2012 Major Party Platforms

Author: EWTN

The Non-Negotiable Principles of the Moral Law and
The Moral Theology Tradition on Voting


The Three Non-Negotiable Principle of the Moral Law versus the 2012 Party Platforms

The Moral Theology Principles on Voting

The Three Non-Negotiable Principles of the Moral Law
according to Pope Benedict XVI1

1.  Life. The protection and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. The framework within and against which every other issue must be measured.

2012 Democratic Platform2

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” (p. 18)

“President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans” (p. 18)

2012 Republican Platform3

“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. 13-14)

“We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage.” (p. 13-14)

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. (p.13-14)

2.  Marriage & Family. The primacy of the family as the first cell of society. The protection and honor given to the faithful marriage between a man and a woman and the family built upon it.

2012 Democratic Platform

“We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.” (p. 18)

 “We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act” (p. 18)

2012 Republican Platform

“Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act” (p. 10)

“We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts.” (p. 10)

“We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” (p. 10)

3.  Authentic human freedom. Includes the first freedom, religious freedom. Bound by truth and exercised within a moral framework.

2012 Democratic Platform

“America’s leadership extends beyond our economic prosperity and military might—it is also rooted in our enduring commitment to advancing a core set of universal values. These include an individual’s freedom to speak their mind, assemble without fear, have access to information, worship as they please, and choose their own leaders. They also include dignity, tolerance, and equality among all people, and the fair and equitable administration of justice. The United States was founded upon a belief in these values, and people of every race, region, and religion around the globe have claimed these principles as their own.” (p. 29)

“The President and the Democratic Party believe that women have a right to control their reproductive choices. Democrats support access to affordable family planning services, and President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans.”(p. 17)

“Gay Rights as Human Rights. Recognizing that gay rights are human rights, the President and his administration have vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct or ignore abuse. Under the Obama administration, American diplomats must raise the issue wherever harassment or abuse arises, and they are required to record it in the State Department’s annual report on human rights. And the State Department is funding a program that finances gay rights organizations to combat discrimination, violence, and other abuses.” (p.31)

2012 Republican Platform

“The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration’s attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion. This forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations, including faith-based hospitals and colleges, has been in tandem with the current Administration’s audacity in declaring which faith-related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment – an unprecedented aggression repudiated by a unanimous Supreme Court in its Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC decision.” (p. 12)

“We support 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.” (p. 34)

“It has been shunted aside by the current Administration at a time when its voice more than ever needs to be heard. 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. We will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in our diplomacy.” (p. 52)

1 Pope Benedict XVI, Address to a European Parliamentary Group, 30 March 2006.
2 Democratic Platform
3 Republican Platform

The Moral Theology Tradition on Voting

Since the Church's moral teaching, like her doctrinal teaching, is simply believed and taught until challenged by erroneous opinions, only over time has the Magisterium explicitly spoken on various aspects of it (e.g. contraception, abortion , euthanasia, etc.). It is normally simply handed on through catechesis, seminary formation, and in particular the common teaching of moral theologians over generations. The following resources represent that consensus.

Moral Duties Concerning Voting, Mr. Colin B. Donovan, STL (may be freely duplicated)

A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters, Rev. Stephen Torraco (may be freely duplicated)

Catholics in the Public Square, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix

Forming Consciences for Fathful Citizenship, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Participation of Catholics in Political Life, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Legal Recognition of Unions Between Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the CDF

Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), Blessed John Paul II (cf. especially para. 73)