Pope Francis, Catholicism, and the American Political Landscape

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Pope Francis, Catholicism, and the American Political Landscape

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 78 percent of Americans have a positive view of the current pope. It is no surprise that ever since the House Speaker, John Boehner, announced Pope Francis’s agreement to speak to a joint U.S. Congress on Sept. 24, 2015, there seems to be a “Francis Effect” taking place both in U.S. politics and among some “Evangelical Protestants, who today find themselves aligned with Catholics on many cultural issues—especially issues of life, marriage, and human sexuality.”

Time magazine correspondent Elisabeth Dias was interviewed at a Calvin College lecture event where she stated that news about the pope has been the hottest news for a while now. In addition, she mentioned that the political scene is abuzz with Catholicism. A general scan of Catholic blogs shows a heightened excitement over Pope Francis’s visit before Congress as well as a longer-than-normal list of presidential hopefuls.

Here’s a tentative list of 15 Catholic presidential candidates or hopefuls for 2016 from both parties:


  • Jeb Bush, Former FL Governor
  • Chris Christie, NJ Governor
  • Bobby Jindal, LA Governor
  • Pete King, NY Congressman
  • George Pataki, Former NY Governor
  • Paul Ryan, WI Congressman
  • Marco Rubio, FL Senator
  • Rick Santorum, Former PA Senator


  • Joe Biden, Vice President
  • Andrew Cuomo, NY Governor
  • Martin O’Malley, Former MD Governor

Unknown Bid Status as of January 2015

  • Kirsten Gillibrand, NY Senator, Democrat
  • Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House, Republican
  • Steve King, IA Congressman, Republican
  • Brian Schweitzer, Former MT Governor, Democrat

Other Prominent Catholic Politicians

Judicial (6 of 9 members of U.S. Supreme Court)

  • John Roberts, Chief Justice
  • Samuel Alito
  • Anthony Kennedy
  • Antonin Scalia
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Clarence Thomas


  • John Boehner, House Speaker, Republican
  • Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, Democrat

It is of interest to note that amid this list of Catholic candidates there is also one potential Adventist presidential candidate for the first time: Ben Carson, neurosurgeon, Republican.

This informative news post is not meant to be conspiratorial nor political in nature. It is an observation that seeks to serve our collective Adventist perspective of religion, politics, Bible prophecy, and current events in our daily witness and ministry.

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About the author


Justin Kim serves as the Assistant Director of Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department and Editor of the Collegiate Quarterly for the General Conference World Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He attended a Catholic high school and graduated from the Jewish-sponsored Brandeis University with degrees in sociology and biology before working in medical research at Harvard Medical School. Having studied Christian Philosophy and Theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, he has served as a missionary, pastor, producer, department director, and co-founder of the GYC movement. Justin and his wife Rachel have one son, Noah. Other editorials and writings by Justin Kim can be read at www.beforethink.org.