The other Republican platform

The other Republican platform

Although much publicity has been given to the 2008 Republican Party platform, the news media have taken little notice of another platform that came out of this year's GOP national convention: John McCain's platform.

On the last day of the convention each delegate was given a glossy, 8½ by 11 document containing John McCain's platform. McCain so strongly opposed certain planks in the party platform that he published his own platform.

Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family Action's Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy, described the party platform as "the strongest Republican Party platform in living memory. I believe it's even stronger and more pro-life than the 1980 platform under Ronald Reagan's first campaign." He referred specifically to the planks on life, marriage, and religious symbols.

The following table contains excerpts of those platform planks in both platforms:

Plank Party platform McCain platform
Life: abortion1 Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all 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 we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.
Life: stem cell research2 ... we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases – with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells &endash; without the destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes. John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of "fetal farming," making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes.
Marriage3 Because our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it. In the absence of a national amendment, we support the right of the people of the various states to affirm traditional marriage through state initiatives. As president, John McCain would nominate judges who understand that the role of the Court is not to subvert the rights of the people by legislating from the bench. Critical to Constitutional balance is ensuring that, where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts must not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question.
Religious symbols4 The public display of the Ten Commandments does not violate the U.S. Constitution and accurately reflects the Judeo-Christian heritage of our country. We support the right of students to engage in student-initiated, student-led prayer in public schools, athletic events, and graduation ceremonies, when done in conformity with constitutional standards. (This appears to be missing from the McCain platform.)
  1. Under the headings "Maintaining The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life" and "Overturning Roe v. Wade"
  2. Under the headings "Funding Medical Research" and "Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology"
  3. Under the headings "Preserving Traditional Marriage" and "Protecting Marriage"
  4. Under the heading "Safeguarding Religious Liberties"

The main differences can be summarized as follows:

  • McCain opposes a federal right-to-life amendment (protecting preborn babies as persons under the 5th and 14th amendments).
  • McCain supports embryonic stem cell research (so long as the embryos were not created for the specific purpose of research).
  • McCain opposes a federal marriage amendment (protecting marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman).
  • McCain apparently does not consider "Safeguarding Religious Liberties" worthy of a plank in his platform.

The absence of a "Safeguarding Religious Liberties" plank fits well with McCain's record. He reportedly has a legendary temper and uses foul and obscene language, including misusing the name of God. On the other hand, McCain refused to help Gordon James Klingenschmitt when he fought to pray in Jesus' name as a Navy chaplain. When the chaplain walked into Senator McCain's office on Capitol Hill, two of his liberal staffers told him he should water down his prayers and stop praying in Jesus' name. See " 8 reasons I won't vote for John McCain."

For the complete platforms, see the following Web sites:

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