The Democratic Party Platform contains just one reference to “God,” and the inclusion of that single reference was famously booed by many delegates at the Democratic convention. In contrast, the Republican Party Platform contains 12 references to “God,” and candidate Romney has emphatically stated, “I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.” Does this make the GOP the party of God?
The Democratic Platform certainly stands in stark contrast with the Republican Platform. The former is radically pro-abortion, endorses same-sex marriage, and is decidedly weak on Israel. The latter is strongly pro-life, in favor of natural, organic marriage, and unashamedly pro-Israel.
All this is readily seen in Liberty Counsel’s Voter’s Guide, which contrasts 10 categories in both platforms: Abortion and Human Life; Family Values; First Amendment, Liberty, and Responsibility; ObamaCare; Gun Rights; Fiscal Reform; Israel as an Ally; Government Oversight; Judiciary; Word Use Comparisons.
Starting with the last category, as already noted, the Democratic Platform (from here on DP) used the word “God” once; the Republican Platform (from here on RP) spoke of “God” 12 times. But is this more semantics than substance? Apparently not.
The DP did not mention the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. The RP condemned them.
The DP did not mention the protection of individual conscience in healthcare; the RP explicitly supported it.
The DP did not mention the right to publicly display the Ten Commandments; the RP explicitly endorsed it.
The DP favored the so-called Fairness Doctrine; the RP opposed it.
The DP did not encourage abstinence-only education for teens; the RP encouraged it.
The DP did not mention the enforcement of laws against pornography and obscenity; the RP did.
The DP did not support a constitutional amendment that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, nor did it support the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); the RP supported both.
The DP did not mention euthanasia and assisted suicide; the RP opposed both.
The DP supported taxpayer-funded/subsidized abortion; the RP opposed this.
The DP did not mention the Human Life Amendment in defense of the unborn; the RP supported it.
And Romney continues to ratchet up the God talk, stating, “I will not take God out of the public square,” and “we are [a] nation under God.” But that does not mean that the Republican party is the party of God. Not by a long shot.
Both parties have more than their share of cronyism, compromise (if not outright corruption), ungodly alliances, hypocrisy, blind spots, and poor role models. It would be a terrible mistake to invoke some kind of divine sanctity on the Republicans. (For the record, it would also be a terrible mistake to think that there are no godly Democrats out there.)
To be perfectly clear, as a religious conservative, I strongly support the GOP Platform when it comes to family, life, and Israel. And I find it interesting that individuals, religious organizations, and political parties which invoke God and the Bible as authorities tend to be pro-life, pro-traditional family, and pro-Israel (which does not necessarily mean anti-Palestinian). In contrast, individuals, religious organizations, and political parties which either marginalize God and the Bible or reject the plain sense of the Scriptures tend to be pro-abortion, in favor of same-sex marriage, and anti-Israel (or, at least, not strongly pro-Israel).
And I do understand why conservative pundits have referred to the “godless Democrats” and why conservative politicians have runs ads highlighting the Democratic “booing of God.” But even if many (or most) Democrats are “godless,” that does not mean that the Republicans, for the most part, are godly, nor should we look at them as the Party of God. (For the conservative Christians reading this, do you think God would appoint a Mormon to head up his party?)
Let’s not forget how many Republican candidates have used “God language” to win the votes of conservative Christians (especially evangelicals) only to disappoint those very voters once in office.
Let’s not forget that marriage was redefined in New York State because four Republican senators caved in. (It’s true that the bill was driven and supported by Democrats, but the Republicans certainly failed to hold the line.)
Let’s not forget that the Republican Party of Massachusetts has not embraced the national platform as its own.
And let’s not forget the fundamental error we make when we exaggerate the goodness and godliness of a large and diverse political party.
Without a doubt, the Republican Platform is far closer to conservative Judeo-Christian values than is the Democratic Platform, but let’s not get carried away. The only true, political “party of God” is sitting in heaven right now. Here on earth, the political scene is mixed, and the ones calling themselves the “party of God” are groups like Hezbollah. (In case you didn’t know, that’s what Hezbollah means in Arabic.)
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.