There are lawmakers who may downplay their faith for whatever reason. PA Representative Frank Ryan of the 101st District in Lebanon County is not one of those folks. His faith has always been a big part of his life and he’s not afraid to say it.
“I live in a district where faith is a matter of importance,” Ryan said. “Occasionally I would get some (negative) comments from time to time but it’s very seldom.”
“What I would always say to people is that when you have someone in the legislature, it’s probably pretty important to have someone who guides their life by a moral code and character.”
Four years ago Ryan did a walk across the U.S. to bring attention to kids with disabilities. But he said it actually started out as a walk of atonement.
“I wanted to say that if I had hurt someone, they would forgive me. If I ever disappointed someone, they would pray for me. If I ever helped someone, I hoped that they would help another.”
Ryan has led a life of service. In addition to being a public servant now, Ryan spent 33-years in the Marine Corps.—thirty of that as a Commissioned Officer. He retired in 2002, but came out of retirement a couple of years later to serve again, this time in the Iraq War.
He said at one point in his life had given serious thought to becoming a priest. He didn’t take that path, but his faith has remained strong.
“Just because there’s a separation of church and state in government, doesn’t mean you don’t need a moral compass and a moral code.”
And Ryan is a strong believer in the dignity of human life.
“I absolutely believe that life begins at conception and goes to natural death,” he said. “What I tell people is that ‘think about the society that doesn’t value human life.’ I’ve seen cultures where their lives were not valued and you don’t want to live in those cultures.”
Ryan supports proposed legislation that would ban abortions based on a diagnosis of baby having Down syndrome.
“I have a friend who said to me ‘I often feel that they don’t have an extra chromosome, we are missing one. I’ve dealt with children with Down syndrome my entire life. I don’t think I’ve ever me an angry child with Down. They’re probably closer to Christ than we probably should be.”