11 faith facts about GOP candidates who debated on CNN

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Potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FIORINA-FAITH, originally transmitted on April 28, 2015.

Potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FIORINA-FAITH, originally transmitted on April 28, 2015.

Republican presidential candidates (top row L-R) Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, (bottow row L-R) Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich are seen in a combo of recent file photos. The head of the Republican Party on Wednesday said its presidential candidates are unlikely to attack each other in the party's first official debate but instead are focused on ousting Democrats from the White House. Seventeen Republicans, led by billionaire Donald Trump, who has taunted fellow contenders, are seeking the conservative party's presidential nomination. Only 10 will be on stage Thursday night in the first prime-time debate, which could offer a boost in exposure to voters and a chance to break out of the pack. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/files *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POLITICS-FAITH, originally transmitted on August 5, 2015.

Ten Republican presidential candidates (top row L-R)  in the Fox News debate — Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, (bottow row L-R) Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich — will be joined by Carly Fiorina in the CNN debate. Photo composite courtesy of REUTERS/files

(RNS) Ten plus one Republican candidates took the main debate stage for a three-hour marathon of policy talk and intra-party digs on  Wednesday (Sept. 16).

It was 10+1 because all the fellows from the first debate, sponsored by Fox News, made room for Carly Fiorina on the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

Few issues united the candidates and there was almost none of the “God talk” that peppered the August debate on Fox News.

Still, we at Religion News Service are keeping tabs. Here are links to our series of “5 faith facts about … ” each of these candidates’ background, written as they entered the race, and updates on their most recent spiritual spins on the campaign trail.

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina responds to a question at a Fox-sponsored forum for lower polling candidates held before the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, shown here at the Fox News debate, will join the main-stage candidates for the CNN debate. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Ben Carson  and Donald Trump have tangled over the politics of religiosity.

Carson struck first, telling CNN, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life and that’s a very big part of who I am. I don’t get that impression with (Trump).”

Trump tweeted back: “Wow, I am ahead of the field with Evangelicals (am so proud of this) and virtually every other group, and Ben Carson just took a swipe at me.”

Jeb Bush, courting Jewish votes, spoke at a synagogue and, according to the website Jewish Insider, the so-called “National Jewish Leadership Team” will comprise Jewish leaders and prominent donors.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also looking for Jewish voters, told an Orthodox Jewish audience in New Jersey that President Obama lacked the essential moral clarity to reject the Iran nuclear deal. 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, like nearly all the GOP contenders, backed defiant Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her religious refusal to sign off on marriage licenses for gay couples. 

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told CNN: “I think it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty. If you want to convince people that same-sex ‘marriage’ is something that’s acceptable I would say try to persuade people” instead of using state force. I am a Christian but not always a good one.”

But few were more outspoken than Baptist pastor and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He was at the jailhouse rally when Davis was released after serving five days for contempt of a judge’s order to issue licenses to all eligible couples. 

“It’s what I call the criminalization of Christianity,” Huckabee told “Fox and Friends.”

Carly Fiorina stressed her “passion” for religious liberty, but pointed out that elected officials with conscience objections to their employment duties might consider resigning.

(Although the Bible she often reads says the meek shall inherit the earth, Fiorina had a smart little comeback to Trump’s sexist remarks about her face. Said Fiorina of Trump, “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”)

Ted Cruz, riding hard on the defund-Planned-Parenthood bandwagon among Republicans, announced a “Day of Prayer and Fasting” last week and called on 100,000 evangelical pastors to join in. No word yet on how widely they responded. 

Politico says Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is subtly leveraging his LDS background to build support in Nevada, where the Mormon community is small but influential in GOP politics. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich rattled the religious right in a Fox News appearance when he took a pragmatic rather than dogmatic stance on the push against Planned Parenthood in Congress. He said: “When you shut the government down, people don’t like it. And you shouldn’t shut it down unless you have a great chance of success.” 


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  • Jack

    I especially like Kasich on refugees but on the domestic poverty issue, he seems to have forgotten one of his own supposedly signature issues in the late 1990s — his support for a neighborhood-based war on poverty to replace the top-down Washington bureaucracy failure. The cynical side of me wonders whether it wasn’t just a brainchild of his aides at the time and that he didn’t and doesn’t know much about it.

  • Fran

    Yes, a place of burning torment forever is definitely a MYTH since there is only the grave, where the dead are not aware of anything, as if in a deep sleep or coma (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10).

    All these politicians, no matter what “party” they belong to, will continue to make promises they cannot keep, nor be of great benefit to the masses. Just look at their record in that regard.

  • dmj76

    Liberals are stupid?
    Do you really believe that?
    We might be wrong sometimes, but since we do not get our information directly from G-d’s mouth to our ears, we know that we can be wrong.
    How many Nobel prize winning physicists believe the earth is less than10,000 years old? Some of them might be relatively conservative, but how many are actual fundamentalist Republicans?

  • when it comes to politics/political candidates I have zero trust for them all because is only a politician that I have see that can 10,000 promises spent 4-8 in office and fulfill none,

  • Bernardo

    What happened to my comments about these guys and gal not having a chance in h-ell because of the S- Majority?

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  • Fran



  • George Nixon Shuler

    A real hell would have these boobs debating every night.

  • James

    the constitution is clear that we are guaranteed religious freedom. It also makes the point that religious freedom does not include the idea that the potential president of the United States gets to impose his/her personal spiritual ideaologys on an incredibly diverse population. That is shaira law. End of story. That alone should disqualify any candidate that admits to relying on their fath to make the best decision for the public.

  • Larry

    Despite the great numbers of candidates, few are worthy of votes. So there is not much left to do but watch the mass debating going on. 🙂

  • Larry

    You have at least 3 out and out theocrats, one person who will literally say anything to appeal to cretinous voters, 2 alleged fiscal conservatives with a history of atrocious behavior, one of the worst tech CEO’s in history, the Stephen Baldwin of the Bush clan, and a man with absolutely no respect for the position he is running for. Plus a bunch of people nobody wants to vote for.

    I cant even pretend there is one of these GOP candidates worth taking seriously.

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  • Bernardo


    The comment was not about stu-pid liberals but about the Stu-pid Majority, one of the largest voting blocs in the USA today i.e. the 60-80 million “mothers and fathers” of ab-orted womb babies who will all vote for the pro-choice/abo-rtion candidate i.e.the Democratic nominee ensuring that person a victory. And why are the labeled Stu-pid? They failed to practice safe-se-x.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Abortion occurs at the same rate whether it’s legal or illegal. Those who want to criminalize it are motivated over a desire to use big government to control sex, especially by women.

  • The candidates shouldn’t worry about pleasing this group or offending that group, we already have an abundance of those kind of candidates. They should do whats right and stand for whats right regardless of the consequences. This, people will understand and respect. Jesus wasn’t political, though many tried to draw Him into political positions. HIs message was spiritual. He came to fulfill what was written about Him by the prophets through the Holy Spirit. That Christ/Messiah first must die for the sins of the world, and rise again. When He returns He will take His Kingdom and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Receive Him as Savior and Lord, turn away from sin and follow Him God Bless