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

Why did Obama lie to the American people about ISIS? Watch

Image of Obama blamed his failure on ISIS on the intelligence community.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama has found someone to blame for the rise of the Islamic State, and it's the intelligence community that supports him. According to Obama during a 60 Minutes interview, the intelligence community failed to warn him of the rise of the Islamic State. LOS ... continue reading


From the Values Voter Summit: Values, Citizenship and Hope Watch

Image of The birth certificate of this nation was called a Declaration of Independence because it declared independence from an unjust civil ruler. It did not declare independence from a just God.

By Keith A. Fournier

I write from Washington DC where I have been participating in the Values Voter Summit cosponsored by numerous organizations, associations and alliances dedicated to the moral values which ensure a truly free society. I was invited to participate by my friend, a ... continue reading


As the Election Season Begins, Time for a New Christian Social Movement Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

As the political season in the United States of America moves into full gear with the midterm elections opening up into the 2016 presidential campaign, my mind turns again to political and social participation. I will attend the Values Voter Summit this weekend ... continue reading


Too hot in the kitchen? Eric Holder resigns Watch

Image of Eric Holder may be fleeing the heat he's feeling for his refusal to cooperate with Congress.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eric Holder is preparing to announce his resignation as attorney general, following a five-and-a-half year stint fraught with controversy. WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Eric Holder, 63, will be announcing his resignation as attorney general after more than five ... continue reading


'The alarm bells keep ringing' says Obama at climate change summit in New York Watch

Image of Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was among the hundreds of international leaders and spokespeople who attended the global climate change summit held in New York.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During the United Nations Climate Summit meeting in New York on September 23, President Obama appealed to the international community to make greater strides towards creating and enforcing carbon caps, explaining that climate change is happening at a faster pace ... continue reading


Rockefellers to sell investments in fossil fuel to switch to 'clean energy' Watch

Image of From left to right: Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, the chair of the fund, and Steven Rockefeller, a son of Nelson Rockefeller and a trustee of the fund, in New York, Sept. 16, 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a bold move that illustrates just how far climate change has reached the public's consciousness, heirs to the Rockefeller family have announced that they intend to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy. The announcement is a ... continue reading


CAN'T KEEP UP: So many employees leaving Department of Homeland Security, it poses risk to U.S. Watch

Image of The vacating of those in top management positions in the Department of Homeland Security has helped slow the rollout of key cybersecurity initiatives.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS has seen an exodus of employees over the past four years. According to officials, this is leaving the United States open to potential terrorist strikes and cyber-attacks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Employees ... continue reading


Shell game in Kansas - why Democrats don't have to win Kansas to win the Senate Watch

Image of Independent investor Greg Orman seems to have the advantage in the newly-reshaped senate race.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The race for Senate in Kansas may suddenly be the most crucial contest in the nation as Republicans scramble to protect their longtime incumbent, Bob Dole is back on the campaign trail, Democrats are being as quiet as possible about not having a candidate, and a ... continue reading


Are they on to something? Judicial Watch says terrorists are operating in Mexico Watch

Image of Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat who represents El Paso in the U.S. House of Representatives, called the area offices of various government agencies in response to a report that Middle Eastern terrorists were operating across the border in Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Judicial Watch, a controversial Web site that maintains that Middle Eastern terrorists are operating just cross the border from the United States from Mexico is evidently stirring up waves. Federal law enforcement sources in El Paso, Texas say that a United ... continue reading


CLOTHES HORSE: Wasserman Schultz losing confidence among Democrats Watch

Image of Stylish  Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman has alienated members of her own party by reportedly demanding that the party pick up the tab for her wardrobe!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two "faux pas" have alienated Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from her party. Her criticism of the White House's handling of the border crisis and comparing tea party members to abusive husbands have alienated her constituency at ... 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, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... 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