Christian Coalition Presents
The Contract With The American Family
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
* "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
* 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
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
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
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
1. Real limits on late-term abortions by providing legal protection to
children in the latter months of pregnancy and ending the practice of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
28. Lynne V. Cheney, "The End of History," The Wall Street Journal, October
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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