Cleveland, Ohio, Jul 19, 2016 / 15:26 pm
The detailed platform adopted by the Republican Party this week received mixed reactions among Catholics for its positions.
It was an "extremely conservative platform" in the words of Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), co-chair of the platform committee, "one that, as I said in my comments on the floor here, upholds our moral tradition."
Among many issues, the 54-page statement of the party's beliefs calls for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, asks for more restrictions on refugee resettlement in the U.S., defends marriage as between one man and one woman, calls for the passage of pro-life legislation, and even includes paragraphs calling pornography a "public health crisis."
The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List called the platform "the most pro-life platform ever," noting how it pushed for bans on late-term abortions, sex-selective abortions, and disability abortions, and advocated for the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal tax dollars from directly funding abortions.
Tom McClusky, the vice president of the March for Life who worked in the drafting of the pro-life plank of the platform, told CNA it was "the most detailed platform we've ever seen," noting that "just about every single piece of pro-life legislation that is currently out there, it is mentioned in the platform."
"There is some concern with the person at the top of the ticket," he said, noting the importance of "having a platform that we could lean back on to hold him accountable."
The platform also took a strong right-wing stand on immigration. After acknowledging the contributions of legal immigrants to American society, it called for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the entry of undocumented immigrants into the United States.
"We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it," the platform said.
It also advocated for a mandatory use of the E-Verify system nationwide, as well as a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for attempted re-entry into the U.S. by someone who has been deported for illegal immigration. So-called "sanctuary cities" should be denied federal aid, it said.
The platform also called for changes to the guest worker program. "In light of the alarming levels of unemployment and underemployment in this country, it is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year," it stated.
Jeanne Atkinson of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network expressed her concerns with the immigration plank to CNA.
"Immigration is about people and families and communities, not about walls, and punitive and damaging enforcement measures," she said. "Immigrants actually create jobs and strengthen our economy."
She noted the section's first paragraph, which commended "immigrant labor building our country and making vital contributions in every aspect of national life."
"That's really what the focus should be," she insisted, "that emphasis should be throughout the rest of the document"