Article Info

published: 12/2/10
updated: 2/12/14

Comparison of 2012 Presidential Candidates on Religion




Below is a chart comparing the religion, religious views, and moral/ethical views of the dominant 2012 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.

2012 Presidential Candidates
 
Democrat
Republicans
 
Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich
Personal Religion United Church of Christ since college. Raised nonreligious. Mormon. Has served as Mormon bishop. Christian. Influenced by theologian and pastor Francis Schaeffer. Supported in 2006 by James Dobson. Christian. Associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church. Convereted to Catholocism after being Southern Baptist.
Abortion Pro-choice. Opposed ban on late-term abortions. Pro-life. Was once "effectively pro-choice." Issue should be decided by states. Pro-life. Influenced by Schaeffer's work. Pro-life. Favors defunding Planned Parenthood. Personally opposes.
Church and State Separation is very important but should be governed by "a sense of proportion." Supports faith-based initiatives. Separation important. Supports reference to God in pledge, on money and in public places. Supports faith-based initiatives. Says God told her to run for congress. Accused of pushing Christianity in public schools. Outspoken critic opposing Islamic Sharia Law in the U.S. Favors "under God" in Pledge of Allegiance.  
Death Penalty Supports only in cases of very heinous crimes. Voted for death penalty reforms. Supports for deadly acts of terrorism, killing sprees, murders involving torture and the killing of law enforcement authorities. Proposed reforms. No voting record.   Favors.




Gay Issues Supports civil unions. Clarified he does not believe homosexuality is immoral. View on same-sex marriage "evolving" Opposes gay marriage. Supports civil unions. Supports constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Previously said states should decide policy. Supports a Constitutional ammendment opposing gay marriage. Opposes legalizing same-sex marriage. Opposes legalizing same-sex marriage.
Medical Ethics Supports federal funding for stem cell research. Voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. Opposes stem cell research using cloned human embryos. Opposes federal funding. Opposes embryonic stem cell research.   Would not seek to ban research on stem cells.
 
John Huntsman
Ron Paul
Tim Pawlenty
Rick Santorum
Personal Religion United Church of Christ since college. Raised nonreligious. Mormon. Served as a missionary in Taiwan. Raised Lutheran. Later became Baptist. Christian. Raised Catholic. Later ecame evangelical Protestant. Roman Catholic.
Abortion Pro-choice. Opposed ban on late-term abortions. Supports a right to life ammendment Believes abortion is murder. Pro-life. Opposes Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-life. Voted to ban partial-birth abortions.
Church and State Separation is very important but should be governed by "a sense of proportion." Supports faith-based initiatives.   Believes churches should marry couples not the government. "The Founding Fathers understood that the blessings that we have as a nation come from our creator and we should stop and say thanks and express gratitude for that." Believes Catholic politicians "have divorced faith not just from the public square, but from their own decision-making proces"
Death Penalty Supports only in cases of very heinous crimes. Voted for death penalty reforms. Favors Opposes at state and federal level. Pushed to re-estbalish death penalty in Minnesota. Favors.
Gay Issues Supports civil unions. Clarified he does not believe homosexuality is immoral. View on same-sex marriage "evolving" Supports Civil Unions but not same-sex marriage. Voted to ban gay couples from adopting children. Opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions. Opposes same-sex marriage.
Medical Ethics Supports federal funding for stem cell research. Voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. Opposes use of embryonic stem cells in reasearch. Does not support embryonic stem cell research. Supports stem cell research, but opposes using embryonic stem cells. Favors using adult stem cells for research but not embyronic stem cells.
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