Senior David Pascoe and Class of 2004 graduate Alissa Miller discussed the Roman Catholic views on the platforms of the two major political parties on Oct. 19.Pascoe, a history major and former chairman of the College Republicans, spoke from the Republican stance while Miller, who graduated in May with a double major in political science and religion, the Democratic view.Miller’s argument drew heavily on the Democratic Party platform and “Faithful Citizenship,” a guide issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on which issues Catholics should consider when getting involved in the political process. Pascoe made his statement mostly based on personal opinions and experience. The lecture opened with Pascoe’s presentation of the Republican stance and how it stands in teachings with the Catholic view. He spoke on a variety of topics, ranging from environmental policy to protection of human life to war. In respect to environmental policy, Pascoe quoted verses from Genesis to support the claim that mankind has authority over the earth. “We must respect the earth, but we still have dominion over it,” he said. Miller claimed that environmental issues must be considered along with economic issues, saying that “Democrats are very committed to environmental issues.” Pascoe and Miller both focused largely on the topic of abortion. “Most Republicans view the fetus as a human life that should be protected like any other human life,” Pascoe said. “Abortion should be safe, legal and rare,” Miller said, quoting the Democratic platform. Gay marriage was another human rights topic discussed. Pascoe defended the Federal Marriage Amendment, proposed by the Republican Party. “Republicans do not oppose homosexuals,” he said. “[Marriage between a man and woman alone] is not a religion-based decision, but it is organized from the foundations of our country.” In response, Miller relied on federalist arguments. “[The democratic position] is to leave the decision of homosexual marriage to the states,” she said. The parties’ stances on war were also discussed. Pascoe conceded that the church was opposed to to war in Iraq, but he felt the current war was justifiable. “The pope is against the war in Iraq,” he said. “The president is responsible for protecting the lives of Americans – the pope speaks out for the souls of all mankind.” He said a pre-emptive war was acceptable if its goal was to protect American lives. The issue of religious versus civil leaders was talked about. Pascoe was asked if both God and man should be served. “[Sometimes] you have to,” he said. Miller disagreed. “We can’t serve two masters,” she said.Pascoe supported the doctrine of pre-emption to the end. “You mean like Al-Qaeda attacking us because [they felt threatened]?” he said. “Let them try.”The discussion went well and many of the audience members stayed to ask more questions and to talk to the panelists. “It went well,” junior Kenny Thierer said. “They both did a good job of explaining the views of their party in line with the Catholic Church.” Additional reporting by Cyrus Levesque.Ricketts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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