Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Billy Atwell

9/14/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Christians Speak Out Against Presumed Platform Change

Voting Christians who are Republicans are overwhelmingly in agreement on their desire to end abortion, define marriage as between one man and one woman, protect religious liberty, and so on.  So what is the strategy behind moving to less "sticky" issues? Will the Republican Party move the way the Democratic Party has in recent years and focus on issues which can be construed as somehow "safe" and of a purely "civic" nature?

Minority Leader John Boehner.

Minority Leader John Boehner.

Highlights

By Billy Atwell

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/14/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Influential Christian organizations are outspoken in their discouragement with the Republican Party's lack of leadership on what many call the "third leg" of the party's usual platform.  Every Republican Party campaign platform consists of a firm stance on the economy, national security, and what are called social issues. 

Lately, Republicans have been absent on social issues and are walking a bit limp as a result.  Traditionally, "social issues" is a phrase used to refer to abortion, sex education, bioethical concerns, the definition of marriage, religious liberty, and others.Arguably, every issue has a social dimension. However, these issues have often been singled out.

The two main opponents of this neglect are the American Principles Project and the Manhattan Declaration.  The American Principles Project is joining a grassroots effort called "Plank 1."  This effort says, "Our nation is only as strong as its core components: families, neighborhoods, churches and other religious communities, marriage and the voluntary associations of many types that make for a vibrant civil society." 

It lays out a principled devotion to protect the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, religious liberty, the rights of parents in teaching ethical values, charitable giving, a reformation of poverty programs, abstinence sex education programs, honoring our soldiers, and defining our rights as endowed by God, our Creator. 

The American Principles Project has called on its members to contact Minority Leader John Boehner, a Catholic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Republican National Committee Chairman Michale Steele to influence them in placing social issues back on their agenda and uphold the country's moral foundation.

The other initiative running through the same vein is the Manhattan Declaration.  The Manhattan Declaration is a movement of Christians leaders and laity to restore and preserve the sanctity of life, the orthodox Christian definition of marriage, and religious liberty.  It has been signed by 54 Catholic Bishops and Archbishops, and 3 Cardinals.  It has also been signed and supported by leading Evangelical Protestants such as James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Chuck Colson, Dr. Timothy George, and Jim Daly. 

Additionally, prominent Orthodox clerics and theologians have signed as well.  With almost half a million signatures from lay Christians, the Manhattan Declaration sent out an email to all supporters calling on them to contact Rep. John Boehner and Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor to voice their dissent in the resent abandonment of social issues from the party platform. 

The Republican Party has not issued any official edicts with regard to what issues will take precedent in the November elections.  Recent addresses from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and leading Republican members of Congress have focused on the economy, jobs, the healthcare bill, and other issues that do not address the country's moral compass or critical moral and social issues.  Christian religious leaders are worried that the final agenda will lack clear positions on these issues and that the Republican Party will move the way the Democratic Party has in recent years and focus on issues which can be construed as somehow "safe" and of a purely "civic" nature.

Abortion, abstinence education, empowering the family, and religious liberty have been important issues to Republicans, but in recent months they have become weak on mainstays traditionally used to unify their base.  With all of the attacks on the ability of Christians to live out their faith publicly, many question the tactic of speaking to other issues instead.

Republicans voiced little-to-no negative reaction when the Mojave Desert cross was stolen off of a war memorial, or when crosses were removed from a Utah memorial to fallen Highway Patrol officers.  In both cases the memorials were paid for and maintained by private citizens with private funds.  In fact, in Utah, the crosses were removed not because of opposition from local citizens or family members of the police officers, but as a result of a suit filed by a Texas-based atheist group. 

These violations of religious liberty invoked less reaction from Republicans than did the threat by a Florida pastor to burn the Koran.  Republicans were vocal in opposition to violations of religious liberty against Muslims, but for Christians, who comprise most of their base, they have not been as adamant or outwardly concerned.

The most overt move towards federally legalizing, and protecting, the judicially manufactured "right" of homosexuals to "marry" came from Federal Judge Vaughn Walker.  Judge Walker ruled that there was no legitimate reason to prevent homosexuals from marrying, and hence overturned California's Proposition 8, which was a voter-approved state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. 

Republicans were astoundingly silent in their dissent to Judge Walker's opinion.  Only religious leaders came forward to defend what they called a violation of Natural Law and the integrity of the family. 

After instances such as these, and the presumed removal of moral issues from the Republican platform, many wonder, is the Republican Party abandoning the heart-and-soul of their constituency?  Voting Christians who are Republicans are overwhelmingly in agreement on their desire to end abortion, define marriage as between one man and one woman, protect religious liberty, and so on. 

So what is the strategy behind moving to less "sticky" issues?  A move away from the traditional main-stays of the party platform seems imprudent, especially given their 9-point lead on Democrats (according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll).

The American Principles Project issued a press release making their position known and asked the Republican Party to not forget the moral causes that mean so much to Christian Americans.  Dr. Robert George,  Dr. Timothy George, and Chuck Colson, co-architects of the Manhattan Declaration, asked their signers to contact Republican leaders, which many did, and asked Republicans to reconsider their current path. 

For many, the Republican Party stands as the last major political party upholding pro-life values, authentic marriage, and religious liberty as foundational to every other issue, whether it's of a civic or moral nature.  Unless Republicans make moral and social issues more prevalent in their long list of priorities, more frustration and dissent can be expected from Christians who make up much of their  base. 

-----

Billy Atwell contributes to Catholic Online, and blogs for The Point and the Manhattan Declaration. From the perspective of a two-time cancer survivor he encourages those afflicted with pain and struggling with faith. You can find all of his writings at For the Greater Glory.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Supreme Court justice Sotomayor warns about drones encroaching on American way of life Watch

Image of Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that she's particularly troubled by the potential for commercial and government drones to compromise personal privacy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unmanned surveillance planes called drones pose a threat to the privacy of American citizens, warns Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. Speaking to students at Oklahoma City University's law school, Sotomayor says that frightening changes in technology ... continue reading


Obama says Islamic State 'is not Islamic' - what are they, then? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama vowed to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria, He intends to do so with airstrikes and a minimal military presence on the ground. The president also declared that the Islamic State terrorists "are not Islamic." ... continue reading


Obama vows to attack Islamic State militants 'wherever they exist' Watch

Image of There has been some progress made against the group. After more than 150 U.S. airstrikes in Iraq in the past month, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have halted the Islamic State advance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has vowed to attack Islamic State militants "wherever they exist." Obama will be sending a limited U.S. military presence of 475 personnel. The president also declared that the United States will act in concert with a broad coalition ... continue reading


Opinion: We Need a Blue Collar Conservative like Rick Santorum in the 2016 Presidential Campaign Watch

Image of Rick Santorum is not an establishment candidate. He threatens establishment leaders in both major political parties. he has always played the role of the underdog and been counted out by the many self professed experts. That is one of the greatest assets he would bring to the 2016 Presidential campaign. He has the potential to draw voters from across party lines and help to forge a new governing coalition which can resuscitate the American dream and set us on a course to brighter future. I sincerely hope he runs.

By Keith A. Fournier

Rick Santorum is a statesman in an age of salesmen - and women. He is a man with a chest.  I will be watching his movements over the next few months. If he decides to run, and I hope he does, he will bring along with him into his presidential campaign a ... continue reading


Pelosi favors sweeping regulations to save net neutrality and ban Internet 'fast lanes' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an unpopular stand for many Republicans, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she wants to give federal regulators sweeping new powers over Internet access. It's a necessity in order to save net neutrality and protect Internet users, she says. ... continue reading


READY TO STRIKE: President Obama prepared to use airstrikes in Syria Watch

Image of President Obama believes he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president recently.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From admitting that he had no policy in regards to Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama is now ready for some clear decisive action. The president says that he is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria in order to defeat the militant jihadist group ... continue reading


Real cost of Obamacare - 350,000 jobs loss and premium hikes for small businesses Watch

Image of Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, Obamacare has taken a toll on small businesses. According to a new study, there have been millions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs. In short - many ... continue reading


More emails 'lost' connected to Lois Lerner case Watch

Image of IRS teacher Lois Lerner, who was placed on leave and has since retired, has emerged as the key figure in congressional investigations.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the most recent development, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS says it has lost emails from five more employees' part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Team Clinton turns on Obama! Foreign policy in new book dismissed as 'feckless' Watch

Image of A scathing new book from a member of Team Clinton takes President Obama to task for an unfocused foreign policy.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The honeymoon appears over between top U.S. Democratic alliances, the Clintons and the Obama administration. A member of the Clinton kitchen cabinet is out with a new book that slams U.S. policy as "muddled, irresolute, and even feckless." Doug Schoen's takes ... continue reading


Is hummus too fatty? First lady Michelle O's diet plan driving kids away from school lunches Watch

Image of As championed by Michelle Obama, the new school diet plan is fraught with loopholes.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

First lady Michelle Obama has rolled up her sleeves and launched a campaign against childhood obesity by devising a diet that eliminate high-fat foods from school lunches . The trouble is, kids find the approved school lunches too bland and are seeking ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
12 For as with the human body which is a unity ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:11-17
11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 16th, 2014 Image

St. Cornelius
September 16: Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter