National Defense

Where the Parties Stand

Democratic Party Platform

  • “The United States military should be the best-trained, best-equipped, and most effective fighting force in the world.” (Page 76)
  • “Diplomacy should be our tool of first resort.” (Page 73)
  • “American security and prosperity are enhanced when the United States leads in shaping the rules, forging the agreements, and steering the institutions that guide international relations… We will rejoin and reform the WHO, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and the United Nations Population Fund…” (Pages 74-75)
  • “Democrats believe the United States has a moral responsibility and national security imperative to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and eventually secure their elimination.” (Page 81)
  • “We believe the implications of climate change for national security and the Department of Defense can no longer be an afterthought, but must be at the core of all policy and operational plans to secure our vital interests.” (Page 77)
  • “We believe the transatlantic alliance is the ballast of our global influence... NATO is the world’s most formidable military alliance…. We will reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO and defending our allies.” (Page 89)
  • “Democrats believe a strong, secure, and democratic Israel is vital to the interests of the United States. Our commitment to Israel’s security, its qualitative military edge, its right to defend itself, and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding is ironclad.” “We oppose any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, while protecting the Constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” (Page 91)
  • “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 91)
  • “We will reverse the Trump Administration’s hateful transgender ban, discriminatory exclusions in military health care, and policies that stigmatize and discriminate against people living with HIV and AIDS, and ensure that LGBTQ+ service members and families enjoy equal respect, benefits, and care.” (Page 77)
  • “We will root out systemic racism from our military justice system, where black service members are twice as likely as white ones to face court-martial. We will accelerate efforts to recruit and promote people of color in the officer corps.” (Page 77)
  • “We believe that service members, veterans, and their spouses should never face deportation…. And we believe anyone who has served honorably in our military has earned a path to citizenship prior to discharge or retirement.” (Page 77)
  • “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 support a small, finite, and focused military presence to train our Iraqi partners so they can ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS. We also support keeping up the offensive against ISIS in Syria to prevent it from regaining a foothold, and will stand by Kurdish and other critical partners in that fight.” (Page 90)
  • “Democrats will end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and help bring the war to an end.” (Page 76)

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)

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).

Vote by Issue