With Kaine and Pence, religion finally takes center stage in Election 2016

This article appears in the Election 2016 feature series. View the full series.

Religion hasn't played much of a role in the presidential campaign. Sure, Trump made a faux pas when he placed cash on the Communion plate. And Hillary Clinton has occasionally invoked a phrase popular among members of her Methodist faith to discuss how her religious beliefs undergird her career in government.

But mostly the major parties' two presidential aspirants have kept faith at a distance, as did the moderator of their debate on Sept. 26.

That changed during the first and only vice presidential debate Tuesday. Moderator Elaine Quijano asked a pointed religion question of Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and his GOP opponent, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Related: Experts on last night's veep debate (Oct. 5, 2016)

"You have both been open about the role that faith has played in your lives," Quijano said. "Can you discuss, in detail, a time when you've struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position?"

Visit National Catholic Reporter's Online Classifieds to learn about job opportunities, events, retreats and more.

Religion may or may not find itself in the limelight again before Election Day. But those for whom faith is central in their lives -- and for those who believe faith plays too big a part in political decision-making -- Quijano's questions and the candidates' answers made for a highlight of the campaign.

Watch video here of Quijano's questions and the candidates' responses.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here