The Faith of 2016 Presidential Candidate Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) smiles at his wife Kelley Paul before announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination during an event at the Galt House Hotel on April 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images North America)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) smiles at his wife Kelley Paul before announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination during an event at the Galt House Hotel on April 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images North America)

Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian who has pitched himself to social conservatives, became the second Republican to launch his campaign Tuesday in Louisville.

Paul was baptized into the Episcopal Church, but he has been a member of the Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green, Ky., which is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “Rand and Kelley are both devout Christians and are active in their local church,” his new Web site’s bio reads.

“My faith has never been easy for me,” Paul said when he spoke in 2012 at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit — an annual social conservative gathering. “Never been easy to talk about and never been without obstacles.”

Paul told the crowd that he struggled to understand “how tragedy could occur in a world that has purpose and design,” saying he does not wear his religion “on my sleeve.”

In an interview on the religious broadcasting station Daystar, Paul suggested that his faith didn’t always stick.

“As a teenager, I found that something was missing and decided that I would find that in Jesus. It’s something that – I tell people it didn’t always stick, either. I don’t know if that’s not – if that’s uh, blasphemy to say you have to be saved more than once, but I think sometimes it takes more than once for people.”

Paul cited his work in medicine as something that presents tensions in his faith.

“I’m also somebody who’s in science and medicine, so it’s not always been easy for me to say, well, gosh, how do I see God’s hand in this horrible, horrible thing that I’m seeing, how do I see God’s presence in something – you see small children dying from brain tumors and this and that,” he said. “Religion and faith isn’t always easy. But I always keep coming back.”

Paul did not get off to a smooth start with at least one evangelical leader. In 2010, when Paul was first running for U.S. Senate, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson switched his endorsement from Trey Grayson to Paul in the Republican primary.

Dobson said that “senior members of the GOP” mislead him by saying that Paul was pro-choice. He said that Paul identifies with the tea party and calls him “my kind of man.”

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SOURCE: The Washington Post
Sarah Pulliam Bailey

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