The Washington Post reports on what they call “the most extensive religious speech of the campaign season,” with vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine speaking at a Baptist convention.
Unsurprisingly, his support for abortion rights—and abortion’s devastating impact on African Americans—did not come up.
In perhaps the most extensive religious speech of the campaign season, which doubled as a plea to black voters, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine on Thursday described his faith identity and values as shaped largely by his experiences living and worshiping among Latino and African American Christians. Kaine’s talk before the Progressive National Baptist Convention, a 2.5-million-member, liberal black denomination, was sermon-like in its heavy religious message and cadence. It ended with the denomination’s president saying: “Give it up for Reverend Kaine!” and contained many scriptural references, tales of his work as a missionary and of praying with Hillary Clinton backstage at the Democratic National Convention. The core of his talk was about the Biblical story of Job, who loses everything, which Kaine said is really about how people react to suffering and tough conditions, whether they blame the victim and past errors or instead commit more deeply to their faith, principles and moving forward. Kaine’s impassioned speech about how his Catholic faith was built and tested was especially rich in religious detail for a candidate of the Democratic Party, the home in 2016 for most of the country’s religious minorities as well as the massive slice of religiously unaffiliated voters. In recent years, Democrats have been working a bit harder to connect with religious voters without alienating people who are sick of the blending of partisanship and God and turned off by too much “God talk.” Donald Trump has turned off many religious conservatives with comments about Muslims, women, African Americans and his lack of desire for God’s forgiveness. The question is whether Clinton and Kaine can lure in some of those voters. Kaine talked at length Thursday about the inspiration he drew from worshiping with Hondurans while he was a missionary during law school, how much more powerful their faith seemed than back home, where many are concerned that the Mass gets wrapped up in 45 minutes. “They were simple but beautiful and the sermons were challenging — made you look yourself in the mirror,” he said of Honduran Masses. It made him realize, he said. “I don’t want a worship service that is a transactional box checker on Sunday morning. I want a worship service that’s not transactional but transformational. We shall not fall asleep but we shall be changed. Reform your lives!..That promise of change, of reform. that changed my life.”
Photo: ABC News