Let the games begin. No, I am not talking about the Olympic Games which will begin on August 3, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rather, I am referring to our two political conventions (RNC and DNC) I was watching during my recent vacation. If you view each spectacle independent of the other, you would think that the opposing candidate was either preparing for role as the messiah or the devil incarnate. Take your pick. Truth be told, both candidates are flawed (and Jesus already came to earth as messiah). What then should be the basis of my vote for president?
I have a novel idea. Let's see what the individual party platform actually says and compare it to where our church teaching is on the most vital of Issues. The Republican Party has a 54 page party platform which you can obtain from: www.gop.com. The Democratic Party's platform consists of a 51 page document which you can obtain from: www.demconvention.com.
- First of all, the Catholic Church teaches that all human life is to be respected from conception until natural death. Abortion, infanticide and euthanasia are all grave sins against human life. What do the political parties say on this issue?
The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.
We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.
Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment. We condemn and will combat any acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. We will defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no-cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.
- Regarding the sanctity of marriage, the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman as designed by God for the expression of love and the begetting of children.
Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman . . . Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society. For that reason, as explained elsewhere in this platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.
Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people—like other Americans—have the right to marry the person they love . . . Democrats will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people. We will also fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, to guarantee equal rights in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, jury service, education, and federal funding.
Yes, there are more issues to consider--but these two are vital. Respect for human life from conception and the sanctity of marriage are non-negotiable Church teachings.
I hope that I have sparked your interest regarding policy and urge you to do some research regarding official church teaching on the various issues.
Fr. Ed Namiotka