WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign continues to win a portion of the Republican vote in early primary states, signified by his second-place finish in Nevada Jan. 19.
Although many consider his campaign a long shot, Ron Paul has built up a significant amount of enthusiastic supporters and raised substantial funds.
He beat frontrunner Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Nevada and Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson in Michigan.
Numerous Catholics in America are among those that remain unsatisfied with the mainstream political candidates for president, and many have joined the vocal supporters of a campaign that is significantly different than his Republican rivals’.
Paul is a 10-term congressman representing Texas who has consistently held his strong political beliefs based on a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Like many Republican presidential candidates, Paul is pro-life and has a congressional record to prove it. Supporters like to point out that he is an obstetrician who has delivered more than 4,000 babies and shares a personal conviction of pro-life issues.
“I, of course, never saw one time when a medically necessary abortion had to be done.” Paul stated during the CNN/YouTube debate last November.
Paul’s opposition to Roe vs. Wade stems from his strict interpretation of the Constitution. He believes the federal government should have no role in determining abortion rights.
Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life, noted that as a Congressman, Paul took pro-life issues seriously, but noted that his approach was different.
“Ron Paul thinks that the federal government doesn’t belong in the abortion issue, so occasionally there is a vote that might appear anti life,” she said, “but it stems from his belief that it’s a states-rights issue rather than a federal government issue.”
In spite of his misgivings about the federal nature of the partial-birth abortion ban, heavily reliant on the Supreme Court’s decision, Paul voted for it.
“Despite its severe flaws, this bill nonetheless has the possibility of saving innocent human life, and I will vote in favor of it,” Paul stated on the floor of the House of Representatives. “I fear, though, that when the pro-life community uses the arguments of the opposing side to advance its agenda, it does more harm than good.”
In the same speech, Paul stated that, “Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age.”
Paul’s strategy to ban abortion is best revealed in a bill that he sponsored that would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion.
“By denying the federal courts’ jurisdiction, state laws banning abortion would stand and there would not be any Roe vs. Wade,” said Thomas Woods, Jr., a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Woods wrote a letter to fellow Catholics supporting Ron Paul and making a case for his candidacy.
Anti-War and Anti-Death
Paul stands alone among the Republican presidential candidates as one who voted against the Iraq war, stating that it was unconstitutional, since it never received a congressional declaration of war. If elected president, Paul promises to withdraw troops from Iraq.
Thomas Peters, who runs the blog American Papist, contributes to a blog called Catholics for Ron Paul. He noted that since the Vatican hasn’t spoken magisterially about the Iraq war, Catholics can continue to debate the issue. “He [Paul] has philosophical and rational reasons for why he thinks that American involvement isn’t the best choice,” said Peters. “He examines the question using principles of just war theory, specifically speaking about the Christian tradition of a just war,” he added.
Paul mentioned the Vatican’s comments regarding the Iraq War when paying tribute to John Paul II’s legacy. “The Pope’s commitment to human dignity, grounded in the teachings of Christ, led him to become one of the most eloquent spokesmen for the consistent ethic of life, exemplified by his struggles against abortion, war, euthanasia and the death penalty,” he said on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 6, 2005, four days after the Pope’s death.
Although initially a supporter of the death penalty, Paul changed his position after studying the issue throughout his political career.
Some religious voters remain skeptical about a vote for Paul, as his strict interpretation for the Constitution pits him against federal legislation to ban prostitution, drugs and homosexual “marriage.”
Peters said, “Ron Paul voted against the marriage amendment, but only because he thought it was non-constitutional, not because he doesn’t think marriage isn’t a union of a man and a woman.”
“We cannot go to Washington to dictate to us how we improve our personal behavior,” said Paul, explaining his position at the 2007 Value Voters Summit in Washington D.C. “You don’t dictate; you don’t legislate virtue. In a free society, you do that from people, from your family, your friends, and your neighbors, but not in the federal government.”
Paul’s platform has drawn the support of several controversial groups, including those advocating legalization of prostitution, drugs and even advocates of race supremacy.
Woods said that he supports Paul because of his steadfast, long-held political views that ring true with the Constitution.
“The fact that Ron Paul is a man of integrity, who can’t be bought, and preaches his views thick or thin, good times or bad, fair or foul weather, appeals to Catholics who believe that there are unchanging truths,” he said. “It’s very rare to see politicians who stand by their guns in all circumstances, and this guy does it.”
Charlie Spiering is based in