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August 16, 1996     The Message
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August 16, 1996

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August 16, 1996 GOP platform finds some echoes in bishol: s' policy recommendations By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- The platform approved by delegates to the Republican National Con- vention Aug. 12 echoes the U.S. Catholic bishops' call for school choice and an end to abortion but sharply diverges from the bish- ops' stands on immigration and foreign policy: The platform -- much debated in the days before the convention opened in San Diego u was ap- proved on a voice vote without discussion during the conven- tion's only morning session. Rep. Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, a Catholic who headed the plat- form committee, called the doc- ument "a victory for life and for the liberty that makes life worth living." As approved, the platform in- cludes as an appendix a series of rejected amendments to the doc- ument, including several on abortion. The appendix repre- sented a compromise with Re- publicans who favor keeping abortion legal and who had threatened a floor fight over the issue. "They said we would dissolve in discord, but here we are re- solved in unity," said Hyde in in- troducing the platform. On abortion, the document says Republicans "support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse leg- islation to make clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children." It con- demns the use of tax dollars to finance abortions and urges the appointment of federal judges "who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of inno- cent human life." It says women in problem pregnancies must receive "the kind of support, material and otherwise, they need for them- selves and their babies" and m/st not be punished if they re- sort to having an abortion. "We oppose abortion, but our pro-life agenda does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion," it says. The platform also opposes "nonconsensual withholding of health care or treatment because of handicap, age or infirmity, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide which, es- pecially for the poor and those on .the margins of society, threaten the sanctity of human life." Those sections were in agree- ment with the 20-page docu- ment submitted on behalf of the Catholic bishops to the platform committees of both parties. The Republicans also echoed the bishops' call for "programs of parental choice among public, private and religious schools" and their opposition to "school- based clinics which provide re- ferrals, counseling and related services for contraception and abortion." The platform also calls for a return to voluntary prayer in public schools, an issue on which the bishops have remained silent. The sharpest differences be- tween the bishops and the Re- publican platform come on the topic of immigration. The bishops have opposed "measures which would elimi- nate or restrict immigrant eligi- bility for federal benefits" and have called for "a generous im- migration policy that strongly af- firms the importafice Of the fam- ily unit." The Republican platform, however, says illegal immigrants "should not receive public bene- fits other than emergency aid, and those who become parents while illegally in the United States should not be qualified to claim benefits for their off- spring." It calls for a constitutional amendment saying that children born in the United States of par- ents who are not "long-term res- idents" are not automatically U.S. citizens. It also endorses a proposal to deport any immi- grants -- illegal or legal -- con- victed of domestic violence, stalking, or abusing, neglecting or abandoning a child. On foreign policy issues, the RepubliCan platform calls for a "timely withdrawal of U.S. forces from Bosnia," continued devel- opment and testing of nuclear weapons, increased spending on defense, and major reform of the United Nations. The platform also implies that a Republican administration would not pay the U.N. assess- ments which the United States currently owes. 'Tee will ensure that our future relations with in- ternational organizations not in- fringe upon either the sovereignty of the United States or the earnings of the American taxpayer," it says. The bishops, on the other hand, have urged "extension of the international force in Bosnia, with appropriate U.S. presence," as well as cuts in nuclear arms and continuance of the morato- rium on nuclear testing. In their platform recommen- dations, the bishops also called for full payment of U.S. debts to the United Nations and sup- ported "diverting scarce re- sources from military to human development" as "not only a just and compassionate policy, but also a wise long-term investment in global and national security." The Republicans made no mention of another issue of in- terest to the bishops -- their call for a U.S. ban on the use of anti- personnel land mines. Another difference between the platform and the bishops' document is on capital punish- ment, which the bishops said "further erodes respect for human life in our society" and "should be fised only when there is no alternative available." The Republican platform crit- icizes President Clinton for ap- pointing judges who oppose the death penalty and called for its extension to include those who commit particularly violent rapes. The platform also backs a $500 per child tax credit and a charity tax credit, opposes tax- ing religious and fraternal bene- fit societies, and would restore "limited liability to nonprofit or- ganizations -- churches, civic and community groups, and the volunteers who sustain them to provide protection against profit-seeking lawsuEs and to encourage volunteerism." On welfare, the platform backs two reforms that the Catholic Church has opposed .-" restrictions in aid to teen moth- ers and a family cap on pay- ments for children born while their mothers are on welfare. "We oppose family cap child exclusion measures whle--rl have the potential to encourage abortion without effectively a& dressing the problem of illegiti- macy," the bishops said in their platform recommendations. The Republican platform atso calls for the elimination of the departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Develop" ment, Education and EnergY, as well as the defunding or priva" tizing of the National Endow ment of the Arts, the Endowment for the the Corporation for Broadcasting and the Legal Ser- vices Corporation. Stewardship by the Book In Sunday's second reading, St. Paul tells the Romans, "God's gifts and his call are ir- revocable." To what is God calling me today? What gifts are mine to share? ? V w R It'll ave = Ed. L. Lee ,, Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 i Wade Funeral Home 119 S. Vine Street, Haubstadt, IN 768-5210 Call about pre-need counseling. Robert J. Wade Alan J. Wade COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto[ Home[ Fire & Life[ Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. Washington Auto Trim 27 Years Service 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 LUMBER COMPANY FOR COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SERVICE FISCHER ELECTRIC INC. SCHNELLVILLE, IN 389-2418 MUENSTERMAN'S FIRESTONE SERVICE, INC. 1400 W. Franklin Evansville, IN 424-5000 Kimball International Jasper, Indiana AUTO TOPS. SEAT COVERS STEREO SALES & INSTALLATIONS 254-3943 --R .w so EASt, BE.tND UPS EUGENE WELP, oWNER