National Defense

Where the Parties Stand

Democratic Party Platform

  • “Democrats believe that global institutions—most prominently the United Nations—and multilateral organizations have a powerful role to play and are an important amplifier of American strength and influence.” (Page 45)
  • “We support the nuclear agreement with Iran because, as it is vigorously enforced and implemented, it verifiably cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb without resorting to war.” (Page 38)
  • “Democrats are committed to preventing the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and to eventually ridding the planet of these catastrophic weapons. We believe America will be safer in a world with fewer weapons of mass destruction.” (Page 39)
  • “We believe our military should be the best-trained, best equipped fighting force in the world, and that we must do everything we can to honor and support our veterans. And we know that only the United States can mobilize common action on a truly global scale, to take on the challenges that transcend borders, from international terrorism to climate change to health pandemics.” (Page 2)
  • “We are proud of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and we commit ourselves to ensuring fair treatment for LGBT veterans, including by proactively reviewing and upgrading discharge records for veterans who were dis-charged because of their sexual orientation.… Our military is strongest when people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities are honored for their service to our country.” (Page 37)
  • “Democrats will seek an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force that is more precise about our efforts to defeat ISIS and that does not involve large-scale combat deployment of American troops.” (Page 37)
  • “We will strengthen the push for the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and stop the spread of loose nuclear material… be informed by a new Nuclear Posture Review … with the aim of reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons while meeting our national security obligations.” (Page 44)
  • “Climate change poses an urgent and severe threat to our national security…. According to the military, climate change is a threat multiplier that is already contributing to new conflicts over resources, catastrophic natural disasters, and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe.” (Page 40)
  • “A strong Israel is vital to the United States ... we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement. We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…” (Page 44)
  • “While Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” (Page 44)

Republican Party Platform

  • The Republican Party is “committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world.” (Page 41)
  • “Radical Islamic terrorism poses an existential threat to personal freedom and peace around the world…. The Republican Party stands united with all victims of terrorism and will fight at home and abroad to destroy terrorist organizations and protect the lives and fundamental liberties of all people.” (Page 52)
  • “We oppose the adoption or ratification of treaties that would weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty or that could be construed by courts to do so. We will not recognize as binding upon the United States any international agreement forged without the constitutionally required assent of two-thirds of the United States Senate.” (Page 10)
  • “We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept or continue attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness. Military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.” (Page 44)
  • “We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law. …We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries. … We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel.” (Page 47)
  • “America has a sacred trust with our veterans, and we are committed to ensuring them and their families’ care and dignity … that includes allowing veterans to choose to access care in the community and not just in VA facilities, because the best care in the world is not effective if it is not accessible.” (Page 44-45)
  • “To protect our national security interests and foster innovation and competitiveness, we must sustain our preeminence in space by launching more scientific missions, guaranteeing unfettered access, and ensuring that our space-related industries remain a source of scientific leadership and education.” (Page 6)
  • “We do not support the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty as well as various declarations from the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development…. We emphatically reject U.N. Agenda 21 … and we oppose any form of Global Tax.” (Page 51)
  • The Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. … Our service members must be subject only to American law. (Page 51)
Party platform changes for 2020 will be published soon.

What the Bible Says

In Romans 13, Paul talks about government being a servant and then says in Romans 13:4, “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.” The sword in the hand of government is used to defeat evildoers, whether that be foreign invaders or a criminal within a country.

Ecclesiastes 3:8 reminds us there is a “time for war, and a time for peace.” Determining when war is appropriate is a difficult question and has led Christian theologians and scholars to develop the “just war criteria.” These criteria raise questions about whether a military action is: a just cause, a just intention, the last resort, a formal declaration, and has limited objectives. During warfare, two other criteria are relevant: proportionate means and noncombatant immunity.

Christians have had different views about whether they can participate in a war. They can be generally summarized under three categories: Activism – it is always right to participate in war; Pacifism – it is never right to participate in war; and Selectivism – it is right to participate in some wars. Most Christians fit into the third category and therefore consider the “just war criteria.”

"for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:4 ESV).

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