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By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 28, 2016

Much has been made, these last few days, about the Jesuit training of Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. What does his Jesuit education tell us?

Elizabeth Drescher has something to tell us. Drescher is the author of Choosing Our Religion: the Spiritual Lives of America's Nones. To appreciate her insight, you need to know:

  1. - "Nones" in the term used for people who are not affiliated with any religious group.
  2. - "Nones" are now the largest-growing religious bloc in American society. 
  3. - "Nones" lean very heavily toward the Democratic Party, according to a recent Pew poll. 

About now you may be wondering: What do "nones" have to do with Jesuit education? Good question. Let Elizabeth Drescher answer it:

Between the last election season and this one, I talked with more than 100 nones across America about their spiritual lives and surveyed several hundred more. My research shows that the Jesuit values that shape Tim Kaine’s politics correspond in many ways to the spirituality of nones.

Jesuit training, then, produces people whose outlook on life is remarkably similar to that of the unchurched. Or, to look at it from a different perspective, remarkably similar to Hillary Clinton's constituency. 

Make no mistake: the Clinton campaign knows what Kaine could bring to this year's presidential campaign. Democratic candidates need Catholic votes. The challenge was to find a vice-presidential nominee who had the "look and feel" of a Catholic, yet could to the secularized Democratic constituency. The answer was Jesuit education. 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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