Reuters – Tim Kaine was announced as Clinton’s running mate on Friday
Hillary Clinton has announced Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia as her running mate.
The self-declared “boring” candidate has been picked for his sensible, reliable image as Clinton look to portray herself as the competent option against the chaos of Donald Trump.
But there is more to Kaine than meets the eye. For one he is particularly open about his faith. “I do what I do for spiritual reasons. I’m always thinking about the momentary reality but also how it connects with bigger matters of what’s important in life,” he told C-SPAN.
He has also told the Patch website: “My faith is central to everything I do. My faith position is a Good Samaritan position of trying to watch out for the other person.”
So what can we learn about the Virginia’s senator’s religion and what influence it would have should he become the next vice-president?
1. Raised by devout Catholics, educated by Jesuits
Kaine’s parents were strict Catholics. Speaking of his upbringing in Missouri, he told C-SPAN: “If we got back from a vacation on a Sunday night at 7:30 pm, they would know the one church in Kansas City that had an 8 pm Mass that we can make.”
He went to an all-boys Jesuit high school in Kansas. The Catholic religious order is known for intelligence and devotion. Jesuit priests live by three oaths – of poverty, chastity and obedience – and a fourth specifically to worldwide mission.
2. Took a year out of law school for a mission trip
Kaine says “the transformative event” of his life was a year he spent as a missionary in Honduras.
While at law school in Harvard he said he realised he had drifted from the Catholic Church and wanted to re-discover the purpose of his life. So he paused his degree and followed the fourth Jesuit oath. He applied to join missionaries in Honduras where he volunteered as a teacher in carpentry and welding, his father’s profession.
3. Separates the personal from the political
As a Catholic, Kaine has typical socially conservative values. He is personally against abortion, the death penalty and in favour of abstinence-based sex education. He has also spoken against same-sex marriage and gay adoption.
But his policies often support contrasting positions.
Although openly opposed to abortion in principle, he supports women’s right to choose. “I have taken the position, which is quite common among Catholics — I have got a personal feeling about abortion, but the right rule for government is to let women make their own decisions,” he told Chuck Todd.
Similarly although he privately disagrees with gay marriage and adoption, his public policies are in favour. In 2013 he said: “I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution.”
As state governor he oversaw 11 executions, a punishment he is strongly opposed to. He explained in 2012: “I have a moral position against the death penalty. But I took an oath of office to uphold it. Following an oath of office is also a moral obligation.”
Reuters – Senator Tim Kaine became emotional as he delivered a speech at a rally on Saturday
4. Supports women priests in the Catholic Church
Unlike most Catholics, Kaine believes women should be accepted as priests within the Catholic Church. This would mean a fundamental shift in how Catholic theology understood the priesthood and the role of the priest as Christ’s representative.
But when Pope Francis visited Washington DC in September 2015, Kaine issued this statement: “If women are not accorded equal place in the leadership of the Catholic Church and the other great world religions, they will always be treated as inferiors in earthly matters as well,” he said. “There is nothing this Pope could do that would improve the world as much as putting the Church on a path to ordain women.”
5. Likes Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si” on climate change
Pope Francis issued the Church’s first encyclical on the environment and global warming – a move that was not supported by many more conservative Catholics.
But Kaine agreed the issue should be framed as one of faith.
“I’m sure he’s not going to opine on whether a carbon tax is better than a cap-and-trade mechanism,” he said. “That doesn’t need to be where he goes – but to say, ‘You know, you guys and everybody in power these days, you’ve got the next generation’s future in your hands, and you don’t want to have to face that question later in life: With the science what it was, and with you having the opportunity to do something about it, why did you choose not to?'”
6. Has attended the same church for 30 years
Alongside his wife Anne Holton, Kaine has attended St Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia for 30 years.
The couple were married there in 1984 and the senator is also a tenor in the church choir. The church has a largely poor, black congregation and is in a run-down neighbourhood.