Same-Sex Marriage and LGBTQ+ Discrimination: From Battleground to Common Ground

A Statement of the American Solidarity Party

America needs solidarity. For too long, our nation has been torn apart on the cultural battlefield. The American Solidarity Party envisions a path that transcends the polarizing ideologies of the culture war, a path neither to the left or to the right but forward, towards the shared future of the common good.

LGBTQ+ rights, and especially the legalization of same-sex marriage, have served as crucial battleground issues in the culture war. Since the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, public support for same-sex marriage has risen to over 60%, including 65% of Catholics and 55% of Protestants, and continues to rise. Nonetheless, the issue remains polarizing among some Americans. Other issues relating to the equal treatment of the LGBTQ+ community remain equally as contentious, such as adoption rights, employment discrimination, and public accommodations. These issues are on the front line of the culture war, and this war is not without casualties. Grievously, discrimination and violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community is still commonplace.

While the American Solidarity Party takes no position regarding same-sex marriage, we stand absolutely opposed to discrimination and unjust treatment. Members are free to express agreement or disagreement with same-sex marriage, with the understanding they do not speak on behalf of the American Solidarity Party, its leadership, or other party members when they do so. In addition, we expect party members to model a disposition of respect, sensitivity, and welcome to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The American Solidarity Party platform affirms:

We believe in the vigorous enforcement of civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We believe that the persistence of unjust discrimination in our society must be acknowledged and addressed. The state has a role to play in protecting marginalized groups from unjust discrimination, and should pay particular attention to the effect that policy proposals will have on vulnerable and marginalized groups. We, therefore, support: The principle that all persons have equal dignity and are entitled to nondiscriminatory treatment regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Consistent with these principles in the platform, we also oppose:

• Efforts to marginalize and devalue members of the LGBTQ+ community.
• Discriminatory treatment of any person based on sexuality, marital status, or gender identity.
• Stigmatising rhetoric which alienates and “others” LGBTQ+ people, undermining their acceptance as full and equal members of society.
• Subjecting minors to so-called “reparative” or “conversion therapy,” or allowing commercial exploitation of persons of any age with these often-torturous and clinically-unproven techniques.

Religious liberties and civil rights should not be viewed as mutually exclusive. We fully support religious liberty protections that allow for differences in belief and personal conscience, while not supporting systematic discrimination or the promotion of bigotry. Instead, we advocate an ethos of solidarity, the protection of constitutionally and legally-mandated minority rights, and the fostering of an environment of mutual respect between communities of differing beliefs.

The American Solidarity Party welcomes all people who want to work together to advocate for the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and the promotion of a more peaceful world. Peace and solidarity begin at home. It is our responsibility as members of the American Solidarity Party community to model the solidarity that we seek for our nation, and to protect the non-negotiable rights of all persons, and especially the vulnerable, to equal protections and equal dignity.

“I affirm the possibility of a more peaceful world.”

Violence begets violence, which threatens life, liberty and human dignity. At the same time, those who threaten the rights of the most vulnerable are rarely deterred by mere admonitions. The use of force is necessary at times, but it should be a last resort, taking as little life or liberty as possible; leaving open the door to reconciliation as much as prudence allows.

Peace begins in the home. The government has an obligation to do what is possible to protect and prevent against all forms of domestic abuse, bullying in schools and other community spaces, and violence against children in the womb. No person has the “right” to do what harms or threatens another except for proportionate self-defense.

But precisely because the government has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, it should be extremely cautious of using that power for anything besides protecting the public from direct harms. Societal virtue is cultivated by the freedom to choose the good, while dictatorial policies breed resentment and societal unrest.

We also call for transparency and accountability for the conduct of police and other security forces, and are particularly concerned by patterns of law enforcement that appear to discriminate against persons of color and other vulnerable groups. We call for the elimination of for-profit penal institutions, for rehabilitative and restorative approaches to non-violent crimes, and for responding to addiction and mental health problems with treatment instead of punishment.

On the international stage, we call for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the strict prohibition of torture. The American Solidarity Party is not pacifistic, but we only support military force being used when it is consistent with Just War principles and does not intentionally kill civilians. We call on the United States to respond generously to the crisis of refugees caused by war and other life-threatening conditions in many parts of the world, including through humanitarian aid and accepting more migrants seeking asylum. We believe we can secure our nation without sacrificing personal liberties or overextending our global military presence and commitments.

We invite you to read our Platform to learn more about specific policies that we support as part of our commitment to pursuing a more peaceful world.

https://solidarity-party.org/platform/

“I affirm our responsibility for the environment.”

The privileged place of human beings in the natural order means we have a special responsibility to care for the rest of the world. As our platform preamble says, “we must share and protect natural resources and the environment, as held in trust for the benefit of all inhabitants of the world, present and future.”

Pollution of our air, water, and land is the most serious violation of our responsibility for the environment, and often a direct threat to human lives as well. Government should strictly regulate against pollution, and require polluters to pay the cost of clean-up, health impacts, and other damages to communities impacted by pollution.

Climate instability at least partially caused by the human production of carbon emissions may be less apparent, but it is nevertheless a very real problem according to scientific consensus. We regard this as a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed without delay by the world’s wealthiest nations, including the United States, with measures such as rolling back government support of fossil fuels, support for research and production of clean and renewable energy sources, support for more public transportation, and preservation and cultivation of more green spaces in our communities.

We recognize the natural world as having intrinsic value. We cannot begin to measure the delicate balances of ecosystems disrupted when we alter the natural world without good cause, or the beauty lost to over-development. We support conservation efforts to preserve these unfathomable goods for today and tomorrow.

At the same time, the American Solidarity Party does not view human beings as posing an intrinsic threat to the environment. We reject the notion that there is an overpopulation crisis. We believe that human beings are fully capable, through ingenuity and cooperation, of building a society that supports human flourishing and natural beauty that is permanently sustainable. This will require, however, challenging our society’s consumeristic mentality and changing policies that prioritize wealth and material goods.

We invite you to read our Platform to learn more about specific policies that we support as part of our commitment to our responsibility for the environment.

https://solidarity-party.org/platform/

“I affirm the necessity of social justice.”

Social justice is the natural corollary of the sanctity of human life. We are designed to live in community, to thrive together, to bear each other’s burdens, to not only pursue happiness but to find it in love. No man is an island. Civilization is the realization of the unique human capacity to work together for the common good. Justice IS social responsibility.

The right to life finds fulfillment when the basic needs to sustain life are met, and opportunities for human flourishing abound. The preamble to our Platform states, “We have an obligation to care for our neighbor, and especially to defend those who are most vulnerable. We believe that ensuring every person has access to essentials such as food, shelter, education and healthcare is an achievable goal in our society.”

Solidarity speaks to our mutual responsibility for the good of each other, with a preferential concern for the poor, the vulnerable, and marginalized groups. The advantages of privilege far outweigh effort in determining inequalities of opportunity and wealth, especially in today’s highly competitive and connected global economy. Health, wealth, intelligence, and influence are gifts largely beyond an individual’s control, making meritocracy a misnomer. Privilege is not a source of shame, but it is a call to responsibility for assisting those who are less fortunate.

Participation and community are essential to justice. Citizens must have an influential voice in community decisions. Workers deserve fair compensation for their labor and a role in decision-making for the enterprises that they animate. Parents, who invest so much of themselves into the future flourishing of society, deserve support from that same community, and a primary voice in the education of their children. Private property rights are necessary for a well-ordered society but must be tempered by responsibility to pay fair taxes and observe reasonable regulation for the needs of the community. Patient-centered essential healthcare should be available to all without regard to wealth or preexisting conditions.

Historical injustices continue to have lasting impacts on certain populations and call out for thoughtful reparative measures. Slavery is rightfully called America’s original sin, and racial discrimination has continued in many forms long after the Emancipation Proclamation. While dominant “white” European immigrants used coercion and deception to claim the country from its native peoples in past centuries, certain immigrant groups continue to experience blatant discrimination and unjust deportation to this day. Standing in solidarity with the entire human family, we cannot tolerate any policies that treat certain “tribes” as superior to others or more worthy of human rights protections, but we do support efforts to correct past wrongs.

We invite you to read our Platform to learn more about specific policies that we support and oppose as part of our commitment to the necessity of social justice.

https://solidarity-party.org/platform/

“I affirm the sanctity of human life.”

Our nation began with the profession—however often it has been violated—that all persons are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, chief among them the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American Solidarity Party likewise affirms the foundational assumption that human persons, from conception to natural death, possess a particular dignity that sets us apart from the rest of the created world.

As our Platform states: “We believe that respect for the dignity of human life is the most basic tenet of a civilized society. This dignity is unconditional, it is never reduced by factors such as usefulness or wantedness. From the moment of conception until natural death, every human being is entitled to protections under the law, to just treatment and to equitable consideration.”

The unconditional dignity of human life means so much more than a commitment not to kill. Non-discrimination is likewise foundational to the American Solidarity Party. The human rights to liberty and pursuit of happiness are in no way conditional on a person’s ethnicity, nationality, sex or gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, or (dis)abilities.

We reject the concept of “separate but equal” in all its applications. Solidarity requires that we seek to understand and build community with people who do not look or act or believe the same way we do. Laws that treat people differently on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, nationality, or religion are patently unjust, and we are alarmed by recent backwards movements in America toward such discriminatory treatment.

Attacks on a person’s dignity because their pursuit of happiness looks different from ours likewise have no place in party that embraces the label “pro-life for whole life.” Even “private” discriminatory treatment has serious consequences for the practical liberty, opportunity, and happiness of persons who are part of disadvantaged groups. Suicide is a serious problem in our society today, and speech that attacks the humanity and value of other persons is an unconscionable contributing factor to many deaths. Hate speech that incites violence, including self-inflicted violence, is a serious violation of the sanctity of life.

Freedom to speak, worship, and act according to one’s conscience is another unique human right. While we affirm that this includes the freedom to state publicly what violates one’s conscience or religious tenets, and to refuse direct participation in actions against conscience, this right does not extend to imposing one’s conscientious conclusions on others, or refusing to pay taxes or abide by laws of general application for public safety.

The right to life takes precedence over secondary human rights such as liberty and property. Persons who present a threat to the lives of others may be deprived of their liberty and/or property according to due process of the law. This includes sensible regulation of weapons and their ownership in order to protect lives from those troubled humans who have murderous inclinations. Yet even murderers do not forfeit their basic human dignity, so even for these we oppose the death penalty, torture, and inhumane prison conditions.

We invite you to read our Platform to learn more about specific policies that we support and oppose as part of our commitment to the sanctity of life.

https://solidarity-party.org/platform/

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The Rwandan Genocide: 24 Years Later

Following the assassination of the Rwandan president on this day in 1994, roughly 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were gruesomely hacked to death in a carefully organized program of genocide lasting for nearly 3 months. That the slaughter was meticulously planned over a number of years by radical Hutu leaders is both undeniable and incomprehensible.

Reports of ethnic cleansing, torture, hundreds of thousands of sexual assaults, and genocide were not acted on by foreign powers, despite the manifold ways human rights were grossly violated. The United Nations failed to respond, despite the presence of peace-keeping forces, and largely limited itself to evacuating foreign nationals. The United States, rather than leading the UN to take action, refused even to use the word “genocide” in regard to the Rwandan crisis.

We must acknowledge that political and economic exclusion, rife with policies that promote one ethnic group or race over another, fosters hatred that can lead to violence. We must acknowledge that our nation failed in our moral obligation to the people of Rwanda and all of humanity.

The American Solidarity Party recognizes that we must build a culture and enact laws upholding the equal, innate, and inviolable dignity of every human person. We seek to bridge the bitter partisan divide of identity politics with principled and respectful dialogue so that we may all join the cry of, “Never again!”

On the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to his wife Coretta Scott King after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago today on April 4, 1968. King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to support African American sanitation workers in their demands for better pay and improved working conditions. On April 3, 1968, King gave his last public address, his famous “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech, where he stated he no longer feared death. In this speech he emboldened and challenged the Civil Rights activists, “Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights. And so just as I said, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around. We aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s teaching and promotion of nonviolent resistance is his most enduring legacy. On this day, the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, The American Solidarity Party remembers Martin Luther King Jr. and we call on all people to ensure his demand for racial and economic equality may finally be realized.

Further reflecting on the words of King’s last speech: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

Audio File in the Public Domain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:I%27ve_Been_To_The_Mountaintop.ogg

Gun Control Reform and the Consistent Life Ethic

The American Solidarity Party is grieved by the loss of 14 beautiful children, 3 heroic adults, and the injuries of 15 more in yet another deadly mass shooting at a school or public gathering space. Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the victims and community of Parkland, Florida.

But we do not propose to only send thoughts and prayers. We have prayed and were led. We have thought and have ideas. We stand in Solidarity with the victims. We cannot understate our frustration with the current major parties that have failed to take any effective measures to reduce these tragedies in the 20 years since Columbine.

For too long, the National Rifle Association and their allies have distorted the political process and cowed major party politicians by spewing their false propaganda that “Second Amendment rights” should block reasonable gun regulations. The Second Amendment, when properly interpreted, allows for reasonable government regulation of deadly firearms. Our Party is on record in its unequivocal support for the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and we believe that is consistent with Congress swiftly moving to adopt responsible federal gun legislation.

Those reforms should include:
• A robust licensing and background check system supervised by public officials, not reliant on self-interested gun dealers.
• Strict prohibition on allowing persons whose access to weapons poses a heightened public safety risk to purchase, possess, or use firearms, including persons with a documented history of domestic abuse, animal cruelty, or commission of hate crimes, listing as a terror suspect, or specific mental health disorders associated with increased propensity for violence, subject to appropriate due process to remove the prohibition if the person can demonstrate he or she does not in fact pose a heightened threat.
• A prohibition of high capacity magazines used in military style rifles and “bump stocks”.
• Consistent with our long-standing call for universal health care, expanded and fully funded mental health care for all.
• An end to funding restrictions on CDC’s research into the public health risks posed by weapons.
• Full funding of the ATF so it can fully and properly enforce all federal weapons laws.

These measures are in line with our commitment as a party to a consistent life ethic. Our current major parties have failed to consistently advance life values. In contrast, we support reformed gun regulations as necessary to promote public safety, while also encouraging broad political measures that combat the culture of death and promote a culture of life.

[Approved 23 March, 2018 by the National Committee.]

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The Death Penalty, Opioids, and Religious Opposition to Capital Punishment

The American Solidarity Party condemns President Trump’s remarks suggesting the death penalty as a punishment for drug dealers in an effort to combat the opioid crisis. We oppose the use of the death penalty, especially as a disproportionate punishment for drug dealers. In addition to this proposed solution, Trump said countries that impose the death penalty on drug dealers have a better record than the United States in combating substance abuse. The elimination of drug dealers does not mean the problem of drug dealing has been fixed.

In addition, the American Solidarity Party supports the actions of Greta Lindecrantz, a Mennonite woman being religiously persecuted for her faith’s opposition to violence and the death penalty. Mrs. Lindecrantz’s testimony in a murder case has the potential impact of confirming the defendant’s sentence of death. Mrs. Lindecrantz has refused to testify in court, and is being held in jail for contempt of court.

These circumstances point towards a poisoned culture and fractured community, where the death penalty is seen as the final solution for a community’s problems. A government that fails to address the deeper problems of the community and resorts to the death penalty fails its citizens.

For these reasons and many others, the American Solidarity Party supports the prosecution and punishment of drug-related crimes that focuses on distribution, impaired performance, or endangerment, rather than possession and use. However, we also support redirecting funds allotted for the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of illicit drug users towards prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. To address deeper personal and community issues, we also support mandatory rehabilitation programs in lieu of imprisonment. As a pro-life political party, we strongly oppose the existence and use of capital punishment.

The Failure to Protect Life

The American Solidarity Party denounces the U.S. Senate’s failure on January 29 to pass common-sense restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The United States is one of only seven countries in the world lacking national regulation on such abortions, and we thereby fail to uphold the truth that “all men are created equal.”

The American Solidarity Party calls for policies and reforms in healthcare, economics, and the workplace which disincentivize abortions and foster a culture of life. The American Solidarity Party works for a day when every human life is protected and respected.

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