QUESTION OF THE WEEK: WHAT DO THE
PARTY PLATFORMS SAY ABOUT ISSUES
IMPORTANT TO CHRISTIANS? -- AND
OTHER ITEMS IN THE NEWS
Based on the amount of print space and air time
devoted to it -- the top news item this week is the
same as last week: a national political convention.
This week it has been the Republican convention
in St. Paul, Minnesota.
This evaluation of last week's Democrat convention
from Jonathan Garthwaite in Townhall.com is worth
noting: "Even with Joe Biden by his side, Roman
pillars surrounding him, and Bill and Hillary
behind him, the Barack Obama at Mile High was
the same inexperienced, liberal radical we have
always known him to be. No amount of rock
concert lighting, Broadway stagecraft, lofty
rhetoric - or even fireworks -- will change that."
Or this from John LeBoutillier in Newsmax.com:
"The speech just ended, and my immediate
reaction is that Obama is the weakest link in an
otherwise fantastically smooth-running campaign
operation. Sure, he gives/reads a speech well;
but the speech itself says very little." But that
convention is now past history -- but was
unquestionably marked by great oratory.
Neither convention offered any surprise; we
knew who the Vice President nominees were --
Joe Biden for the Democrats and Governor Sarah
Palin for the Republicans. The Republicans at their
convention did not have star attractions like Ted
Kennedy and the two Clintons to feature, and had
to make do with a presentation of conservative
ideas and ideals which set them apart from their
more liberal opponents. But the Republicans never
had in mind as expensive and spectacular a show
as the Democrats put on.
And the Republican convention was interfered with
by Hurricane Gustav, preventing President Bush
from being there in person to speak to the delegates,
but doing so by video. The gravity of the natural
disaster of Gustav, and looming international threat
of Russia's aggression in Europe, presented an
opportunity on Thursday for John McCain to speak
on the serious dangers confronting America and the
world in direct contrast to Barak Obama's mantra
of "change" in his coronation speech amid all the
show business glamor and pyrotechnic highlights
just a week ago.
But the abbreviated Republican convention did
hear from First Lady Laura Bush, and her potential
successor Cindy McCain, and even from the former
Democrat, but now Independent Senator Joe.
But out of both conventions came the respective
platforms upon which the election will be contested.
These platform provisions are definite and are
absent the hype which characterized both of the
conventions. These are the issues upon which the
parties will base the upcoming campaigns to elect
their candidates. In other words the platforms
represent what you will be voting for when you cast
your ballot for Republican or Democrat candidates.
Political party platforms are lengthy and massive
documents. We shall not in any way attempt to
reproduce them in full, but will limit our review to
a brief presentation of their stated positions on a
few issues which are of particular concern to
Here are a few of those subjects randomly selected
-- on Abortion the Republican platform includes
these words, "We assert the inherent dignity and
sanctity of all human life and affirm that the
unborn child has a fundamental individual right
to life which cannot be infringed." By contrast,
the Democrat platform includes these words, "The
Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally
supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to
choose a safe and legal abortion ... and we
oppose any and all efforts to weaken or
undermine that right."
On Marriage, the Republican platform: "Because
our children's future is best preserved within
the traditional understanding of marriage, we
call for a constitutional amendment that fully
protects marriage as a union of a man and a
woman... A Republican Congress enacted the
Defense of Marriage Act [N.B.- signed into law
by President Clinton] affirming the right of states
not to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in
other states." Again, by contrast, the Democrat
platform: "We support the inclusion of all families
in the life of our nation, and support equal
responsibility, benefits and protections...We
oppose the Defense of Marriage Act ."
On Religious Liberty, the Republican platform:
"We affirm every citizen's right to apply
religious values to public policy and the right
of faith-based organizations to participate in
public programs without renouncing their
beliefs." The Democrat platform, "We will
restore vigorous federal enforcement of civil
rights laws in order to provide every American
an equal chance of employment, housing,
health, contracts and pay."
By way of summary: The Republican platform
opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, and
supports the religious freedom provided for in
the Bill of Rights. The Democrats support and
endorse abortion and same-sex marriage, and
have pledged to remove the Defense of Marriage
Act, and their stance on religious liberty is based
on civil rights principles. The choice for Christians
is obvious. In making this decision, one would do
well to remember the email message from Barack
Obama to CBN in which he said: "Whatever we
once were, we're no longer just a Christian
nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim
nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and
a nation of nonbelievers." In one sentence he
wiped out our nation's Christian heritage which was
established by our founding fathers.
Nancy Pelosi vs the Catholic church: although
claiming to be a Roman Catholic who boasts that
she regularly receives communion despite Catholic
doctrine which would deny communion to those who
support abortion -- Nancy Pelosi accuses the
church of being wrong, and argues that her opinion
is right. Archbishop Charles Chaput was firm in
meeting Ms. Pelosi's arguments: "Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant
of strong convictions, and many professional
skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history
and teaching does not seem to be one of them."
Other Catholic authorities agreed: Cardinal Justin
Rigali said that Pelosi "misrepresented the history
and nature of the authentic teaching of the
Catholic Church against abortion," and added,
"Since the first century the Church has affirmed
the moral evil of every procured abortion. This
teaching has not changed and remains
unchangeable." Washington Archbishop Donald
Wuerl affirmed, “As the Catechism and early
Church documents make clear, abortion is
always an evil. That is an unchanging teaching."
New York Cardinal Edward Egan said that Pelosi
and others who defend abortion "should not be
providing leadership in a civilized democracy."
The Rev. Thomas Reese, at Georgetown University
Theological Center concluded, "It is a big mistake
for politicians to talk theology." And not only is
Speaker Pelosi in trouble with the church; Senator
Biden will not be permitted to speak at Catholic
schools, even if elected Vice President. (Ruling of
the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, to which Biden
No Founding Fathers quote this week; instead
we offer this comment from Chuck Colson, founder
of the Prison Fellowship: "The Bible is the rock on
which the Church stands or falls. The texts were
written with meticulous care, based on
manuscripts accumulated over the centuries
before Christ—and then, by faithfully recording
the apostles' teaching. Archeological discoveries
are mounting, supporting the Bible's historicity.
No book has ever been so challenged nor found
so reliable." - from "Breakpoint," Aug. 29, 2008
A Few Random Afterthoughts . . .
For what it's worth, Forbes.com published this
week a list of the "100 Most Powerful Women"
in the world. At. No. 1 is Angela Merkel, German
Chancellor. At random places in the list of 100 are
these familiar names: No. 7, Condoleezza Rice; No.
28, Hillary Clinton; No. 35, Nancy Pelosi; No. 36,
Oprah Winfrey; No. 44, Laura Bush; No. 58, Queen
Elizabeth II; and No. 72, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It
is of interest that the USA led all nations, with 50
names out of the top 100.
Obama vs free speech: Members of Barack
Obama’s campaign HQ in Chicago tried to shut
down a local show on the city’s most powerful
radio station, WGN, because they didn’t like a
conservative guest who was scheduled to discuss
Obama’s ties to local terrorist William Ayers. One
strange aspect of the attempt to stifle free speech is
that WGN is conceivably the most liberal station in
the Chicago, strongly supporting Obama's campaign.
If this can happen just during an election campaign,
it makes one wonder what sort of oppressive climate
an Obama presidency would impose on the country?
A small group increasingly heard from: the
total number of atheists in this country seems to be
in the range of 2% - 5% of the US Population,
and agnostics approximately the same. Yet they
seem to have a voice far beyond their numbers.
The organization, "Freedom from Religion" has
been sponsoring billboards in various US cities,
and now in Phoenix, AZ, with the message:
"Imagine No Religion." The co-president
of the sponsoring organization said that to date
they have encountered little opposition to the
billboards. We have come so far from the nation
America started out to be.