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 January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Scott Walker enters the 2016 Republican nomination ring with speech attacking Obama's failed policies Watch

Image of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave a speech in Iowa, a move which may put him in the running for the Republican nomination.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may have been the first Republicans to make it clear-though still unofficial-that they intend to run for the Republican nomination in 2016, but ... continue reading


Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney hold summit meeting: Are they plotting election strategy? Watch

Image of There have been stories in a number of outlets that Jeb Bush proposed the meeting weeks ago, in order to thank Mitt Romney for his past party leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are having a summit meeting. The meeting will be in Utah. Speculation swirls about what the meeting will entail. Some GOP party officials hope "the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns ... continue reading


An average of 27 late-term abortions happen every day in the United States; the bill to protect the unborn from this cruel pain was dramatically dropped by the GOP Watch

Image of 10,000 babies are killed each year through late-term abortions.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An estimated 10,000 unborn babies are killed each year through late-term abortions. This averages out to 27.4 abortions taking place 20 weeks or later per day or 1.14 per hour, according to the Congressional Budget Office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pain ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Pope Francis, Politics, and Catholic Social teaching Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone - Fidelity to the Gospel requires that we be able to prophetically challenge the positions of all political parties, and that our loyalty to Christ and his teaching supersedes our loyalty to any political party, although such loyalties are not per se incompatible with being a Christian.

By Matt C. Abbott

It remains true that the right to life is the most fundamental right and that the duty to defend it is a more urgent priority than other social justice priorities. But to what extent that fact helps or hurts a political party depends upon the party, and his ... continue reading


President Obama fiercely hits the country with proposed $320 billion tax hike, explained in his annual State of the Union Watch

Image of Obama plans on spending his remaining two years in office helping the middle class experience the prosperity of the recovery.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two years before President Obama's departure, he has vowed to spend his remaining time "playing offense." In his annual State of the Union, Obama will address his proposal to increase tax hikes on America's "one percent." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Parts ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder denounced as 'coward' and 'hypocrite' by former FBI agent Watch

Image of A former FBI agent says that Attorney General Eric Holder has used the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former FBI agent K. Dee McCown, who left the agency in 2008, has written a strong letter to Attorney General Eric Holder where McKown denounces Holder as a "coward" and a "hypocrite." McCown says he was compelled to write after the shooting deaths of two New ... continue reading


President Christie? New Jersey governor builds PAC for 2016 run Watch

Image of New Jersey Governor Christ Christie is likely seeking to run for president in 2016, setting up a political action committee that may be up and running as soon as February.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's actions have already made it abundantly clear that he intends to run for president in 2016, but the most recent sign from the Republican should silence all deniers. Christie is organizing a political action committee which ... continue reading


Romney gears up: Campaign staff mobilizes as 2016 presidential election approaches Watch

Image of Mitt Romney is making noises that hint strongly to a bid for president in 2016, entering a ring that is filled with numerous, divisive Republican candidates.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Despite numerous polls showing that he had backing from the majority of Republicans and conservatives and requests from several high profile Republicans, Mitt Romney spent all of 2014 claiming that he was not considering running for president a third time in ... continue reading


Where's Obama?: Top leaders of the world march together in Paris to stand up against terrorism, U.S. leaders skip out Watch

Image of High profile officials from the United States did not attend the historic march on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 in Paris.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heads of states from around the world put their differences aside and came together in Paris to denounce terrorism and the recent terrorist attacks. More than 40 top leaders walked side-by-side during this historical march. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ... continue reading


Obamacare Report: Health premiums will soar, coverage pulled from millions Watch

Image of Citing the law's wording, the case, called King v. Burwell, is scheduled for arguments on March 4. A ruling is due by the end of June.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More and more, Obamacare is just another bad idea. Case in point: A Supreme Court ruling has struck down federal subsidies for health insurance. This will remove coverage from millions of people who currently have it. According to two new reports issued last ... 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, Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:22-30
22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 26th, 2015 Image

St. Timothy
January 26: Born at Lystra, Lycaenia, Timothy was the son of a Greek father ... 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