Comparison of Presidential Candidates on Religion

Below is a chart comparing the religion, religious views, and moral/ethical views of the dominant 2008 presidential candidates. Links go to articles providing "just the facts" (meaning direct quotes, linked references and video) on the candidates' religious faith, religious beliefs and views on some major moral issues. This guide is not intended to be comprehensive, but to provide a convenient summary and starting point for further reading. We hope it might prove helpful. (Also see: 2012 Presidential Candidates Comparion Chart)

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Democrats
Republicans
 
Personal Religion United Methodist since childhood. Details United Methodist. Raised Southern Baptist. Renewal of faith after tragedy. Details United Church of Christ since college. Raised nonreligious. Details Southern Baptist. Former Baptist minister. Details Episcopalian but attends a Southern Baptist church and considering baptism. Details Mormon. Has served as Mormon bishop. Details
Abortion Pro-choice. Opposed ban on late-term abortions. Details Pro-choice. Details Pro-choice. Opposed ban on late-term abortions. Details Pro-life. Wants to overturn Roe v Wade and amend constitution to ban abortions. Details Pro-life. Wants to overturn Roe v Wade and let states decide. Then, support for pregnant mothers is key to gaining states' support against abortion. Details Pro-life. Was once "effectively pro-choice." Issue should be decided by states. Details
Church and State Opposes allowing teachers to post the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms. Supports faith-based initiatives. Details "Freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom from religion." Supports faith-based initiatives. Details Separation is very important but should be governed by "a sense of proportion." Supports faith-based initiatives. Details "The First Amendment requires that expressions of faith be neither prohibited nor preferred." Has said constitution should be amended to follow God's principles. Supports faith-based initiatives. Details USA founded as a Christian nation. "Under God" should be kept. Supports faith-based initiatives. Details Separation important. Supports reference to God in pledge, on money and in public places. Supports faith-based initiatives. Details




Death Penalty Supports. Cosponsored a bill to improve DNA evidence for death row suspects. Details Supports. But "we need reforms... to ensure that defendants receive fair trials... with full access to DNA testing." Details Supports only in cases of very heinous crimes. Voted for death penalty reforms. Details Supports. Has carried it out as governor of Arkansas. "Some crimes deserve it, but that does not mean I like it." Details Supports, including for acts of terrorism, and would consider expansion for other crimes. Details Supports for deadly acts of terrorism, killing sprees, murders involving torture and the killing of law enforcement authorities. Proposed reforms. Details
Gay Issues Opposes gay marriage. Opposes constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Supports civil unions. Clarified she does not believe homosexuality is immoral. Supports homosexuals serving in the military. Details Opposes gay marriage. Supports civil unions. States should decide policy. It is "the single hardest social issue for me personally." Opposes "don't ask, don't tell." Details Opposes gay marriage. Wrote that his opposition "may be misguided." Supports civil unions. Clarified he does not believe homosexuality is immoral. Details Opposes gay marriage. Opposes civil unions. Doesn't agree with homosexuality. "People have a right to decide how they live their lives [but] they have to respect not changing the definition of marriage." Details Opposes gay marriage. Opposes constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. States should decide policy. Details Opposes gay marriage. Supports civil unions. Supports constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Previously said states should decide policy. Details
Medical Ethics Supports federal funding for stem cell research. Cosponsored the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. Calls the ethics of it "a delicate balancing act." Details Supports federal funding for stem cell research. Details Supports federal funding for stem cell research. Voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. Details Supports research only on existing stem cell lines and not "creating life for the sole purpose of destroying it." Details Opposes stem cell research using cloned human embryos, but supports using embryos left over from fertility treatments. Details Opposes stem cell research using cloned human embryos. Opposes federal funding. Details
 
 
Democrats
Republicans