26-September-2012 -- Catholic News Agency |

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Christian Leaders Praise Romney, Republican Platform

(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=25739)

DENVER, COLO., September 25 (CNA) .- A diverse group of 28 Christian leaders has sent a letter to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney praising him for the social policies included in the Republican Party's 2012 platform.

"On those matters of social policy that address our deepest concerns-the sanctity of human life, compassion for the downtrodden and persecuted, the identity of the family, and religious freedom, the Republican platform speaks clearly and powerfully," the letter says.

The group also says the platform demonstrates the principles that will guide his administration if Romney is elected president.

The letter includes selections of the platform which its signatories particularly admire.

The Republican Party's "compassion for the downtrodden and persecuted" is exemplified in the letter by its allegiance to ending religious persecution overseas, to ending human trafficking, and a commitment to non-discrimination.

The letter applauds the defense of conscience and religious freedom in the platform, as well as the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The letter also focuses on the moral principles in the Republican platform, which are "squarely within the Judeo-Christian tradition" and are "at stake in today's society."

Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are thanked for running on a platform which is a "political compass" in the "confusing moral thickets of our day."

The signers encourage support for Romney even though there may be "differences in a candidate's theological doctrine." This is despite the fact that "some have tempered their enthusiasm" for the Mormon candidate. Government policy is the issue, the letter says, not theology.

The letter is signed by 28 Christian leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, and includes the organizations to which each of the individuals belongs.

The Catholic signatories include Leonard Leo of The Catholic Association; Raymond Flynn, US Ambassador to the Vatican under President Clinton; Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life; and Deal Hudson of The Catholic Advocate.

They are joined by Anthony Lauinger of National Right to Life; Peggy Hartshorn of Heartbeat International; Jim Daly of Focus on the Family; and Tony Perkins of Family Research Council.

Also signing were Frank Wright of National Religious Broadcasters and Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life.

The full text of the letter is as follows.

Mitt Romney
Romney for President
585 Commercial Street
Boston, MA 02109

Dear Governor Romney,

In this election year, matters of religious belief are once again highly visible in the public square. Some have tempered their enthusiasm for sound governing principles by their concern over differences in a candidate's theological doctrine. It is time to remind ourselves that civil government is not about a particular theology but rather about public policy, and the question we ask is this one: what are the policy principles that will govern your administration should you prevail on Election Day.

For that answer we must look to the Republican platform, the document that most clearly defines your principles, and those of your party, on a wide range of topics. Among them are those that derive from Biblical truth, an important source of our nation's political philosophy. As you know, this year the platform proposals received hearty debate and intense scrutiny by Republican delegates from every state just prior to the party convention in Tampa. The platform was adopted resoundingly and embraced wholeheartedly by you and your running mate Paul Ryan.

>From our perspective as leaders who are motivated by Christian faith,
>it is a remarkably strong document and we congratulate you for it. On
>those matters of social policy that address our deepest concerns - the
>sanctity of human life, compassion for the downtrodden and persecuted,
>the identity of the family, and religious freedom, the Republican
>platform speaks clearly and powerfully. Its principles
are squarely within the Judeo-Christian tradition, and we affirm the compelling words that convey its positions. Here are some of them:

Sanctity of Human Life

"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children ... (p. 14)"

"We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy (p.14)."

Defense of Marriage

"A serious threat to our country's constitutional order ... is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States ... It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.
"That is why Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions ... We affirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of states which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so. (p. 10)."

Religious Freedom

"The Republican Party includes Americans from every faith and tradition, and our policies and positions respect the right of every American to follow his or her beliefs and underscore our reverence for the religious freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of our nation and of our party. (p. 9)."

"We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government ... we assert every citizen's right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices (p.12)."

Religious Persecution

"To those who stand in the darkness of tyranny, America has always been a beacon of hope, and so it must remain ... Religious minorities across the Middle East are being driven from their ancient homelands, fanaticism leaves its bloody mark on both West and East Africa, and even among America's Western friends and allies, pastors and families are penalized for their religious convictions. A Republican Administration will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in our diplomacy (p. 45)."

Human Trafficking

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln, we are reminded to be vigilant against human bondage in whatever form it appears. We will use the full force of the law against those who engage in modern-day forms of slavery, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children and the forced labor of men, women, and children (p.46)."

Non-discrimination

"... We consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral. We will strongly enforce anti-discrimination statutes and ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance (p.9)."

"The Republican Party includes Americans from every faith and tradition, and our policies and positions respect the right of every American to follow his or her beliefs and underscore our reverence for the religious freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of our nation and of our party. (p. 9)."

These then are some of the concepts in the Republican platform that speak to the moral principles at stake in today's society. No such document will satisfy everyone, and its enactment will only be as vigorous as the political leaders we elect. Nonetheless, the platform is a strong statement of social principles, and we encourage everyone to judge it for themselves (it is available at http://whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform/). In the confusing moral thickets of our day, this is a political compass that provides clear and sharp direction, a guide that is sorely needed by our country's office holders. Once again we congratulate you and the Republican Party for your diligent work in producing the 2012 platform.

Cc: Reince Priebus, Chairman
Republican National Committee

Signed by the following as individuals (affiliations listed for identification purposes only)

Raymond Ruddy
President, Gerard Health Foundation

Tom Minnery
Executive Director, Citizen Link

Margaret H. ("Peggy") Hartshorn, Ph.D.
President, Heartbeat International

Jonathan Falwell
Thomas Road Baptist Church

Kristan Hawkins
President, Students for Life of America

Ralph Reed
President, Faith and Freedom Coalition

Leonard Leo
Director, The Catholic Association

Anthony Lauinger
Executive Vice President, National Right to Life

Joel Belz
Founder, World Magazine

Dr. Jack C. Willke, MD
President, Life Issue Institute

Joseph A. Brinck
President, Sanctity of Life Foundation

James Bopp, Jr.
The Bopp Law Firm

Raymond L. Flynn
Former Mayor of Boston and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican

Andrea S. Lafferty
President, Traditional Values Coalition

Rev Louis P. Sheldon
Chairman and Founder, Traditional Values Coalition

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
President, National Pro-life Religious Council

Dr. Alveda King
Director, African American Outreach Priests For Life

Tim Wildmon
President, American Family Association and American Family Radio

Penny Young Nance
President, Concerned Women for America

Jim Daly
President, Focus on the Family

Deal Hudson
The Catholic Advocate

Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council

Franklin Graham
President, Samaritan's Purse

Gary Bauer
President,
American Values

Allen & Leslee Unruh
Alpha Center & National Abstinence Clearinghouse

Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Chancellor and President, Liberty University

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President NHCLC Hispanic Evangelical Association

Frank Wright, Ph.D.
President and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters

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