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In GOP ticket, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan make religious history

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 10:07 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, introduces his vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va.

Associated Press

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Our take: Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are making a mark on history with their religious beliefs. Half of the U.S. population is Protestant, but the Romney-Ryan ticket doesn't include a member of that faith, making for a first in U.S. history.

In selecting Paul Ryan for his running mate, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made modern political history: a major party ticket with no Protestant Christian.

Some historians call it the first ever. Others say it's technically the first since Abraham Lincoln. And there is an argument to be made regarding Dwight Eisenhower.

But in any case, "this Republican ticket really symbolizes the passing of an era," said William Galston, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.

Romney is Mormon. Ryan is Catholic.

It's a trend also reflected in the Supreme Court. Once dominated by Protestants, there are now none among the nine justices, Galston noted. "All the groups that make up the new American population, as opposed to the population of 50 years ago, are now participating on equal" terms, in politics and American society in general, he said.

"It's quietly dramatic."

Read more about the Romney-Ryan ticket on CNN's Belief Blog.

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