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 October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Why does Obama want doctors overworked and underpaid? Watch

Image of An astounding 25% of all active physicians in America are refusing to participate in Obamacare.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An incredible number of doctors nationwide are refusing to participate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama's largest and most decisive act while in the White House. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than 214,000 doctors nationwide will not ... continue reading


Democrats are expected to hurt as Republicans sweep through Congress and local legislatures Watch

Image of Republicans are expected to cement their majority in the House of Representatives, while in the Senate they are expected to gain a majority.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The 2014 Midterm election may give Republicans a historic opportunity to take control of a record number of state legislatures across the country, made possible by America's increasing dissatisfaction with President Obama and Democrats-who have been eager to ... continue reading


THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC IS DEAD - The new way politicians take bribes and cut you out of politics Watch

Image of The American Republic has been destroyed after decades of apathy and corruption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Political corruption in the United States has never been worse. Although members of Congress are not allowed to accept bribes or gifts, they have found a loophole in their own laws they exploit to cash in. Instead of being bought directly, members of Congress, as ... continue reading


Children in world's most affluent countries plunged into poverty after crisis Watch

Image of Budget cuts have had a negative impact on children, particularly in Mediterranean countries, such as Italy, Greece and Portugal.

By Karrie Kehoe, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The global economic crisis has plunged 2.6 million children into poverty in the world's most affluent countries, with children in Ireland, Latvia and Greece among the hardest hit, a new UNICEF report showed. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Increases in child ... continue reading


Black Democrats turn against Obama in powerful video. It's not the Republicans or the Tea Party -- it's predatory blacks Watch

Image of Blacks are tired of promises and corruption. The problem is black leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Black Chicago activists have criticized Obama and other black leaders, saying that every black community across the country is being used by Democrats. "Folks are in an abusive black leadership relationship," one angry man said in the clip. "My life has been hurt by ... continue reading


Another six states now recognize same-sex marriage after Supreme Court ruling Watch

Image of The U.S. government has recognized same-sex

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The federal government has continued to increase its recognition of same-sex marriage, granting protected status and extending federal benefits to couples in six more states. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Attorney General Eric Holder announced the news on ... continue reading


Pew Research reveals Latinos growing as a group, but political power is low Watch

Image of A Pew Report shows that Latinos are weakly represented in the current midterm.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When viewed by the numbers, Latinos are becoming an important demographic in American politics. While Latinos have always been an important group in the American cultural tapestry, only recently have their collective numbers risen to make them a substantial political ... continue reading


Will the Bush legacy live on with Jeb? Or will painful memories haunt the family and the GOP? Watch

Image of While many may be wary of another Bush candidacy, it appears the whole Bush clan is behind a Jeb Bush 2016 bid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The 2014 midterm is right around the corner, but already rumors are rumbling about the roster of potential 2016 presidential candidates. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While many Republicans want, or have thought highly of, Mitt Romney running for a third time, ... continue reading


Comrade Hillary Clinton astounds - says businesses don't create jobs Watch

Image of Clinton's claim was delivered during a speech for Martha Coakley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton has stunned listeners with the amazing proclamation that corporations and businesses don't create jobs. This leaves many Americans to wonder where their jobs came from instead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At a rally in Boston, Hillary Clinton ... continue reading


More people than ever before renouncing their United States citizenship Watch

Image of The growing number of renunciations by U.S. citizens and permanent residents is linked to a five-year enforcement campaign against U.S. taxpayers who have undeclared offshore accounts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With 776 names on the Treasury Department list published last week for the third quarter of 2014, more people than ever before have renounced their citizenship in the United States. There are substantial numbers of people to renounce their U.S. citizenship or end ... 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, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... 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