The 2004 Party Platforms
|By: ATRI Research Staff; ©2004|
|In this article, we will take a look at four issues in the 2004 Democratic
and Republican Party Platforms that are of particular interest to Christian voters: Israel and the formation of a Palestinian State; abortion; stem cell research; and the legalization of same-sex marriage.
- 1 The 2004 Party Platforms — Comparison of Statements on Issues of Interest to Christian Voters
- 2 I. The Security of Israel; The Formation of a Palestinian State
- 3 II. Stem Cell Research; Abortion
- 4 III. Same-Sex Marriage; The Marriage Amendment
- 5 One Last Word to Christian Voters
- 6 Notes
The 2004 Party Platforms — Comparison of Statements on Issues of Interest to Christian Voters
I. The Security of Israel; The Formation of a Palestinian State
|The Democratic Party is fundamentally
committed to the security of our ally Israel and the creation of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors….We support the creation of a democratic Palestinian state dedicated to
|We support President Bush’s vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. However, as he observed in his remarks of June 24, 2002, for such a vision to become a reality, Palestinians need a new leadership, not compromised by terror. Like all other people, Palestinians
deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices. If Palestinians embrace democracy and the rule of law, confront corruption, and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a Palestinian state. The Bush Administration has been clear about the obligations
To help Christians understand the issues involved in the formation of a Palestinine state, and it’s relationship to Israel’s security, we present a portion of an interview Dr. Ankerberg held with Jimmy DeYoung, a journalist who has lived in Isreal for nearly 15 years.
Will a Palestinian State help Israel?
- Dr. John Ankerberg: If a demilitarized Palestinian state does come into existence, hook or crook, somewhere up ahead, should Israel and should the world rely on it?
- Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, you know, I think that’s almost an oxymoron: a “demilitarized” Palestinian state. I don’t see how that’s ever going to come to existence, because the philosophy of the Palestinian people and their leadership is, “We’re going to have our own independence and our covenant”—the Palestinian Covenant—calls, in 36 places, 36 clauses, “get rid of the Jewish state. Get rid of the Jewish people here in the Middle East.” So, I don’t think that’ll ever happen. They talked about it, but talk is cheap. Are they going to have a demilitarized Palestinian state there anyplace? I don’t think they’re going to sit still. I mean, I can’t imagine any Palestinian leader, if Yasser Arafat is off the scene, any other potential leaders coming to power and saying, “Okay. Lay down your weapons. We’re not going to have any military force.” Well, hey, listen, that’s what the Oslo Accords called for. It called for 18,000 policemen, Palestinian policemen, to police their people–not to be a military operation. Now, I’ve driven by–maybe you have, too, John–Jericho, where that camp to train those Palestinian policemen is located down there. They weren’t training them as I know some of the city police are trained. They were training to be military operatives, and that number, 18,000, grew to about 60,000 and they were Yasser Arafat’s personal military operation. And many of those Palestinian policemen were the ones, members of Fateh, members of the al-Aqsa Brigade, these terrorist groups who perpetrated the violence and the suicide bombing and all of that on the Jewish people.
- So, I’m not sure how you could ever have a demilitarized Palestinian state. I think it would just be a lie. Could we rely upon them? Absolutely not. You can’t trust them.
Will the PLO change their charter, dropping the mandate to eradicate Israel?
- Ankerberg: Henry Kissinger in his weekly syndicated column in the New York Post has joined a growing list of prominent Americans and Israelis who have publicly now called on the PLO to change 30 of the 33 clauses in the PLO National Covenant that called for the destruction of Israel or that urge violence against Israel. Now, Kissinger is simply saying this, and I’m going to quote him: “Dropping from the PLO charter the mandate to eradicate Israel is symbolically important, which is the reason why the PLO’s delay in carrying out this commitment is so disquieting.” Actually, in 1993 they told the world they were going to change the charter; they haven’t done it yet. Kissinger says, “No such changes have been made nor has the PLO specified which particular articles will be changed or when they will go into effect. By leaving the covenant intact [the PLO charter] the PLO is sending a clear message that it has not renounced violence nor accepted Israel’s right to exist.” Jimmy, what is going on with the PLO? Why haven’t they changed the charter? Do you think they intend to?
- DeYoung: I don’t believe they intend to. The reason they have not changed it, that is still their goal—to eliminate the Jewish presence in the Middle East through armed struggle. Right here in my file I have a copy of the Palestinian Covenant, and in my file also in my office I have a copy of a letter that Yasser Arafat sent the first week of September in 1993 promising Yitzhak Rabin, 1.) he would denounce terrorism; 2.) he would do everything he could to get rid of terrorism in the Middle East and in particular Israel, and 3.) he would change the Palestinian Covenant taking out those clauses in question. In this last year, they have had a meeting of the PNC, the Palestinian National Council. The purpose was, propagated to the world anyway, that they were going to come together and change the Palestinian Covenant. At the conclusion of that meeting, Shimon Peres, who was the Prime Minister, announced to the world the most historic event in the last 100 years had taken place because the Palestinians had changed the Palestinian Covenant. President Bill Clinton, based upon that statement, invited Yasser Arafat to Washington, DC to be his special guest in the White House. This man who is the world’s best-known terrorist, responsible for more Jewish blood on his hands than any other man since Adolf Hitler, responsible for over 1,000 Palestinian deaths, those deaths coming at his command, this man was a guest of the President of the United States propagating to the world that they had changed the covenant. And as I speak, and as Henry Kissinger gives us evidence, that Palestinian Covenant has not been changed because their intentions are still the same: they want to wipe out the Jewish presence in the Middle East.
II. Stem Cell Research; Abortion
|Stem Cell Research
President Bush has rejected the calls from Nancy Reagan, Christopher Reeve and Americans across the landfor assistance with embryonic stem cell research. We will reverse his wrongheaded policy. Stem cell therapy offers hope to more than 100 million
Americans who have serious illnesses–from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson’s. We will pursue this research under the strictest ethical guidelines, but we will not walk away from the chance to save lives and reduce human suffering.
|Stem Cell Research
Republicans have supported, and will continueto support, important scientific research without undermining the fundamental ethical principles that have guided medical research in this country for decades. We especially welcome and encourage a stronger emphasis on adult stem cell and cord blood stem cell research, which has already provided benefits to hundreds of patients and provides real promise for treatments to help millions
of Americans.We recognize that President Bush made a carefully considered decision to allow federal funding for stem cell research for the first time, and did not affect stem cell research in the private sector. We strongly support the
President’s policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to encourage the future destruction of human embryos.
Because we believe in the privacyand equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand
firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time,
we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be
safe, legal, and rare.
As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say 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 it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life….In signing the partial birth abortion ban, President Bush reminded us that “the most basic duty of government is to defend the life of the innocent.
Since the embryonic stem cell research and abortion both get into the issue of when life begins, we will deal with them together. Below, we present scientific evidence that life begins at conception.
What does modern science conclude about when human life begins?
The scientific authorities on when life begins are biologists. But these are 0ften the last people consulted in seeking an answer to the question. What modern science has concluded is crystal clear: Human life begins at conception. This is a matter of scientific fact, not philosophy, speculation, opinion, conjecture, or theory. Today, the evidence that human life begins at conception is a fact so well documented that no intellectually honest and informed scientist or physician can deny it.
In 1973, the Supreme Court concluded in its Roe v. Wade decision that it did not have to decide the “difficult question” of when life begins. Why? In essence, they said, “It is impossible to say when human life begins.” The Court misled the public then, and others continue to mislead the public today.
Anyone familiar with recent Supreme Court history knows that two years before Roe V. Wade, in October 1971, a group of 220 distinguished physicians, scientists, and professors submitted an amicus curiae brief (advice to a court on some legal matter) to the Supreme Court. They showed the Court how modern science had already established that human life is a continuum and that the unborn child from the moment of conception on is a person and must be considered a person, like its mother. The brief set as its task “to show how clearly and conclusively modern science—embryology, fetology, genetics, perinatology, all of biology—establishes the humanity of the unborn child.” For example, “In its seventh week, [the pre-born child] bears the familiar external features and all the internal organs of the adult…. The brain in configuration is already like the adult brain and sends out impulses that coordinate the function of other organs…. The heart beats sturdily. The stomach produces digestive juices. The liver manufactures blood cells and the kidneys begin to function by extracting uric acid from the child’s blood…. The muscles of the arms and body can already be set in motion. After the eighth week… everything is already present that will be found in the full term baby.” This brief proved beyond any doubt scientifically that human life begins at conception and that “the unborn is a person within the meaning of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.”
In fact, prior to Roe v. Wade, nearly every medical and biological textbook assumed or taught that human life begins at conception. That human life
begins at conception was an accepted medical fact, but not necessarily a discussed medical fact. This is why many textbooks did not devote a discussion to this issue. But many others did. For example, Mr. Patrick A. Trueman helped prepare a 1975 brief before the Illinois Supreme Court on the unborn child. He noted,
- We introduced an affidavit from a professor of medicine detailing 19 textbooks on the subject of embryology used in medical schools today which universally agreed that human life begins at conception… those textbooks agree that is when human life begins. The court didn’t strike that down—the court couldn’t strike that down because there was a logical/biological basis for that law.
Thus, even though the Supreme Court had been properly informed as to the scientific evidence, they still chose to argue that the evidence was insufficient to show the pre-born child was fully human. In essence, their decision merely reflected social engineering and opinion, not scientific fact. Even during the growing abortion debate in 1970, the editors of the scientific journal California Medicine noted the “curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extrauterine until death.”
Even 25 years after the abortion revolution that politicized scientific opinion, medical texts today still often assume or affirm that human life begins at conception. For example, Keith L. Moore is professor and chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. His text, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, is widely used in core courses in medical embryology. This text asserts:
- The processes by which a child develops from a single cell are miraculous. Human development is a continuous process that begins when an ovum from a female is fertilized by a sperm from a male. Growth and differentiation transform the zygote, a single cell… into a multicellular adult human being.
The reference to the “miraculous processes in a purely secular text is not surprising. Even a single strand of DNA from a human cell contains information equivalent to a library of 1,000 volumes. The complexity of the zygote itself according to Dr. Hymie Gordon, chief geneticist at the Mayo Clinic, “is so great that it is beyond our comprehension.” In a short nine months’ time, one fertilized ovum grows into 6,000 million cells that become a living, breathing person.
Further, medical dictionaries and encyclopedias all affirm that the embryo is human. Among many we could cite are Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Tuber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, and the Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health, which defines the embryo as “the human young from the time of fertilization of the ovum until the beginning of the third month.”
In 1981, the United States Congress conducted hearings to answer the question, “When does human life begin?” A group of internationally known scientists appeared before a Senate judiciary subcommittee. The U.S. Congress was told by Harvard University Medical School’s Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, “In biology and in medicine, it is an accepted fact that the life of any individual organism reproducing by sexual reproduction begins at conception….”
Dr. Watson A. Bowes, Jr., of the University of Colorado Medical School, testified that “the beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter—the beginning is conception. This straightforward biological fact should not be distorted to serve sociological, political or economic goals.”
Dr. Alfred Bongiovanni of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School noted: “The standard medical texts have long taught that human life begins at conception.”
He added: “I am no more prepared to say that these early stages represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty… is not a human being. This is human life at every stage albeit incomplete until late adolescence.”
Dr. McCarthy De Mere, who is a practicing physician as well as a law professor at the University of Tennessee, testified: “The exact moment of the beginning [of] personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception.”
World-famous geneticist Dr. Jerome Lejeune, professor of fundamental genetics at the University of Descarte, Paris, France, declared, “each individual has a very unique beginning, the moment of its conception.” Dr. Lejeune also emphasized: “The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.”28
The chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics at the Mayo Clinic, Professor Hymie Gordon, testified, “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”29
He further emphasized: “now we can say, unequivocally, that the question of when life begins… is an established scientific fact…. It is an established fact that all life, including human life, begins at the moment of conception.”30
At that time the U.S. Senate proposed Senate Bill 158, called the “Human Life Bill.” These hearings, which lasted eight days, involving 57 witnesses, were conducted by Senator John East. This Senate report concluded:
- Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being—a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.31
In 1981, only a single scientist disagreed with the majority’s conclusion, and he did so on philosophical rather than scientific grounds. In fact, abortion advocates, although invited to do so, failed to produce even one expert witness who would specifically testify that life begins at any other point than conception.32
Many other biologists and scientists agree that life begins at conception. All agree that there is no point of time or interval of time between conception and birth when the unborn is anything but human.
Professor Roth of Harvard University Medical School has emphasized, “It is incorrect to say that the biological data cannot be decisive…. It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when the egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and that this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life.”33
In conclusion, we agree with pioneer medical researcher, Landrum B. Shettles, M.D., Ph.D., that, “There is one fact that no one can deny; human beings begin at conception.”34
Again, let us stress that this is not a matter of religion, it is solely a matter of science. Scientists of every religious view and no religious view—agnostic, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, Christian, Hindu, etc.—all agree that life begins at conception. This explains why, for example, the International Code of Medical Ethics asserts: “A doctor must always bear in mind the importance of preserving human life from the time of conception until death.”35
This is also why the Declaration of Geneva holds physicians to the following: “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”36 These statements can be found in the World Medical Association Bulletin for April 1949 (vol.1, p. 22) and January 1950 (vol. 2, p. 5). In 1970, the World Medical Association again reaffirmed the Declaration of Geneva.37
What difference does it make that human life begins at conception? The difference is this: If human life begins at conception, then abortion is the killing of a human life. The same can be said for the methods used to harvest embryonic stem cells, which results in the destruction of the embryo.
To deny this fact is scientifically impossible.38
III. Same-Sex Marriage; The Marriage Amendment
|We support full inclusion of
gay and lesbian families in the life
|We strongly support President Bush’s call for a
Constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage,
Why should Christians be concerned about the push to legalize gay marriage in America? Dr. Ankerberg spoke with Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family to find out.
Why do we need the Federal Marriage Amendment to protect marriage in the states? Do the American people, as a whole support same-sex marriage?
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Okay, so the question I want to talk to our people about is, we’ve seen this happening in Canada; we’ve seen it happen in Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Belgium. Now we’re debating the topic here in America, and where are we at in the debate?
- Let’s start with the fact that before Massachusetts did their thing and found this constitutional right and they started okaying gay marriages in Massachusetts and a bunch went there, went back to the states, before that even took place, some of our other states, I think at least 33 of them, they, the state legislatures saw this coming, and the state legislatures said, “Let’s pass laws that says if any other state pulls the trigger and they make it legal in their state for people to be married, this constitutional phrase, namely if you do something in one state it should be accepted in the other states, it’s not going to happen here in regards to same-sex marriage.”
- So 33 of them passed what is called a Defense of Marriage Act, saying if some state pulls the trigger, it will not be legal here. Okay. Five other states actually voted on it.
- Glenn Stanton: Right.
- Ankerberg: Tell us the states because this is really something here.
- Stanton: Well, it’s an overwhelming majority of states that have done this and have said— and it’s exactly because of this threat—that if some other state legalizes same-sex marriage, people get married there and then come back to their home state and try to force a change among all the rest of us, we want to have it codified in our law that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. And only a few of these states have done it constitutionally. All the rest of the states have done it legislatively through their law.
- And they’re vulnerable now, because if a court says that this is a fundamental human right, then that trumps state law. So the DOMA’s as we call them, these Defense of Marriage Acts, that are in a great plurality of states, really are vulnerable under judicial usurpation, these judges saying, “You know what, this is what marriage is going to be about: it’s going to be about any grouping of people who we think it might be.”
- Ankerberg: What got me is the five states that actually voted on it.
- Stanton: Yes!
- Ankerberg: Okay? You’ve got California, Hawaii, Alaska, Nebraska and Nevada. And the majority of people in those states voted it down…
- Stanton: Overwhelmingly.
- Ankerberg: …and said, “We want traditional marriage.” So that which you cannot pass with a vote, and that which 33 other states, through the Legislature, said, “We don’t want,”—that would be 38 states—okay? Now it’s in jeopardy. Why? Because… tell us what happened in Massachusetts.
- Stanton: Well, it’s really the wishes and desires of an elite group of judges against the people. As you well pointed out, you know, the American people have spoken clearly through the legislative process and through the voting process. They do not want same-sex marriage. But what we’ve got in Massachusetts, in November 2003, really it came down to one judge— very thin majority on the court—saying that same-sex marriage is a fundamental human right; and that the law as it has existed since the beginning of the colonies in Massachusetts, is unconstitutional and somehow rooted in what they said was animus toward homosexuality; and that that was wrong and that we’re going to have a new definition of marriage, and that’s going to be that it could be between two men, two women, whatever we want it to be.
- And so it’s this small group of judges, as I say you could put them in a minivan and take them anywhere! They are imposing upon all of us, really a radical new definition of marriage that very few of us are comfortable with.
What does same-sex marriage say about men and women?
- Stanton: We have to understand that if you accept the same-sex marriage proposition, then you have to accept the proposition that male and female do not matter; husband and wife do not matter; and that children do not need mothers and fathers; that fathers could be replaced by a woman; and that mothers could be replaced by a father.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, let me slow that down, what you’re saying is that if you have two gay men, what they’re saying is that look, “We don’t need a mother, we don’t need a woman; women are unnecessary.”
- Stanton: Every gay family is a statement to the community that women do not matter. And, every lesbian family is a statement to the community that men do not matter. And, every heterosexual family—mother and father coming together—is a statement to the community that male and female matter. And I would bet that most viewers want that kind of message. The declaration that women matter, that men matter, and that both are necessary for the family. But, again, the same-sex family proposition says that either are replaceable and neither are necessary.
- Ankerberg: Add to that, the fact is that the social sciences are showing that children really, really, really, big time need both a mother and a father in their life.
Is same-sex marriage healthy for children?
- Stanton: It’s interesting, if we look at the work of a man, Edward Westermarck, he was a man that lived a number of years ago, and wrote this wonderful, definitive history of marriage and human experience across all civilizations, across all times. And he says a number of things, but here’s one of the things that he says: Marriage in every single civilization, throughout time, regardless of where it is, is always about the next generation. It’s always about making sure that we bring the next generation of humanity forward in a healthy, protective way. And it always needs men and women to do that. Just as it takes a sperm and an egg to produce a new life, it takes the lifelong commitment—for humans, it’s eighteen years—for male and female, mother and father, to be committed to raising that child.
- Now, we have had a lot of experimentation in this nation in the past thirty to forty years, where fathers haven’t been as involved as they should be in the raising of children and what has been the result of that? We’ve seen cohabitation, we’ve seen no-fault divorce, we’ve seen the single parenting by choice.
- And, we have to ask, what has been the impact of that? Has it improved human well-being? Has it elevated human well-being? No, it has diminished human wellbeing in every single measure, not just for men, not just for women, but especially for children.
- And here we come along and say, “Well, let’s have more experimentation,” thinking that somehow it will improve human well-being, and it just is not the case. And this is not just found in tens of studies or hundreds of studies, but literally thousands of published, social science studies, showing us that men and women, mothers and fathers, are essential and needed in the job of parenting.41
One Last Word to Christian Voters
You can find the complete text of the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms on the Internet (see footnotes 1 and 2). Please take the time to look at these statements, which reflect the values and goals of the parties. Think through the issues and the stands each party has taken before the November vote!
Then go to the polls! Let your voice be heard in November.
- 2004 Democratic National Platform Committee Report, page 11.
- 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 37.
- John Ankerberg, Jimmy DeYoung, “Questions About the Middle East From a Journalist’s Perspective,” Ankerberg Theological Research Institute (http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/biblicalprophecy/BP0304W4B.htm)
- 2004 Democratic National Platform Committee Report, page 29.
- 2004 Republican Party Platform, pp. 66-67.
- 2004 Democratic National Platform Committee Report, page 36.
- 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 84.
- John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Facts on Abortion (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), pp. 6-10, 12.
- Lawyer Cooperative, U.S. Supreme Court Reports, vol. 35 (1974), Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113, p. 181; 410 US 113 at 159; cf. Harold 0. J. Brown,
Death Before Birth (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1977), p. 81, cf. pp. 73-96; John Warwick Montgomery, “The Rights of the Unborn Children,” The Simon Greenleaf Law Review, vol. 5 (198586), p. 64.
- Motion filed in the Supreme Court of the United States, Oct. 15, 1971 (Re: No. 70-18 and No. 70-40), titled Motion and Brief Amicus Curiae of Certain Physicians, Professionals and Fellows of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Support of Appellees, Dennis J. Horan et al., United States District Court 1971, pp.19, 29-30.
- Ibid., p. 7.
- Ibid., pp. 13-14.
- Ibid., p. 64, cf. pp. 19-20, 58-64.
- Television program transcript, “Abortion,” Chattanooga, TN, The John Ankerberg Evangelistic Association, 1982, p. 2.
- California Medicine, vol. 113, no. 3 (Sept. 1970), p. 67.
- Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Sanders, 1982), p.1, emphasis added.
- Thomas W. Hilgers, Dennis J. Horan, Abortion and Social Justice (Thaxton, VA: Sun Life, 1980), p. 5.
- Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health (Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders Co., 1978), 2nd ed., p. 335.
- The Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, Report to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, First Session, 1981.
- Ibid., cf. Richard Exley, Abortion: Pro-life by Conviction, Pro-choice by Default (Tulsa, OK: Honor Books, 1989), p.18; Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues (Grand Rapids, Ml: Baker, 1989), p. 49.
- Landrum B. Shettles, Rites of Life: The Scientific Evidence for Life Before Birth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983), p. 114.
- The Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, Report to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, First Session, 1981; cf. Richard Exley, Abortion: Pro-life by Conviction, Pro-choice by Default (Tulsa, OK: Honor Books.)