I personally don’t care about a candidates faith. I would vote for an atheist, a Baptist, a Catholic or a Mormon if I agreed with most of their plans for the country. I hope there is at least one nominee I can agree with!

  • sagenav

    We know what his faith is so why does he need to talk further about it? Just because he doesn’t want to discuss his faith doesn’t mean that he has something to hide. Faith often acts as a mask, and I’ve found that people who readily disclose the details of their faith have quite a bit to hide themselves.
    People who care about a cadidate’s faith more than they care about the issues are hurting the democratic process in my opinion.

  • curiouser and curiouser

    “The first questioner at the town-hall meeting mentioned President Bush’s success in winning the support of Catholic voters and pushed Giuliani to explain his religious faith.
    “That’s a matter of individual conscience,” Giuliani said. “I don’t think there should be a religious test for public office.”
    That answer didn’t satisfy questioner Thomas Fritzsche of Davenport, Iowa.
    “Of course he didn’t answer my question,” said Fritzsche.”
    OF COURSE Giuliani’s reply would NEVER satisfy the ‘needs’ of the uber-religious. They will ONLY vote for someone who’s “morality” ‘matches’ theirs.
    WHY do Americans INSIST on imposing this religious test when the Constitution is so clear that there shall be NONE???
    Windsors child,
    “I believe that any person who wants my vote, … better be willing to discuss his personal faith or lack of it publicly.”
    Why? It’s none of your business.
    “That is not a religious test for the office”
    It most definitely IS!
    “it is simply candidates being honest about themselves so that everyone, those who are pro-religion and those who are not”
    Giuliani IS being honest. He said it’s not your business and it isn’t. Being pro- of “anti-“religion is NOT a qualification for being President. One is supposed to be neutral.
    “candidate who says he or she does not want to discuss religion is hiding something ”
    Demonstrably false. Is there ANYTHING you don’t already know about Giuliani? What could he possibly be hiding? In fact, COULD he EVER “hide” anything from the media? He’s always been open and honest, even when it counters the official teachings of his religion, because he knows he will not just be representing members of his faith, but ALL Americans.
    “I will not vote for Hilary, and I will not vote for Barack. My decision has nothing to do with their religious faith.”
    If your “decision” on Hilary and Barack have “nothing to do with their religious faith”, then WHY would your “decision” on Giuliani be based on HIS religious faith??? Very confusing, to say the least.
    In the Christian faith, we are urged to have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ”, not one that seeks the approval of the electorate or of Windsor’s Child.

  • Anonymous

    “I believe that any person who wants my vote, especially for so important an office as president of the United States, better be willing to discuss his personal faith or lack of it publicly.”
    A LOT more has been hidden behind religious talk than behind lack of it. There are some people who just don’t seem to realize that other people can say those things and lie or say those things and mean them and still do the most awful things.

  • Joey

    Curiouser writes: “They will ONLY vote for someone who’s “morality” ‘matches’ theirs.”
    Well, yeah, of course. Won’t you only vote for someone who’s morality matches yours? Why should it be different if just because one set of ideas is called a “religion?”
    IMO, a candidate’s faith is important, insofar as it affects what they will do in office. I mean, come on, you all have griped about Bush’s religion enough to know that it’s important. :-) In other words, I don’t care if we have a Christian president, a Jewish president, Catholic of Protestant or whatever—but how whatever religion they are affects their decisions is a very important issue, because it affects their entire way of seeing the world and their sense of morality.
    God bless.

  • nnmns

    “…it [their religion] affects their entire way of seeing the world and their sense of morality.”
    They can lie about what they believe. And even if they don’t how can anyone predict what someone else’s beliefs will lead them to do in a given situation? A lot of Supreme Court justices have disappointed the presidents who named them.

  • Jestrfyl

    Too often we don;t ask what we want and ask for somethng that cannot be answered. The inquiry seems to actually be about religion. Guiliani chose not to answer that because he knows his status with the church. I am not about to judge that.
    However, the inquirer actually asked about Giuliani’s FAITH. Now that would be an interesting discussion. Faith and religion are not the same. I am quite curious to know the faith of any candidate – not their religion, denomination, cult, or sect.

  • curiouser and curiouser

    “a candidate’s faith is important, insofar as it affects what they will do in office”
    Piffle.
    A “True Catholic” (TM) would be against birth control, nevermind abortion. Would (should) a Catholic President eliminate all birth control in America? Or would s/he actually represent ALL people even non-Catholics?
    Would a JW eliminate blood transfusions?
    You see, a person’s faith (or religion, jestrfyl) is supposed to be a PERSONAL relationship, and as such should/can only govern their own life. If they would impose their faith on others, then America is in far worse shape than even I imagined. Bush has tried it on several occasions. (“It’s my job to protect the sanctity of marriage” – this verbatim quote is based on W’s faith. But the faith of many other Americans differs, and they do not believe gay people ‘de-sanctify’ the institution. And since when are rights doled out based on the ‘sanctifiability’ of one’s relationship anyway?)

  • Anonymous

    Tysson,
    “… I actually will be voting Republican in the next Presidential election–for the first time in my life.”
    With all due respect, good Lord, why start now?

  • Týsson

    “With all due respect, good Lord, why start now?”
    Because Ron Paul is running as a Republican. In my opinion, he is the only candidate currently in the race who has any integrity and who truly understands the roots of the problems we face as a nation, both at home and abroad, and who can be counted on to protect or liberties.

  • Heretic for Christ

    Tysson,
    From what I have read, Ron Paul has some good things going for him, especially with respect to ending this misbetton war, but I have also read some very disturbing things about him, such as a speech attacking the principle of separation of church and state, and support for some anti-gay proposals. I gather you have followed him more closely than I have, so what is the real story here?

  • Týsson

    “I gather you have followed him more closely than I have, so what is the real story here?”
    My sense (and it’s only a sense since these issues have not really come up in the debates to any great extent) is that, in the delicate balance between the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, Ron Paul tends to place greater emphasis on the free exercise of religion. I honestly don’t know where he stands on things like posting the 10 Commandments in schools and courthouses, but I suspect he would see it as a local issue that the federal government has no business regulating. As a practitioner of a minority faith, I tend to be far more sensitive to the establishment issues this position opens up, so I would tend to disagree with such an argument if that were, indeed, his position.
    On the issue of gay marriage, I believe there, too, he sees it as something the federal government has no business regulating. From that perspective, I can’t imagine he would vote for any bill that attempted to establish federal authority on the matter, whether for or against gay marriage. Though the two issues are clearly unrelated, it was similar reasoning that led Ron Paul to vote against net neutrality. He saw it as an attempt by the federal government to impose regulatory authority over something he felt should be free of any regulation. This stance, however, led many to believe, wrongly, that he was against a free Internet.
    As is always the case with political candidates, I don’t agree with every position Ron Paul holds. Nevertheless, unlike every other candidate, I know what central paradigm informs his decisions. Where every other candidate shifts positions depending on who’s writing the checks or what the latest opinion polls suggest people want to hear, Ron Paul consistently bases his votes on a very strict interpretation of the Constitution. That steadfastness to first principles is almost unheard of in American politics today. In fact, I would classify Ron Paul as a statesman rather than a politician. By whatever name, however, he has rekindled in me an interest in politics that I thought had been permanently extinguished in the 2000 Presidential “election.”

  • Heretic for Christ

    Tysson,
    Thanks for your perspectives.

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