For Jerusalem, the new platform has been brought into line with the Obama administration’s policy of not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and supporting its division. Jerusalem is unmentioned in the 2012 document, whereas the 2008 and 2004 Democratic Party platforms declared “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The Obama administration’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem has been a point of significant controversy in recent months.
On the issue of Palestinian refugees, the new document has removed language from the 2004 and 2008 platforms specifying that Palestinian “refugees” should be settled in a future Palestinian state, not in Israel.
The 2004 platform: “The creation of a Palestinian state should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”
The 2008 platform: The peace process “should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”
The 2012 platform contains no language on the matter.
Gone as well is the language from 2008 on the terrorist group Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip. That platform declared, “The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”
The 2012 platform contains no mention of Hamas.
According to a copy of the party platform, which was released online just before midnight on Monday, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”
That last part–“regardless of ability to pay”–is an endorsement of taxpayer-funded abortions, a policy that President Obama has personally endorsed. Obama wants Medicaid to pay directly for elective abortions, and Obamacare will allow beneficiaries to use federal subsidies to purchase health care plans that cover elective abortions.
This is the paragraph that was in the 2008 platform:
“We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
Now the words “God-given” have been removed. The paragraph has been restructured to say this:
“We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.
Platforms are only as good as the people who run, anyway, so none of these things really come as a shocker given the current leaders in the Democratic Party. But moves like this only further call into question how more and more people who claim to be Democrat and Christian reconcile the two. This is not a political blog. I have another one of those that I almost never post to due to time constraints. But as a Catholic, politics is part of the reality we live within, and it is potentially the greatest challenge to our faith. We are constantly being asked to move the needle on how our faith responds to the political world. Many good Democrats declared themselves members of that Party decades ago due to legitimately debated issues that did not run contrary to our faith. Over the course of a generation or two, they have held onto some of those issues and even elevated their importance while rationalizing away the importance of issues that are contrary to the faith.
Problem: Had people of faith long ago resisted these incremental moves and demanded that they keep what they like about the Democratic Party while demanding Pro-Life Candidates, among other things, then maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today.
But we are. And it is a sad state of affairs.
Thanks to the complicitness of people of faith in allowing these evil positions on moral issues to take root as valid politics in the name of protecting union interests, pocketbooks, and other potentially valid issues, the left has been emboldened to push the envelope. This year’s platform is as close to “all-in” on the immoral side of the issues of our time as any Platform has ever been from a major party. Even the “moral” arguments are done from a socialistic point of view. There is not a call to arms for family and charity to step up the aid to fellow human beings, there is a call for forced assistance through the centrality of government. Some may view this as a type of Christian charity, but when those who most promote it are loathe to do so in the name of Christian charity (with some exceptions where it is seemingly politically expedient to do so) then there’s a problem.
And in the end, here is my frustration… I STILL hear people – even those whom I respect and enjoy in the blogosphere or among friends – who will suggest that there is “no difference” between the two candidates. Generally when I hear this it’s because they are lamenting one particular issue. A couple examples would be as follows: (1) Everyone wants Osama dead and seems happy enough to brag about kiling him. No difference. (2) Neither party ever does anything about the Death Penalty. No difference. (3) Both parties overspend. No difference.
Sure, it’s true that on issue #1 we seem to have reached some strangely uncomfortable level of celebrating the death of an enemy. Probably not appropriate, I’ll admit. So, the one party led the assault and the otehr says they’d have done the same. If you find this lamentable, I get it. So we’ll call that issue a tie and they both fail. On issue #2, it’s pretty much the same. There may actually be a slight difference here in favor of the left, but for the life of me I can’t find any discernible evidence to suggest it matters. And this is a legitimate question for Catholics as well, unlike issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. So, the weight of any difference here is miniscule. #3 is absolutely true, but there is still a matter of degree and a matter of what the money is spent on, and as bad as the GOP record is, this Administration’s record is worse, and currently there is only one party that is at least talking about taking the hard steps as part of the campaign – something I’m not sure I ever remember before.
So I get it. But let’s not go overboard and stop thinking here. Read the Democratic party platform and then read the GOP platform. Look at the speakers at hte Democratic Convention versus the speakers at the GOP convention. Compare the openness of sentiments of (OK, this will be a judgment call) genuine allusions to God and faith as part of the construction of principles and policy between the two.
In my opinion, anyone really being honest with themselves will see that – despite some unfortunate similarities in areas where we wish there were not – there is still a huge difference. I am not talking about tax and fiscal policy, nor am I talking about foreign policy. Those are issues we can all discuss and disagree about without running afoul of Church teachings (though some will erroneously suggest otherwise). I am talking about the very moral fabric of our society being torn asunder.