(RNS) Carly Fiorina formally launched her 2016 presidential run Monday (May 4). But she’s long been working the Christian talk and radio circuit, appealing to a traditional Christian voter base.
Here are five faith facts about the former Hewlett-Packard CEO turned business consultant:
1. Born Cara Carleton Sneed, Fiorina grew up Episcopalian.
At a recent Heritage Foundation event, she said when she was 8 years old her mother, who was also her Sunday school teacher, gave her a plaque that said: “What you are is God’s gift to you and what you make of yourself is your gift to God.” During her undergraduate years at Stanford, she studied medieval history, reading Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides and other Christian, Jewish and Islamic philosophers. In recent years, The New York Times described her as an irregular churchgoer who is not affiliated with a particular denomination.
2. Before and after her 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate (losing to Barbara Boxer), Fiorina stressed opposition to abortion.
She spoke to the Heritage Foundation about times she volunteered with agencies that serve special needs children. These are children, she said, that abortion-rights liberals, who protect “even flies,” would call “flawed” but she sees them as “full of grace.” Fiorina is a global ambassador for Opportunity International, a Christian global anti-poverty microfinance organization that merged with her One Woman initiative in 2013.
Even with her strong abortion opposition, a New York Times profile notes she would allow abortion for incest, rape and in cases where the mother’s life was in danger — but never with taxpayer funds.
3. She opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
She told Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody she supported Proposition 8 in California (which banned gay marriage in 2008 and was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013).
When she debated Boxer in 2010, she said, “I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but also have been consistent and clear that I support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. She elaborated in an April 2 interview with USA Today: “What’s really at stake here for gay couples is how government bestows benefits. What’s really at stake here for people of religious conviction is their conviction that marriage is a religious institution because only a man and a woman can create life, which is a gift that comes from God.”
4. Fiorina turns to Jesus in difficult times, such as her treatment for breast cancer and the death of her daughter, who dealt with drug addiction.
According to The New York Times, she told Iowa’s Faith and Family Forum, “It was my husband Frank’s and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ that saved us from a desperate sadness.”
5. She opposes an Iran nuclear deal.
She urged President Obama to “stop talking to Iran. I will never defend anti-Semitism and it is alive and well” in Jordan and Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, she told Colorado radio host Craig Silverman’s show. However, “It is Iran and only Iran fueling terrorists with the express goal of exterminating Israel.”