For two weeks, Republicans and Democrats alike had a chance to tout their candidates and push the platforms they think Americans should focus on for the Nov. 8 election—now less than 100 days away.
After all of the drama and provocative headlines that came out of Cleveland and Philadelphia, Southern Evangelical Seminary is boiling down the issues important to voters and how each party stands on those issues, according to the platforms announced at the conventions.
"It is a travesty to divide the gospel into a social gospel and a spiritual gospel," said Dr. Richard Land, president of SES and an evangelical leader. "It is a whole gospel to meet the people's spiritual and physical needs. It is blasphemous to seek to feed the hungry and not tell them about the bread of life, or to house the homeless and not tell them that in our Father's house are many mansions, or to clothe the naked and not tell them about the whole armor of God, or to give water to the thirsty and not tell them about the rivers of living water. But it is a denial of the incarnation of our Savior to share the gospel witness and ignore the fact that people are hungry, homeless, naked and thirsty."
Land, who is also a member of Donald Trump's executive, non-endorsing board to provide advisory support on moral issues, recently penned a post for the SES blog "Why Do You Believe?," which outlines the RNC and DNC stances on the following:
- Pornography (DNC did not release information on this topic)
- Religious Liberties
- LGBT Issues
- Marriage, Family and Society
- Federal Debt
- Immigration and Rule of Law
- Independent Conscience in Health Care (DNC did not release information on this topic)
- Gun Rights and 2nd Amendment
- Human Trafficking
"As Americans prepare to cast their votes in November," Land said, "they can see for themselves what the two parties say they believe about the various issues in their own words."
Land added that the GOP's party platform is the most conservative ever—a reflection of the delegates' convictions and values. On his daily radio feature, "Bringing Every Thought Captive," heard on nearly 400 stations nationwide, Land recently discussed with listeners the platform issues over several days, and continues to do so.
"Regarding protecting human life, the recently adopted Republican platform says, '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.' The Fourteenth Amendment, of course, guarantees equal protection under the law."
Land added that what the late Pope John Paul II called the culture of death has escaped the womb, invaded the nursery, progressed to the nursing home and the intensive care unit. The Republican platform declares, "We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food or water, from individuals with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirmed, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide."
The Republican platform, Land said, further calls on Congress "to ban sex-selection ... abortions and abortions based on disabilities—gender discrimination in its most lethal form."
"While the GOP platform is perhaps the most pro-life platform the party has ever adopted, the 2016 Democratic Party platform could not be more opposite in its stance," Land continued. "The Democrats declare that 'every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion. ... We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. ... 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.'
"The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 and upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1980," Land added, "and it prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment of the life of the mother. This is the first time the Democrats have officially called for repealing the Hyde Amendment, thus forcing all Americans to pay for abortions with federal tax money. Such a platform confirms in many people's minds that the Democratic Party has now never met an abortion they couldn't live with. I am sure the millions of unborn children who have been aborted would remind them the unborn children couldn't live with any of them because they died and the abortion stopped their beating heart."
For the first time ever, the GOP platform mentions the tremendous personal and social dangers associated with hardcore internet pornography, insisting that misguided efforts to protect freedom of speech must not result in the internet becoming a "safe haven for predators. Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions," the platform contends. "We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children's safety and well-being."
Said Land, "As Judith Shulevitz points out in a column in The New York Times, before liberals dismiss this issue, perhaps they should consider what the ubiquity of internet porn means for those 66 million American parents with children under the age of 18. She continued in the column, 'It's bad enough that (pornography) is giving our sons and daughters some very creepy ideas about how they are supposed to look and act.'
"What she is talking about, of course," he continued, "is that children younger than 12 (the average age of exposure to hard core pornography now for an American child is 11) are being exposed to incest, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, sadomasochistic issues, and sex between adults and children. It is mind-boggling the electronic cesspool that is out there. Consider the challenge that parents face in trying to keep their children from being exposed to this moral and spiritual toxic waste with all of the tragic consequences that often follow. It is indeed a terrible public menace, and I am grateful that the GOP has finally addressed it. The Democratic Party platform fails to mention the issue at all. Their silence is deafening."
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