Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and grew up there, in Wilmington, Delaware and in Claymont, Delaware.
Perhaps Biden's most famous reference to his faith came during the 2012 vice-presidential debates, where Biden squared-off with Republican candidate Paul Ryan–also a Catholic. When both candidates were asked their views on abortion, Ryan took a pro-life stance, citing his church's position on the issue, and Biden went the other direction, saying:
My religion defines who I am. And I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life… With regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a — what we call de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception. That's the Church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.
It's a view informed by the philosophy of separation of church and state and a tolerance of the wide array of religious belief systems present in the United States. However, Biden's critics were quick to jump on the comment, questioning Biden's faith and calling him out as a hypocrite. Certain members of the Catholic clergy even suggested that Biden was not qualified to take Catholic communion.
Fair enough, but that's politics. You don't just fly in the face of your party ideology–especially during an election year.
"Middle class Joe" walks the halls of power
Biden is a Democrat and his political career spans over four decades. At the time this article was written, he was serving his second term as the vice-president of the United States of America–referred to by some as the second-most powerful man in the world.
Suffice it to say, he takes a fairly standard Democratic view on most everything: Pro-life, pro-environment, higher taxes on the wealthy, an expansion of government programs/regulatory agencies in most arenas of society, "comfortable" with same-sex marriage, etc, etc, etc. In fact, it was Biden's off-hand comment about gay marriage that sort of opened the floodgates and put pressure on Obama to also endorse gay marriage, a first for a sitting president.
He does diverge a bit here and there. For example, he considers high corporate taxes as an incentive for business to outsource their employment needs to foreign countries and he can be a bit heavy-handed with his remarks on foreign policy, saying countries like Iran and China should be held "accountable" for their actions. Though he says circumstances would have to be quite extreme for the U.S. to give up on diplomacy and resort to military intervention.
As this article is being written, Biden's primary focus has been a task force regarding gun control in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting. Conclusions so far include a renewed effort to ban private ownership of assault rifles, a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines/clips, and universal background checks for gun buyers. Of course, this has the conservative sector of American society quite up-in-arms (pun intended). Check out conservative pundit Alex Jones' incredible response to potential gun measures as an example.
There is much speculation that Biden will be the Democrat's presidential candidate in 2016. When/if that happens, we'll be updating this article and very much looking forward to your comments.