Religious Biography

Ron Paul

Ron Paul was raised on a dairy farm outside Pittsburgh, Pa., as one of five sons in a Lutheran family. In a statement on his 2012 presidential campaign website, Paul writes that his parents “set clear examples … about faith” and says their “Christian values” gave him “the foundation [he] needed to practice medicine and one day become a U.S. Representative.”

Paul earned a medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1961. Following his medical internship, he joined the Air Force, and subsequently the Air National Guard, as a flight surgeon. Settling in Texas after his military service, Paul opened a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology. Paul first represented Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976 and now is serving his 12th term in Congress, including back-to-back terms since 1997.

America became the greatest nation in human history because a dedicated band of Patriots believed their God-given rights were worth fighting for. … It’s time to protect and promote the basic God-given rights inherent in the promise of America.

– Ron Paul writing in his 2012 presidential campaign “Statement of Faith”

All five of Paul’s children with his wife, Carol Wells Paul, were baptized in the Episcopal Church, but Paul identified himself as “Baptist” when the media asked about his religious affiliation during the 2008 presidential campaign. “As the years went on [my wife and I] became more annoyed with the liberalization of the Episcopal Church and it didn’t fit us,” Paul told Beliefnet. “None of our children stayed in the church. … We drifted away from it. We now go to a Baptist church.” According to an October 2011 article in The Washington Post, Paul attends First Baptist Church in Lake Jackson, Texas.

A longtime supporter of libertarian ideas, Paul in 2001 proposed legislation to alter then-President George W. Bush’s federal faith-based initiative, which expanded government partnerships with faith-based groups for the delivery of social services, by instead offering a tax credit that would encourage individuals and businesses to donate to religious groups providing such services. Paul contended that faith-based groups provide superior social services but warned that “[c]hurches should not become entangled with government subsidies and programs.” Paul also introduced legislation to remove religious freedom-related legal cases from federal court jurisdiction because he viewed such cases as examples of government interfering with religious expression.

In a 2003 online column for the website, Paul defended religious displays in public spaces. In the column, titled “The War on Religion,” Paul wrote that “the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.” He went on to argue that “[t]he Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. … Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage.”

Paul’s “Statement of Faith” on his 2012 presidential campaign website ties his religious beliefs to his policy positions: “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate,” Paul writes, adding, “It is God Who gave us life. As He is free, so are those He created in His image.” Paul is a staunch critic of the Federal Reserve, and his faith statement asserts that Americans “must follow the Biblical mandate of using honest weights and measures – not printing money out of thin air in almost complete secrecy and then handing it over to oppressive dictators.” In addition, the faith statement cites Paul’s experience as an obstetrician to explain his belief that “life begins at the moment of conception.”

In a June 2011 speech to a gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Paul told a Bible story to express criticism of the federal government. Paul referred to 1 Samuel, in which the Israelites request to be ruled by a king, and God, in response, warns against the dangers of having a king. “I don’t think we need a king and we don’t need Washington to act as if they’re the king in this country,” Paul concluded.

Published on November 8, 2011