5 faith facts about John Kasich: ‘God is with me wherever I happen to be’

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/02/08/5-faith-facts-about-john-kasich-god-is-with-me-wherever-i-happen-to-be/

(RNS) — When The New York Times endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the eve of the Iowa caucus, their praise focused on his pragmatic, calm voice for “government’s duty to protect the poor, the mentally ill and others ‘in the shadows.’”

He told conservative talk host Hugh Hewitt: “Look, we have a lot of candidates who like the prince of darkness. I consider myself the prince of light and hope,” Kasich told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Here are five faith facts about Kasich:

1. He started out Catholic, and the faith is “always going to be a part of me.”

In one of his two books about faith, values and politics, Kasich, 63, describes growing up as “a card-carrying Catholic” child of immigrants in “working-class church-abiding” McKees Rocks, Pa.

Kasich writes: “I drifted away from religion as a young adult. Then I looked up one day, and there was a huge hole in my life where God and religion had been.”

He turned back to faith after his parents were killed by a drunken driver. His 2010 book, “Every Other Monday,” gets its name from the biweekly Bible study he’s attended for two decades. In that book, he describes taking Scripture word for word, including that Noah undertook the impossibly, unfathomably huge task (of building the ark) and completed it heroically.”

The book was panned by Publishers Weekly, which wrote, “The Christianity that emerges from these pages is tame and has nothing profound to say.”

2. He “doesn’t find God in church.”

Instead, Kasich writes: “He’s with me wherever I happen to be. I go to church because that’s what you do. I find God in the stories of the Bible, in the random acts of kindness I see every day, in the choices I make and the ways I interact.”

But he does belong to a church — St. Augustine in Westerville, Ohio, part of the conservative Anglican Church in North America. The denomination broke away from the Episcopal Church after the liberal church consecrated an openly gay bishop. The ACNA does not permit female bishops or ordain non-celibate LGBT priests.

3. He’s not afraid to lob Scripture at critics.

The Columbus Dispatch, covering his 2014 re-election campaign, noted that he “cites God regularly,” as when he justified the expansion of Medicaid to more than a quarter-million Ohioans.

Indeed, he felt free to stand up for that Medicaid expansion in a conference room full of Republican mega-donors last year. According to Politico, Randy Kendrick, a major donor whose husband owns the Arizona Diamondbacks, questioned the decision and Kasich’s God-based rationale.

Politico writes: “The governor’s response was fiery. ‘I don’t know about you, lady,’ he said as he pointed at Kendrick, his voice rising. ‘But when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have ananswer for what I’ve done for the poor.’”

4. A realist on gay marriage and abortion.

Kasich voted for the Defense of Marriage Act years ago and supported Ohio’s ban on gay marriage. But he was pragmatic after the Supreme Court ruling June 26, 2015, overturned state bans. Two days later, he was interviewed on “Face the Nation” and said: “I believe in traditional marriage, but the Supreme Court has ruled. It’s the law of the land, and we’ll abide by it. … It’s time to move on.”

5. On the campaign trail…

While other candidates stampeded across Iowa, Kasich logged a great deal of campaign time in New Hampshire where his measured, faith-touched campaign speech seemed to resonate.

Kasich frequently called for conservatives to focus less on saber-rattling over ISIS, immigration, and Obamacare and more on other urgent issues, such as jobs, national defense and “healing the division between races.”

He still aligns with the all the GOP frontrunners in the race on on opposition to abortion. But theformer altar boy  never joined the outcry to de-fund Planned Parenthood, even it it took shutting down the government, “because I don’t think it’s going to work out.”

— Written by Cathy Lynn Grossman