Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine held a conference call with reporters yesterday to take issue with his opponent in the governor’s race, Jerry Kilgore, for what Kaine perceives as an attack against his Catholicism. In an interview with the DC Examiner, the successor to the Journal newspapers in the DC area (available only in pdf format at this site), Kilgore intimated that Kaine is disingenuous in leaning on his religion to defend his stance against the death penalty.

“He’s had a record of activism against the death penalty. Until it became politically unpopular, he had never mentioned his religion in relation to the death penalty.”

Kaine has invoked his faith frequently during the campaign. He often mentions his service as a missionary in Honduras during his student days. When running for lieutenant governor in 2001, Kaine didn’t refer to his religious beliefs as frequently, reporters who covered that campaign recall.

Kaine has been running radio ads in which he says his core values are “guided by my faith.”

“I have never attacked his religion. Ever,” Kilgore said in the interview with the Washington Examiner. Kilgore supports the death penalty and has been making an issue of Kaine’s opposition. Kilgore is a Baptist.

Maybe Kilgore is not attacking Kaine’s religion, but it’s smart politics on Kaine’s part to make the accusation, as I stated earlier this month.

After all, Kilgore paints citizens opposed to his election as anti-religious, anti-family and anti-democratic.

Kaine also took issue with two Kilgore fund-raising letters, including one dated March 18. It referred to “left-wing activists who don’t share the values of faith, family and freedom that Virginians hold dear.” Then it adds: “Yet that’s where so much of Tim Kaine’s support is coming from.”

Jerry, you can’t claim people who don’t support you are against your faith and then criticize your opponent when he makes the same charge against you.