Christian Coalition Presents The Contract With The American Family Introduction In the 199

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Christian Coalition Presents The Contract With The American Family --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Introduction In the 1994 midterm elections, the American people elected the first Republican Congress in 40 years in what was the largest transfer of power from a minority party to a majority party in the twentieth century. The message of the election was clear: the American people want lower taxes, less government, strong families, protection of innocent human life, and traditional values. The 104th Congress devoted its first hundred days to the Contract with America, including a Balanced Budget Amendment, tax relief for families, welfare reform, and term limits. Christian Coalition enthusiastically supported the Contract and launched one of the most extensive grassroots campaigns in its history to support the Contract's passage. The Coalition will continue this effort as the Contract moves through the Senate. The problems our nation faces are not all fiscal in nature. The American people are increasingly concerned about the coarsening of the culture, the breakup of the family, and a decline in civility. A recent Los Angeles Times poll reported that 53 percent of Americans believe the moral problems facing our country are more important than the economic problems.1 Other survey data indicates that 80 percent of Americans believe there is a problem of declining morality within our nation.2 The Contract with the American Family is a bold agenda for Congress intended to strengthen families and restore common-sense values. The Contract represents a valuable contribution to a congressional agenda beyond the first hundred days. These provisions are the ten suggestions, not the Ten Commandments. There is no deadline or specified time period during which they are to be enacted. But Congress would be well advised to act with all due and deliberate speed. The provisions in the Contract enjoy support from 60 to 90 percent of the American people. These items do not represent the pro-family movement's entire agenda. There are many other prominent pro-family organizations that will work on many other issues - women in combat, welfare reform, budget policy - in the months ahead. This contract is designed to be the first word, not the last word, in developing a bold and incremental start to strengthening the family and restoring values. Restoring Religious Equality A constitutional amendment to protect the religious liberties of Americans in public places. With each passing year, people of faith grow increasingly distressed by the hostility of public institutions toward religious expression. Public interest law firms dedicated to preserving religious liberties receive thousands of calls every year on issues pertaining to the rights of students in public schools. Examples of hostility toward religious values and those who hold them abound. In Nevada, an elementary school student chosen to sing a solo in the school's Christmas pageant was forbidden from singing "The First Noel" because of its religious overtones.3 At a public elementary school in Rhode Island, the principal announced shortly before the beginning of a Christmas concert that he had censored all of the pageant's songs.4 A Scarsdale, New York school board banned all religious celebrations from schools, although parties with non-holiday themes were still permitted. According to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the ban included "displays or exhibits, such as wreaths, garlands, caroling and menorahs that appear to promote or give approval to religious matters," as well as "candy canes, bells, holiday music, and Hanukkah or Christmas parties and concerts."5 Teachers in New Jersey were told to avoid references to Easter, including jelly beans and the colors purple and yellow. Children have been told they cannot read the Bible during silent reading time.6 In one school, a little girl was told there was a problem with the book she chose to read to her class - it mentioned "God" four times.7 This anti-religious bigotry is not confined to the classroom. Nativity scenes are now barred from federal post offices,8 and from the lawns of public buildings unless accompanied by a non-religious display such as Santa Claus. Some courthouses are prohibited from displaying the Ten Commandments (despite the fact that they are chiseled into the walls of the United States Supreme Court). And landlords have been sued by the state for discrimination because they refused to rent to unmarried couples for religious reasons.9 This hostility toward faith is the result of 30 years of confusing and often quixotic jurisprudence in establishment clause cases. The Supreme Court's application of the three-pronged "Lemon test," first developed in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971),10 has become so tortuous that some court decisions allow states to lend textbooks, but not movie projectors, maps, or laboratory equipment to parochial schools; to supply guidance counseling services outside of parochial schools, such as mobile units, but not within the schools; and to provide bus services to and from parochial schools, but not for school field trips.11 Justice Scalia, who like many has argued for ending the use of this confusing test, has likened it to "some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried-"12 Despite such rollbacks in religious rights, the American public consistently supports freedom of religious expression in the public square. An April 1994 Wirthlin poll indicates that reinstating voluntary school prayer not only continues to receive overwhelming support (78 percent of Americans), but it also enjoys support across a broad spectrum of Americans: 79 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of whites support school prayer; 85 percent of low income and 71 percent of high income Americans support school prayer; and 65 percent of non-Christians and between 80 and 94 percent of Christians support school prayer. The Religious Equality Amendment would not restore compulsory, sectarian prayer or Bible-reading dictated by government officials. Instead, we seek a balanced approach that allows voluntary, student and citizen-initiated free speech in non-compulsory settings such as courthouse lawns, high school graduation ceremonies, and sports events. A survey by the Luntz Research Company found that 78 percent of all Americans support a Religious Equality Amendment. We urge the 104th Congress to pass an amendment that not only protects the rights of students, but the religious liberties of all Americans. Returning Education Control to the Local Level Transfer funding of the federal Department of Education to families and local school boards. The need for education reform is plainly evident if one considers the trends of recent decades. SAT scores have dropped by more than 75 points since 1960.13 Ten nations outperform U.S. 13-year-olds in math and science tests.14 And as education performance drops, the level of school violence in our schools is on the rise. The dramatic increase in shootings and violence-related injuries occurring in our nation's schools is well-known. Because of the prevalence of weapons, many American students are greeted with metal detectors when they arrive for school in the morning. In 1992, 10 percent of tenth-graders admitted they had taken a weapon to school during the past month.15 There are 250,000 crimes committed on school property each year. Parents are distressed over the failure of schools to teach children basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Too often, sex education emphasizes contraception and condom use rather than abstinence and self-control. Homosexuality is promoted as an acceptable alternative lifestyle. Outcome-based education (OBE) supplants basic skills. Psychological counseling takes place without parental involvement or notification.16 Christian Coalition members believe schools should reinforce rather than undermine the values taught in homes, churches and synagogues. Parental involvement and local control is the most pressing need in education today. A current report by the U.S. Department of Education, "Strong Families, Strong Schools," corroborates the fact that parental involvement in children's education results in higher student performance.17 Many local and state reform initiatives focus on increasing parental rights and participation in their children's education. Despite this trend at the local level, the federal government has done little to advance these initiatives. In 1993 and 1994, Congress tightened the federal choke hold on local schools by passing Goals 2000, the Educate America Act18 and the Improving America's Schools Act, which re-authorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).19 Christian Coalition seeks to return greater power and control over our children's education to parents and local communities. This reform begins by transferring much of the funding for the U.S. Department of Education to families and local school boards, and applying the remainder to deficit reduction. The U.S. currently spends approximately $275 billion per year on public education.20 Yet student performance and educational achievement do not reflect this financial investment. As Time magazine recently noted, "The U.S. spends a greater percentage of its gross national product on education (7.5 percent) than any other country except Israel, and yet is out-performed in math and science among 13-year-olds by more than 10 nations, including Hungary, Taiwan and the former Soviet Union."21 Less than half of federal education dollars reach classrooms for instruction.22 Increased spending is not the answer. In fact, the 10 states ranking highest in education performance do not top per-pupil expenditures.23 Rather, the answer lies in eliminating bureaucracies, administrative costs, and federal restrictions that prevent effective reform at the local level. Since the time of its creation in 1980, the U.S. Department of Education has grown in magnitude to the point that it now consists of 241 separate programs, a budget of $30 billion,24 and more than 5,000 employees.25 Moreover, federal control over education has dramatically increased, ultimately culminating with the 1994 passage of Goals 2000 and H.R. 6, the Improving America's Schools Act. Goals 2000 established several new federal bureaucracies, including the National Education Standards and Improvement Council (NESIC), which many view as equivalent to a national school board. NESIC has powerful authority to certify national education standards regarding educational content and student performance. Although these standards are not binding on states, they do have national stature, and states have to "voluntarily" develop comparable standards in order to receive a portion of the billions of dollars in federal funding authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. When Congress passed Goals 2000, many people predicted it would lead to the establishment of "politically-correct" national education standards, resulting in the introduction of outcome-based education (OBE) on a national scale. Verification of this prediction came quickly. With 1994's release of national history standards, developed with $2.2 million in federal funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education, it became obvious that national education standards would not be objective.26 Criticism of the biased and distorted views prevalent in both sets of standards - the National Standards for United States History, as well as the National Standards for World History - was widespread. Criticism of the U.S. History standards included the fact that the United States Constitution was never mentioned in any of the 31 standards, and was relegated to the supporting materials;27 the establishment of the National Organization of Women and Sierra Club were viewed as notable events, but not the first assembling of the United States Congress;28 and according to one reviewer, the material revealed only one quotation from a congressional leader, and that was Tip O'Neill calling Ronald Reagan "a cheerleader for selfishness."29 The World History standards drew widespread criticism also, particularly for their anti-Western bias.30 The bias in these standards was so grave that the United States Senate overwhelmingly adopted (99 to 1) a resolution condemning the standards and expressing the sense of the Senate that NESIC not certify them.31 Nevertheless, 10,000 copies of these standards already have been mailed to school administrators and others throughout the nation.32 These national standards undermine parental involvement and local control of education. The time to return federal education control to parents and local communities through elimination of the United States Department of Education is long overdue, and a good first step would include repealing Goals 2000 legislation. Promoting School Choice Enactment of legislation that will enhance parents' choice of schools for their children. School choice initiatives are sweeping the nation like wildfire. Sixty-two percent of Americans favor choice among public schools, and 50 percent favor vouchers.33 School choice legislation was either introduced or pending in 34 states in 1993.34 These initiatives take a number of forms, including voucher programs, tax credits and charter schools. Voucher programs provide monetary assistance to parents for use at the school of their choice. Tuition tax credits achieve the same goal of school choice, and are preferred by some communities. Charter schools are a creative new initiative through which states charter and fund alternative schools designed to meet the needs of a diverse student population. Other local initiatives include the privatization of public schools, such as in Baltimore, Maryland and Hartford, Connecticut. As parents and local communities strive to reform our country's educational system, the federal government must do more to assist these efforts. One possible example of federal school choice legislation is S. 618, the Coats-Lieberman Low-income School Choice Demonstration Act. This legislation would establish up to 20 demonstration projects that would provide financial assistance to low-income parents to help them send their children to the school of their choice, whether public or private. The legislation requires an evaluation of the effectiveness of this demonstration initiative in order to provide objective documentation of the merits of school choice. With almost half of high school students in inner city schools failing to graduate,35 educational reform for low-income parents in these cities is becoming increasingly urgent. We urge the swift passage of school choice legislation such as S. 618 during the 104th Congress as a means of promoting school choice for parents. We believe passage of this bill will spur grassroots efforts to reform education and give parents greater choice in selecting the best school for their children. Protecting Parental Rights Enactment of a Parental Rights Act and defeat of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The United States Constitution does not explicitly set forth protections for parental rights, but a long line of court cases have held that the United States Constitution protects the right of parents to control the upbringing of their children. The rights of parents, however, are under increasing assault in modern day society. For example, state officials removed an eighth-grade girl from her home because she objected to the ground rules (regarding use of drugs, curfew hours, etc.) her parents had set.36 One mother's child was removed from her home because the mother refused to continue to take her first-grade child to therapy lessons for hyperactivity.37 And in 1992, a San Diego grand jury found that 35 to 70 percent of the county's foster children "never should have been removed from their parental homes."38 Enactment of a Parental Rights Act will ensure that parental rights are not violated and ensure that parents have the foremost duty and responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children. Representatives Steve Largent (R-OK) and Mike Parker (D-MS) in the House, and Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Howell Heflin (D-AL) in the Senate, are drafting a parental rights act to address this critical problem. While language is still being finalized, the authors intend that the Parental Rights Act of 1995 will clarify that "the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children," includes overseeing their children's education, health care, discipline, and religious training. Moreover, it requires that any governmental interference in the parent-child relationship be justified by "clear and convincing evidence" that it "is essential to accomplish a compelling governmental interest" and that it is applied in "the least restrictive means" possible. The threat to the rights of America's parents is very real, as the movement to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child exemplifies. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty adopted in 1989 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. It has not been ratified in the United States. In the past, the United States has not supported the treaty due to concerns that it may concede jurisdiction over United States citizens to an international body and international court.39 Christian Coalition opposes the treaty because it interferes with the parent-child relationship, threatens the sovereignty of U.S. law, and elevates as "rights" such dubious provisions as access to television and mass media. The following are some of the examples of the absolute rights given to children through this treaty: * "No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence - The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."40 * "The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice."41 * With respect to the right of the child to freedom of association or peaceful assembly, "[n]o restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."42 Under the treaty, parents could well lose their right to prevent their child from associating with disreputable individuals such as delinquents, or receiving literature or gaining access to mass media communication (including films and television) that is not age-appropriate. Pursuant to the treaty, a Committee on the Rights of the Child has been established to review reports from nations regarding their progress in implementing the treaty. The committee has urged that in the area of sex education, parents be required to give the opinion of the child equal weight. The committee warned that "the possibility for parents in England and Wales to withdraw their children from parts of the sex education programmes in schools" undermines "the right of the child to express his/her opinion."43 The committee's concern about soliciting children's views prior to "exclusion from school" should be of particular concern to parents who educate their children at home. It is clear that rejection of this treaty by the United States Senate would be in the best interests of American parents. Family-Friendly Tax Relief Reduce the tax burden on the American family, eliminate the marriage penalty, and pass the Mothers and Homemakers' Rights Act to remedy the unequal treatment that homemakers receive under the Internal Revenue Service Code with respect to saving for retirement. It has been said that the intact family is the most successful Department of Health, Education, and Welfare ever conceived. Yet the federal government, through the tax code, has punished families for working, saving, and staying together. The Contract with the American Family addresses not only the cultural pressures on families, but the financial pressures as well. 1. Tax relief for families with children. In 1950 the average family of four in America paid just 2 percent of its adjusted gross income in federal income taxes. Today that same family sends one out of every four dollars to Washington. When state and local taxes are added, the average family of four pays 38 percent of its entire income in taxes, more than it spends on such essentials as housing, clothing and food. Christian Coalition's top legislative priority since 1993 has been tax relief for America's hard-working families. We strongly favor the $500 tax credit for children that has been passed by the House and awaits action in the Senate. Our long-term goal is to restore the standard deduction for children to its inflation-adjusted 1946 value: $8,000 to $10,000 per dependent child. Christian Coalition also supports in concept a flat or flattened tax (with a generous personal exemption for children) as an ultimate goal to simplify the tax code, reward work and savings, and reduce the crushing tax burden on families. 2. Eliminate the marriage penalty. Under current law, many married couples pay more in taxes than they would if they remained single because their combined income puts them into a higher tax bracket. On April 5, 1995, as part of the American Dream Restoration Act, the House of Representatives voted to restore tax fairness for married couples. H.R. 1215 makes married couples eligible for a tax rebate of up to $145 if their tax liability goes up as a result of being married. In a time when family breakups are so common, the Senate should pass this legislation to encourage marriage and ease the burden on families trying to form and stay together. 3. The Mothers and Homemakers Rights Act. The Contract with the American Family calls for the enactment of legislation such as the Hutchison-Mikulski Individual Retirement Account equity bill (S. 287), which will allow homemakers to contribute up to $2,000 annually toward an IRA, thereby providing equitable treatment to spouses who work at home. The Internal Revenue Code currently allows a double-income married couple to contribute up to $4,000 per year toward retirement by allowing them to contribute up to $2,000 each toward an IRA. However, in the case of a single-income married couple, the couple can only contribute up to $2,250 per year toward retirement through an IRA, with the homemaker's contribution limited to $250. This inequity in the tax code reflects a disrespect for the valuable role of the homemaker in our society. Christian Coalition urges Congress to remedy this injustice by amending the tax code to allow homemakers to contribute equally up to $2,000 annually toward an IRA. This could provide an increase of up to $150,000 in savings for a couple after 30 years.44 Furthermore, because the value of families never decreases, the contribution amount should be indexed to inflation. Restoring Respect for Human Life Protecting the rights of states that do not fund abortion, protecting innocent human life by placing real limits on late-term abortions, and ending funds to organizations that promote and perform abortions. In speaking to the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, Mother Teresa delivered an eloquent and stirring defense of the rights of innocent human life. "The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion," Mother Teresa of Calcutta said at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 1994. "It is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child."45 The foundation of all our rights as Americans - to speech, assembly, and religious expression - are all built upon the right to life. The genius of the American idea is that every person is endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights, the first of which is the right to life. Christian Coalition seeks by all lawful and non-violent means to protect innocent human life for the disabled, the elderly, the infirm, and the unborn. We support constitutional and statutory protection for the unborn child. Our ultimate goal is to establish the humanity of the unborn child and to see a day when every child is safe in their mother's womb. We urge Congress to take the following action as a beginning toward that end. 1. Real limits on late-term abortions by providing legal protection to children in the latter months of pregnancy and ending the practice of "partial-birth abortions." Most Americans would be shocked to learn about the methods that are used in late-term abortions in America today. These methods have reached the point to where a fully formed child can be completely delivered alive, with the exception of the child's head, and then the abortionist is free to end the child's life. This "partial-birth abortion" procedure is also known as "dilation and extraction," or D&X, in which forceps are used to remove second and third-trimester babies, with only the head remaining inside the uterus. The child's life is then ended, and the dead child is delivered.46 Most tragic of all is the fact that the majority of these babies are alive until the end of the proceeding.47 Indeed, virtually all of the victims are beyond the 24th week of pregnancy, and many can survive outside the womb. It is difficult to estimate the number of partial-birth abortions performed, because abortion statistics in general are unreliable. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research group affiliated with Planned Parenthood, estimates that about 10 percent of abortions occur in the second or third trimester. One abortionist who specializes in D&X procedures testified in 1992 that he had performed 700 of them.48 Establishing real limits on late-term abortions is one of the most important steps Congress can take to protect innocent human life. A child has a better than 50-percent chance of survival outside its mother's womb at 26 weeks.49 But the D&X technique has been used on children up to 40 weeks gestation, which is a full-term pregnancy.50 One physician experienced in this procedure admitted to having mixed feelings on its morality: "I do have moral compunctions. And if I see a case that's later, like after 20 weeks where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it because the potential is so imminently there. I think, 'Gee, it's too bad that this child couldn't be adopted.'"51 We call on the 104th Congress to enact restrictions on late-term abortions and end the practice of D&X abortion. Children at any stage of pregnancy should not be subject to this cruel and inhumane form of death, but such treatment of those who can clearly survive outside the mother's womb is particularly cruel. 2. Protect the rights of states that do not wish to use taxpayer funds to take innocent human life. In 1993 Congress re-authorized the Hyde Amendment, in effect since 1977, with rape and incest exceptions. Christian Coalition believes taxpayer funds should only be used to pay for an abortion when the mother's life is in danger. The Clinton administration issued a new interpretation of the Hyde Amendment, and rather than permitting states to use Medicaid dollars to fund abortion in rape and incest cases, it requires them to do so. This created havoc in the states because 30 states prohibited public funding of abortion, with the life of the mother being the sole exception. Another six states had reporting requirements for abortions due to rape and incest which were invalidated under this new directive. As a result, many states are now involved in litigation over this issue and seven states are facing administrative enforcement proceedings which could ultimately result in the termination of federal Medicaid funding to the state. Moreover, as a result of litigation, two state constitutional provisions have been invalidated and now the states are required to pay for abortion for any reason, with state funds. Enacting legislation to clarify the congressional intent behind the Hyde amendment and to protect states' rights in this area is a matter of urgency for the 104th Congress. The Coalition urges Congress to adopt the Istook/Exxon Amendment that would protect the rights of the citizens of states that do not use taxpayer funds to take human life. 3. End taxpayer subsidies to organizations that promote and perform abortions. We call for an end to federal funding for organizations that promote and perform abortions. This includes an end to funding for international family planning organizations that promote and perform abortions. Christian Coalition, along with numerous American taxpayers, believes that abortion is the taking of innocent human life and that tax dollars should not be used to promote it. Yet, organizations that receive funding under Title X are required to counsel and refer young adolescents on abortion. This implicitly sends the message to these youngsters that abortion is an acceptable method of family planning. The merits of continued funding of the Title X program have long been questioned. It is estimated that one-third of the clients served through Title X funding are teen-agers.52 And yet, during the course of the 25 years of Title X's existence, the out-of-wedlock birth rate among girls aged 15-19 has increased 100 percent, the abortion rate for teens has more than doubled, and sexually transmitted diseases among teens also have increased.53 Today, one out of every four sexually experienced teen-agers becomes infected with a sexually transmitted disease annually.54 Family planning expenditures for all ages under Medicaid now approximate $252 million annually,55 and the annual appropriation to the Title X family planning program is now $193 million,56 one-third of which is expended on adolescents. The time is long overdue for the United States Congress to eliminate funding for such programs. Similarly, the American taxpayer should not be forced to fund international family planning organizations that promote abortion overseas. The United States contributed $50 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) alone for this year,57 despite its involvement in China's coercive population-control program that includes forced abortions.58 Amnesty International USA recently outlined some of the reports coming out of China regarding the method used to enforce its "one-child" policy: [D]etainees were beaten and tortured to accelerate the payment of fines. Some were reportedly hung upside down, others received electric shocks on their tongue with electric batons or live wires- One man who could not bear to see his wife tortured in a cell for days attempted to sell their children in Beijing- other women pregnant eight or nine months were given - against their will - injections to induce miscarriages.59 In fiscal year 1993, the United States contributed at least $580 million toward world family planning programs.60 Any of this money that is contributed to organizations that encourage or perform abortions should be eliminated. Moreover, the entire budget should be reviewed to determine the success of the program to ensure that, like Title X, we are not subsidizing failed programs. Encouraging Support of Private Charities Enactment of legislation to enhance contributions to private charities as a first step toward transforming the bureaucratic welfare state into a system of private and faith-based compassion. A 1994 report by the National Center for Policy Analysis details the growing evidence that private sector charities do a better job than government "of getting prompt aid to those who need it most, encouraging self-sufficiency and self-reliance, preserving the family unit and using resources [more] efficiently."61 According to the same report, "94 percent of all shelters for the homeless in the U.S. are operated by private sector organizations."62 Studies have shown that "as many as 80 percent of low-income people turn to the private sector first when facing a crisis."63 In light of this evidence, as well as the growing evidence of the failure of government programs to discourage welfare dependency, the federal government should take steps to encourage donations to private charities which serve the needy. In their Contract with America, House Republicans have enacted the most dramatic and sweeping welfare reform in decades. By turning welfare spending over to the states in the form of block grants, this reform will encourage innovation at the local level, promoting work and personal responsibility. The Contract with the American Family takes the next step. We propose unleashing the charitable capacity of the American people by providing private, non-governmental solutions to the problems of the underclass. Through the Salvation Army and other private charities, millions of Americans will be able to provide compassionate assistance to those in need without sending more tax dollars to a failed, discredited bureaucratic welfare state. Many citizens are not as generous in their contributions to private charitable organizations these days because they already are overtaxed. However, if given the choice between having their tax dollars subsidize government welfare programs or subsidize private charitable programs, many would prefer to designate the money to a private charity of their choice. Christian Coalition urges the United States Congress to enact legislation to give taxpayers this opportunity. One possible means to do so would be to allow individuals to designate on their income tax returns a limited amount of their taxes to qualified private charities. Another would be to create pilot programs through federal welfare block grants that earmark funding to encourage charitable giving and assistance to needy individuals through charities and religious organizations. For every dollar the taxpayer designates toward a private charity, the federal welfare funding to that taxpayer's state would be equally reduced.64 As a result, "private charities would compete on an equal footing with government welfare programs for the portion of the federal budget that is allocated to poverty programs," thereby increasing competition. This will not only change government, it will change our citizenry's pattern of thinking - people will once again feel more of a civic duty toward their fellow man. In the words of Acton Institute head Father Robert A. Sirico, "[G]overnment has no monopoly on compassion. Indeed, government is compassion's least able practitioner." Through a private charity check-off or other means, the 104th Congress can replace the welfare state with a culture of caring. Restricting Pornography Protecting children from exposure to pornography on the Internet and cable television, and from the sexual exploitation of child pornographers. 1. Enactment of legislation to protect children from being exposed to pornography on the Internet. Pornography, both soft core and hard core, is freely available on the Internet to virtually anyone with a home computer. Several magazines post pornographic images that can be viewed by anyone, including children, for free. There are also numerous sites on the Internet where hard core pornography depicting a variety of explicit sexual acts, even rape scenes and bestiality, are available free and can be accessed with a few clicks of a computer button. Christian Coalition urges Congress to enact legislation to protect children from being exposed to pornography on the Internet. Criminal law should be amended to prohibit distribution of, or making available, any pornography, soft core or hard, to children, and to prohibit distribution of obscene hard core pornography to adults. 2. Enactment of legislation to require cable television companies to completely block the video and audio on pornography channels to non-subscribers. Many children throughout the country are exposed to pornography, often hard core, on cable television because of incomplete scrambling of the signal on pornography channels. Cable companies have asserted that it is the parents' responsibility to guard their children. Christian Coalition believes that the responsibility should be on the cable companies to help parents keep pornography out of their homes. Cable companies should not be allowed to transmit pornography to non-subscribers. We urge Congress to require cable television companies to completely block the video and audio on pornography channels to non-subscribers. 3. Amending the federal child pornography law to make illegal the possession of any child pornography. Sexual exploitation of children through child pornography continues to be a major problem in society. Possession of child pornography should be a crime. President Reagan proposed such a law in 1988, hoping that those with collections of child pornography would destroy them for fear of federal prosecution. In an 11th hour compromise on the bill, however, a conference committee of House and Senate members changed the Reagan bill to criminalize only the possession of "three or more" items of child pornography, videos, magazines, etc. Thus, federal law sanctions the possession of some child pornography - less than three pieces. A person with two hour-long videotapes depicting the rape of a child cannot be charged with a federal crime, yet a person with three photos depicting a child in a lascivious pose can. Christian Coalition urges that the federal child pornography law should be amended to make illegal the possession of any child pornography. Privatizing the Arts The National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Legal Services Corporation should become voluntary organizations funded through private contributions. Christian Coalition urges the privatization of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) because we do not view such funding as a proper role for the United States Government. The issue is not whether the arts should receive funding, but rather which entity should do so - the government or the private sector. Through its grant selection process, the nea acts as an arbiter of art and places its endorsement or "seal of approval" on certain works. This federal imprimatur is as important to artists as is the funding which accompanies the grant. And yet, as William Bennett pointed out during his testimony calling for elimination of the nea, this role of arbiter itself should be questioned, as well as the "seal of approval" which gives the "official blessing - the blessing of the people of the United States - to things both worthy and horrible."65 This federal endorsement is particularly objectionable when it applies to obscenity, pornography, or attacks on religion. Despite repeated attempts by the United States Congress to place common-sense restrictions on federal funding of the arts, nea dollars continue to go toward controversial works that denigrate the religious beliefs and moral values of mainstream Americans.66 William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has joined the call for de-funding the nea, stating: "We, as Catholics, have rights too, and among them is the right not to be defamed, and this is especially true when defamation is funded with government money." At a time of fiscal restraint and budget austerity, cultural agencies cannot expect to be exempt from the broader realities of declining federal spending. Americans spend more than $7 billion annually on the arts; only $173 million is derived from federal funding. The privatization of the nea into a voluntary, charitable organization would unleash the creative capacity of the American people and de-politicize one of the most controversial agencies in recent years. It is an idea whose time has come. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) also would be improved by privatization. Lynne Cheney, the neh Chairman from 1986 to 1992, testified in January in support of ending federal funding for the agency. During her testimony she explained, "The humanities - like the arts - have become highly politicized. Many academics and artists now see their purpose not as revealing truth or beauty, but as achieving social and political transformation. Government should not be funding those whose main interest is promoting an agenda."67 The controversial national history standards, which neh funding assisted in bringing into existence, are one such example.68 William Bennett cites another example of the neh's use of taxpayer dollars: "[T]he neh provides funding for the Modern Language Association (MLA) - Their annual convention attracts over 10,000 professors and students and reveals the type of agenda that neh grants make possible. Past panels include such topics as 'Lesbian Tongues Untied;' 'Henry James and Queer Performativity;' [and] 'Status of Gender and Feminism in Queer Theory;'-"69 It is clear that at a time when 24 percent of the average American family's budget goes to the federal government in taxes, we can find a better use for these tax dollars than through continued funding of the neh. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is another entity that should rely on private funding. Federal subsidies to the Public Broadcasting Service cost taxpayers $350 million a year, an example of transfer payments from the middle-class to the well-to-do. Children Television Workshop, producer of "Sesame Street," reaps more than $100 million in licensing fees annually. Its chief executive officer earns $647,000 annually in salary and benefits. A rate card sent out by Washington, D.C. pbs affiliate WETA in 1992 noted that the average net worth of its contributors was $627,000; one in eight was a millionaire; one in seven owned a wine cellar; one in three had been to Europe in the previous three years. Would privatization cause the death-knell of public broadcasting? Hardly. Private and corporate contributions already make up the vast majority of public broadcasting's revenue. Only 14 percent of the Public Broadcasting Service's (PBS) budget comes from the federal government, and only 3 percent of the National Public Radio's (NPR) budget is composed of federal funds. Lastly, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a federally chartered corporation established to provide legal assistance to the poor. It received an appropriation of $415 million for FY 1995. What many Americans don't realize is that divorce proceedings are a high priority for many legal services grantees.70 The LSC alone paid for 210,000 divorces in 1990, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $50 million. Yet, as study after study has revealed, divorce is not helping our nation's poor break out of poverty. Rather, as historian Barbara Dafoe Whitehead has pointed out: "Children in single-parent families are six times as likely to be poor. Twenty-two percent of children in one-parent families will experience poverty during childhood for seven years or more, as compared with only two percent of children in two-parent families."71 Therefore, an agency that was established to help ameliorate poverty is instead fostering it through its financing of divorce actions. Christian Coalition urges Congress to privatize all four entities, the NEA, NEH, CPB, and LSC, and turn them into organizations funded through private contributions. Crime Victim Restitution Funds given to states to build prisons should encourage work, study, and drug testing requirements for prisoners in state correctional facilities, as well as requiring restitution to victims subsequent to release. Today's prisons are not designed either to punish convicts or provide justice to victims. In Pennsylvania, felons can receive in-cell cable TV.72 At a facility in Fallsburg, New York, outdoor weight training areas feature televisions prisoners can view as they work out.73 Hard labor has been replaced in many prisons with recreational activities. Christian Coalition urges Congress to enact legislation that will encourage states to instill work and study requirements for prisoners. More than one million inmates are imprisoned in our country's correctional facilities - 919,143 in state prisons and 93,708 in federal prisons.74 Although a majority of institutions have academic programs, many prisoners do not participate in them.75 In fact, a 1990 census found that "[a]pproximately 570,000 inmates, accounting for two-thirds or more of both sexes in State and Federal facilities, were not participating in any academic activities." Moreover, about a third of the prison population had no work assignment, and 25 percent of the population was idle - meaning prisoners neither worked nor participated in an academic program.76 An estimated 70 percent of inmates in U.S. prisons are functionally illiterate. Without the ability to read and write, these individuals are unable to find work outside prison, a contributing factor giving the United States one of the highest prison recidivism rates in the Western world. Literacy programs - many of which can be provided by private charities and prison ministries at low cost - will give prisoners hope and give society a better chance to absorb former inmates upon their release. Moreover, with one out of four American households victimized by crime each year, as well as more than 700,000 days of hospitalization resulting from crime-related injuries, victim restitution is very necessary.77 Requiring an offender to make restitution to the victim will not only force the offender to confront the consequences of his actions, but also compensate the victim monetarily. Christian Coalition urges Congress to remedy this by conditioning the receipt of federal prison construction funding by the states on enactment of work and study requirements. Moreover, we urge that restitution to victims subsequent to release also be required. Conclusion The Contract with the American Family is the first word, not the last word, on a cultural agenda for the 104th Congress during the post-100-day period. The ideas included in this document are suggestions, not demands, and are designed to be a help, not a hindrance, to Members of Congress as they seek to fulfill their mandate for dramatic change. Christian Coalition welcomes the support of Republicans and Democrats alike as it seeks passage of the items in this bold legislative agenda. There is no specified deadline on acting on the Contract. The Coalition and its grassroots members will work on behalf of these mainstream proposals in this Congress and in as many subsequent sessions of Congress as necessary to secure passage. The Contract with the American Family emerged from a survey of Christian Coalition members and supporters conducted in March and April, 1995. It has been improved during the drafting process by extensive polling and focus groups and consultations with members of Congress and their staffs. Each item in the Contract enjoys support from between 60 and 90 percent of the American people. More than half of the items in the Contract already have legislative sponsors, and several have already been passed by committee. The American people now have a Congress that is receptive to their desire for religious liberty, stronger families, lower taxes, local control of education, and tougher laws against crime. With the Contract with the American Family, the nation now has an agenda with broad support that addresses time-honored values and cultural issues for the 104th Congress and beyond. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Endnotes 1. Ronald Brownstein, "Dissatisfied Public May Spell Democrat Losses," Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1994. 2. Nationwide survey by Luntz Research and Strategic Services, conducted February 11-12, 1995. Sample Size: 1000. Theoretical margin of sampling error: + or - 3.1%. 3. Keith A. Fournier, Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, 1993, p. 17. The decision was later reversed after counsel intervened. 4. Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1994 Catholic League's 1994 Report on Anti-Catholicism, p. 14. 5. Ibid. 6. Keith A. Fournier, Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, 1993, p. 16. In both instances, the children were allowed to read their Bibles after legal counsel intervened. 7. Only after the student's parent contacted the school board was the book allowed. 8. Mark Kellner, "Postal Grinch Who Stole Christmas," The Washington Times, November 20, 1994; Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1994 Catholic League's 1994 Report on Anti-Catholicism, p. 17. 9. Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1994 Catholic League's 1994 Report on Anti-Catholicism, p. 16. 10. 403 U.S. 602 (1971). 11. Jesse H. Choper, The Establishment Clause and Aid to Parochial Schools - An Update, 75 Cal.L.Rev. 5, 6-7. (1987). 12. Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches School Dist., 113 S.Ct. 2141, 2149 (1993) (Scalia, J., concurring). 13. William J. Bennett, The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators (March 1993), p. 17. 14. "[T]he U.S. spends a greater percentage of its gross national product on education (7.5%) than any other country except Israel, and yet is out performed in math and science among 13-year-olds by more than 10 nations, including Hungary, Taiwan and the former Soviet Union." Claudia Wallis, "A Class of Their Own," Time, Oct. 31, 1994, 56 15. 140 Congressional Record S9917 (daily ed. July 27, 1994). 16. Maria Koklanaris, "Virginia parents may get option to exclude pupils from counseling," The Washington Times, Oct. 28, 1994. 17. U.S. Department of Education, Strong Families, Strong Schools (September 1994). 18. Pub. L. 103-227. 19. Pub. L. 103-382. 20. Claudia Wallis, "A Class of Their Own," Time, October 31, 1994, p. 56. 21. Claudia Wallis, "A Class of Their Own," Time, October 31, 1994, pp. 53, 56, citing a 1992 report by the Educational Testing Service. 22. Claudia Wallis, "A Class of Their Own," Time, October 31, 1994, pp. 53, 56. 23. Carol Innerst, "Education Still Lacking Bang for Buck, The Washington Times, September 21, 1994. 24. Family Research Council, "Freeing America's Schools[:] The Case Against the U.S. Education Department," Family Policy, p. 5. 25. Letter from Terrel Bell, to The Washington Post, February 1, 1995. 26. Carol Inherst, "Some Historians See New Standards as Revisionist Coup," The Washington Times, October 27, 1994. 27. Lynne V. Cheney, "The End of History," The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 1994. 28. Lynne V. Cheney, "The End of History," The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 1994. 29. Ibid. 30. See Congressional Record, S1025-1040, January 18, 1995. 31. Congressional Record, January 18, 1995, S1025-2040. 32. Statement of Senator Slade Gorton, Congressional Record, January 18, 1995, p. S1034. 33. U.S. Department of Education, Center for Choice in Education, Issue Brief, "Public Opinion on Choice in Education" (March 1992), Executive Summary. 34. The Heritage Foundation, "School Choice Continues to Gain Ground," Business/Education Insider (June/July 1994). 35. Statement of Senator Coats, Congressional Record, March 24, 1995, S4582. 36. In re Sumey, 94 Wash.2d 757, 621 P.2d 108 (1980). 37. Matter of Ray, 408 N.Y.S.2d 737 (1978). 38. K.L. Billingsley, "Sex, Lies and County Government: Abuse Case Shows It All," The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 19, 1992. 39. Human Events, February 24, 1995. 40. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 16. 41. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 13. 42. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 15. 43. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Eighth Session, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, p. 3. 44. Statement of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Congressional Record, January 26, 1995. 45. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 3, 1994. 46. Illustration Adapted from Drawings Appearing in the February 1993 Issue of "Life Advocate," National Right to Life News, July 14, 1993, p. 12. 47. Diane M. Gianelli, "Shock-tactic ads target late-term abortion procedure," American Medical News, July 5, 1993 (emphasis added to quotation). 48. Douglas Johnson, "AMA Newspaper Investigative Report Supports NRLC Statements on Brutal 'D&X' Abortion Method," National Right to Life News, July 14, 1993, pp. 12, 13. 49. Ibid., p. 13. 50. Douglas Johnson, "AMA Newspaper Investigative Report Supports NRLC Statements on Brutal 'D&X' Abortion Method," National Right to Life News, July 14, 1993, p. 12. 51. Diane M. Gianelli, "Shock-tactic ads target late-term abortion procedure," American Medical News, July 5, 1993. 52. Family Research Council, "Suffer the Children: Title X's Family Planning Failure," Insight, by Gracie S. Hsu; Family Research Council, "An Estimate of Federal Spending on Contraceptive-'Safe Sex' Services for Adolescents 1970-1993," Insight, by Charles A. Donovan, Sr., p. 2. 53. Ibid. 54. Ibid. 55. Family Research Council, "An Estimate of Federal Spending on Contraceptive-'Safe Sex" Services for Adolescents 1970-1993," Insight, by Charles A. Donovan, Sr., p. 2. 56. H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 103-733, 103d Cong., 2d Sess. 64 (1994). 57. National Right to Life Committee, Inc. Memorandum, From Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, to "Interested Parties," April 20, 1995, p. 2. 58. Ibid. 59. Amnesty International USA, "People's Republic of China[:] Catholic Villagers in Hebei Province," March 14, 1995. 60. National Right to Life Committee, Inc., "The Clinton Administration's Promotion of Abortion as a Tool of Population Control in Less-Developed Nations," June 1, 1994, page 2. 61. National Center for Polcy Analysis, "Why Not Abolish the Welfare State?" (October 1994), Executive Summary. 62. Ibid. 63. Ibid. 64. For a general discussion of this concept, see National Center for Policy Analysis, Why Not Abolish the Welfare State? (October 1994), p. 30. 65. Written Testimony of William J. Bennett, Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, January 24, 1995, p.3. 66. Rod Dreher, "S&M 'Art' Video Exceeds Shocking Stage Version," The Washington Times, January 26, 1995. 67. Written Testimony of Lynne V. Cheney, Before the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on January 24, 1995, p.1. 68. Congressional Record, January 18, 1995, S1025-40. 69. Written Testimony of William J. Bennett, Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, January 24, 1995. 70. Kathleen B. DeBettencourt, Office of Policy Development, Legal Services Corporation, "Legal Services Corporation vs. The Family," March 1988, p. 15. 71. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, "Dan Quayle Was Right," The Atlantic Monthly, April 1993, p. 47. 72. Robert James Bidinotto, "Must Our Prisons Be Resorts?" Reader's Digest, November, 1994, pp. 65, 76. 73. Robert James Bidinotto, "Must Our Prisons Be Resorts?" Reader's Digest, November, 1994, p. 65. 74. U.S. Department of Justice, "State and Federal Prison Population Tops One Million," October 27, 1994. 75. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1990," p. 11. 76. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1990," p. 12. A survey of state prison inmates in 1991 also substantiated that approximately one-third of the inmates had no work assignments. See Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991," p. 27. 77. H.R. Rep. No. 104-16, 104th Congress, 1st Sess. at 4 (1995). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- [Image] --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright 1995 by The Christian Coalition of this page and all contents. All Rights Reserved.


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