When the Republican Party held their first convention in 1856 the delegates adopted a platform stating “It is the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery.”
What I find most amazing about that is how consistent the problems this country faces are. Over 150 years laters we’re facing the same crises now.
Slavery is evil. While the evil of slavery specifically is in the past, the legalized dehumanization of others is quite modern. Legalized abortion, like slavery, codifies that some humans are property to be used, abused and discarded at the whim or choice of others. To be pro-choice today is to make the same assumption as slave traders did two centuries ago – that some humans have dominion over others.
Polygamy in 1856 was, the Republican Party of 1856 believed, a danger because it warped the definition of marriage. They saw it as a threat to families. Oddly enough, we are still fighting that same fight right now but now it’s gay marriage and polygamy advocates who seek to redefine marriage.
The Republican Party was at its best when it believed in the humanity of every individual life and fought for the sanctity of marriage in 1856. The same issues face us now and I pray that the Republican Party will not vacillate all these years later. There have been encouraging signs of late that they may be returning to faithfulness to their founding issues but talks of a “truce” on social issues continue to circulate. Talk of “moderating” the stance of the party are trumpeted constantly, even by supposed presidential candidates.
While there have been outrages and sins by the party there is little doubt that the party is the pro-life pro-traditional marriage party.
If the party adopts an agenda of some kind of truce on social issues it will cease to be a party many feel comfortable standing with. The moment the Republican Party accepts the twin relics of barbarism as negotiable it will be time for a new party and a new convention.