Ron Paul, GOP's antiwar maverick, has pastor brother: David Paul thinks his brother is on the right side where it counts

David Paul is the assistant pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and never was much for politics. This year, however, he feels as if he has a ringside seat. That is thanks to his younger brother Ron, whose maverick campaign for president is upstaging more staid GOP rivals.

It does not surprise the pastor that Ron Paul, a 10-term Texas member of Congress, holds his own when debating front-runners. “I always told people that we had some pretty interesting discussions in our house,” said David Paul, 73, one of five boys raised in a Pittsburgh family. “Nobody was telling us what to think or how to think. We went our own way and did different things.”

David Paul last saw his brother at a family reunion in August, but he continues to track his progress in every GOP debate. “We are very proud of what he has done,” he said. Ron Paul, 71, has defied conventional wisdom with a populist, antiwar, libertarian message that is finding a grass-roots audience.

While once-presumptive front-runner John McCain is virtually broke, Paul has more than $5 million in the bank. Propelled by a lively Internet buzz, his campaign has received much of its money from thousands of small individual contributions.

Paul has drawn attention for his feisty debate performances, in which he has staked out a stand against the Iraq war, domestic surveillance and the intrusions of big government. That often puts him at odds with the rest of the GOP field.

Pastor David Paul recalled that he and his brothers learned early on that they would have to earn their way in the world. As their father built a dairy business from scratch, they lived in a four-room house with one bedroom shared by the five boys.

On a bulletin board at Trinity Lutheran, an affiliate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, there is a newspaper clipping of a photo of the GOP candidates at a recent debate in Dearborn, Michigan. An arrow points to Ron Paul with a note that reads: “Pastor David’s brother.”

David Paul is proud of Ron Paul, but he is enough of a realist to understand that his brother’s candidacy is a long shot. Some of his stands—for example, he favors repeal of most federal drug laws—put him on the political fringe. He barely registers in national polls.

But on the whole, David Paul thinks his brother is on the right side where it counts. “On Iraq, I am in total agreement with him. We shouldn’t have been there. We should get out of there.” –Ted Roelofs, Religion News Service