7 Republican Party Platforms That Will Interest Christians
As Republican Party leaders met this week in Cleveland to draft and approve amendments to the party's platform, many headlines have surfaced about the proposed additions.
The New York Times is saying that the draft of the Republican Party Platform "goes far to the right," by taking conservative and traditionalist stances on issues such as abortion, sexual orientation change effort (SOCE) therapy, military combat and even the teaching of the Bible in public schools.
Below are seven takeaways from the reported draft of the Republican Party platform that are of particular interest to conservative Christians. The official 2016 Republican Party Platform will not be adopted until next week at the Republican National Convention.
1. Drops quest for amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman
According to a first draft of the GOP platform, CNN reports that the platform would no longer call for an amendment to the United States Constitution that identifies marriage as being between one man and one woman. Instead, it simply has a section on the importance of a "married mom and dad."
"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," the draft reads.
With the Supreme Court ruling last June to constitutionally redefine marriage to include same-sex couples and strike down state bans against gay marriage, the 2016 platform instead states its opposition to the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and states the party's belief that marriage is an issue that should be decided by the states.
2. Supports legislation to protect gay marriage objectors from government backlash
According to the Family Research Council, the party also adopted an amendment to officially support the First Amendment Defense Act, legislation that would prevent federal agencies from being able to take "discriminatory" action against individuals and institutions who act in accordance with their religious convictions on marriage.
One of the main things this bill aims to do is protect Christian institutions from losing their tax-exempt statuses or federal grants and funds because they operate in accordance with their biblical understanding of marriage.
Although FRC President Tony Perkins, a member of the GOP platform committee, played a role in helping to pass the FADA amendment to the platform, FRC recently announced that it is no longer supporting the legislation because it has been "weakened" in Congress by a change in the language that would further a "two views" approach to marriage.
3. Wants to prohibit publicly funded adoption agencies from giving custody to gay couples
According to The Hill, a measure was passed that would keep publicly funded adoption agencies from being able to grant custody of children to same-sex parents.
While up for consideration, the measure was opposed by Annie Dickerson, an adviser to billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer, who called the measure "blatant discrimination."
"We need children to be adopted, so hooray to the gay community for trying to raise children in a happy and stable home," Dickerson, who has adopted children, said. "I object to allowing patent discrimination against gays over the right to adopt."
4. Calls to repeal ban on church politicking
The draft of the platform calls for the end to a 62-year law that prevents churches and other 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations from engaging in the political arena, Time reported.
According to the Johnson Amendment from 1954, churches can lose their tax-exempt status if they make any political endorsements or engage in political activities.
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump vowed to repeal the Johnson Amendment when he met with over 900 evangelical leaders in New York City on June 21.
"After 30 years of the so-called conservative leaders who have been elected by evangelicals, none of them thought to advocate for the repeal of the Johnson amendment, giving evangelical leaders political free speech," Liberty University President and Trump endorser Jerry Falwell Jr. told Time. "He thinks it is going to be a revolution in the Christian world."
5. Supports parents' rights to decide what is best for their children
According to Time, Perkins proposed an amendment that was passed through the platform subcommittee on health care, education, and crime and eventually passed through the full committee that recognizes parents' rights to help their children struggling with same-sex attraction with therapy they deem appropriate.
"We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children," the amendment says.
That same amendment also calls for legislation that would require parents to be consented before a minor can cross state lines and obtain an abortion.
6. Labels pornography a "public health crisis"
One platform amendment that will please anti-porn lobbyists asserts that pornography is "destroying the life of millions." The measure was proposed by North Carolina delegate Mary Frances Forrester and urges for the "energetic prosecution of child pornography."
"Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions," CNN quotes the measure as saying. "We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children's safety and wellbeing."
7. Wants to allow the teaching of the Bible in public schools
The Washington Post reports that an addition to the platform that was passed encourages public high schools to teach elective courses about the Bible.
GOP officials who spoke with the Post said they are not looking to instill Christianity in public schools but are trying to ensure that students have the opportunity to get acquainted with the influential religious text.
"This is not designed to teach religion in the schools as a means of proselytizing," Perkins told the Washington Post. "You can't really fully understand the American form of government and society without some understanding of the Bible."