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Final Republican platform has strong religious freedom plank


MICHELLE BAUMAN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
8/29/2012

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ABSTRACTFinal Republican platform has strong religious freedom plank :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Final Republican platform has strong religious freedom plank By Michelle Bauman Tampa, Fla., Aug 29, 2012 / 01:58 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- The U.S. Republican Party included a significant section on the importance of religious freedom in its new official platform, adopted on Aug. 28 in Tampa, Fla. “We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government,” stated the 2012 Republican platform, which was formally approved at the party’s national convention on Tuesday. The party explained that its positions respect “God-given individual rights,” including the freedom “of every American to follow his or her beliefs.” The importance of religious freedom can be seen in its prominent placement in the “first provision of the First Amendment,” the platform said. It quoted the American founders, who believed that religion would be a critical element for the nation’s success because “democracy presupposes a moral people.” The document also warned of current attempts to push religion “out of the public square,” seen most prominently in efforts to force religious institutions and individuals to abandon their deeply held beliefs regarding health care, marriage and abortion. This “forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations” has been made more dangerous by “the current Administration’s audacity in declaring which faith-related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment,” it said. Chief among religious freedom concerns in America is a federal mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance that includes contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences. The Republican Party officially approved language supporting “the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty.” It further supported the right of citizens and faith based organizations to fully participate in public life without sacrificing their convictions, and it called for increased conscience protection for healthcare professionals. The party also embraced protecting religious liberty overseas. It vowed to emphasize advocacy for this fundamental freedom and praised the work of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In another area of concern to values voters, the 2012 Republican platform affirmed “the sanctity of human life” and endorsed a “human life amendment” to the U.S. Constitution.  The party opposed the public funding of organizations that perform and promote abortions, both domestically and internationally, as well as euthanasia, assisted suicide and early abortion-inducing drugs. It encouraged “a ban on human cloning” and called for stem cell research “without the destruction of embryonic human life.” Arguing that health care coverage should be extended “to children before birth,” the platform also applauded legislative efforts to restrict abortion and promote adoption and other life-affirming options for those facing difficult pregnancies. While explaining that “all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity,” the Republican Party also called for the defense and protection of marriage. It.......