6 Democratic Party Platforms That Will Interest Christians

Hillary Clinton
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledges supporters during a campaign rally, where she received the endorsement of U.S. President Barack Obama (R), in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., July 5, 2016. |

Leaders on the Democratic Platform Committee met in Orlando last week to approve the final draft of the 2016 Democratic Party Platform, finalizing a platform process that the party itself calls the "the most representative and inclusive in history."

For some, including Brooking Institution's William Galston, the 2016 final draft signifies a "sharp left turn" for the party platform and indicates that Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party "is not Bill Clinton's Democratic Party."

The platform supports a number of proposals supported by both Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee, and her main competitor in the primaries, the self-proclaimed "Democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders.

Below are six takeaway's from the draft of the Democratic Party Platform.

1. Calls to repeal ban on taxpayer funding of abortion

According to the draft dated July 1, the Democratic Party will not only seek to fight Republican efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of its over $500 million in annual federal funding but will also "seek to overturn" state and federal laws that "impede a woman's access to abortion, including the Hyde Amendment."

The Hyde Amendment, which has been routinely attached to yearly appropriations bills since 1976, prohibits certain taxpayer funds, primarily from the the Department of Health and Human Services, from being used to fund abortion procedures.

The move has caused concern for a number of Democratic Senators, including West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania's Bob Casey. Manchin even went as far as to call the idea "crazy."

On Wednesday, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List, opined that the platform's call to repeal the Hyde Amendment could divide or create a "rift" in the party.

"Is tax-funded abortion on-demand suddenly the new litmus test for the Democrats? Or, I think, the more important question, will this insistence upon taxpayer funding for abortion up until birth end up dividing them, losing votes for them, providing a catalyst for a realignment along the lines of the Reagan Democrat movement?" Dannenfelser asked during a press conference. "I believe that it is the latter. We have seen it coming."

2. Supports nuclear agreement with Iran

While many critics of the nuclear agreement the Obama administration made last year with the Islamic Republic of Iran argue that it puts the United States and its ally Israel in positions of weakness and makes the countries less safe, the Democratic platform draft states that the party will stand behind the deal and support it on the basis that it is "vigorously enforced."

"We support the nuclear agreement with Iran because, if vigorously enforced and implemented, it verifiably cuts off all of Iran's pathways to a bomb without resorting to war," the draft of the platform states. "We reject Donald Trump's view that we should have walked away from a deal that peacefully dismantles Iran's nuclear program. We will continue the work of this administration to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon and will not hesitate to take military action if Iran violates the agreement."

However, Fox News reports that the first anniversary of the historic deal has been "marred" by reports of "massive Iranian violations of the agreement."

3. Amendment to name Israel an occupier rejected

According to The Jewish Weekly, an amendment was proposed to the platform committee that would have called for an end to Israel's "occupations and illegal settlements" on Palestinian land. However, the amendment was reportedly rejected by members pledged to Clinton who led the opposition to the amendment.

The July 1 draft opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

"A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism," the draft reads. "That is why we will always support Israel's right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement."

4. Support parents' rights to opt their kids out of standardized testing

According to the Washington Post, an updated platform backs the rights of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing, which stands against efforts by the Obama administration to put an end to the opt-out movement. Additionally, the draft opposes the use of scores for high-stakes evaluations.

"We oppose high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities and English Language Learners as failing, the use of standardized test scores as basis for refusing to fund schools or to close schools, and the use of student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, a practice which has been repeatedly rejected by researchers," the Post quoted the platform as reading. "We also support enabling parents to opt their children out of standardized tests without penalty for either the student or their school."

5. Free tuition to in-state colleges for families making less than $125,000/year

Like something out of the Bernie Sanders playbook, The Nation and other outlets like the Washington Post have reported that the party adopted education proposals that include free higher education for many families.

According to the Post, families that make under 125,000 per year will get free tuition to in-state public colleges. The Nation reports that the $125,000 cutoff would mean that about 83 percent of American families would receive free tuition.

6. Calls for the abolition of the death penalty

"We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment," the July 1 draft states. "It has no place in the United States of America."

According to NBC News, this is the first time the Democratic platform has called for the end to the death penalty.

To show how far the party has come on this issue, former President Bill Clinton defended the use of the death penalty in a Democratic debate in 1992. He was quoted as saying that the Democratic party "should no longer feel guilty about protecting the innocent."

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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