By: Marilyn Burge Re: AHA Response to the Contract with the American Family The following

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By: Marilyn Burge Re: AHA Response to the Contract with the American Family The following was adopted by acclimation by the membership of the American Humanist Association at the Annual Membership Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 19, 1995. ____________________________________________________________________ The American Humanist Association Response to the Christian Coalition "Contract with the American Family" The Christian Coalition "Contract with the American Family," released with much fanfare on May 17, has little to do with really helping American families. Rather, it represents a full-blown assault on the American constitutional principle of separation of church and state, the formal entrance onto the political stage of what is for all practical purposes a religious political party that can only divide Americans along religious lines, and a movement that can only harm American families. The "Contract" would intrude government into the business of the family and religious institutions, contaminate our common schools with sectarian divisiveness, undermine the rights of conscience of children and women, threaten the health of children and women, reduced access to wholesome and noncommercial media fare for children and families, weaken and possibly destroy our system of religiously neutral democratic public schools, greatly increase educational costs while lowering educational quality, and balkanize our society along creedal, ideological, ethnic, class, and other lines. Therefore, the American Humanist Association joins with millions of Americans across the religious and non-religious spectrum in insisting: That the Jeffersonian constitutional principle of separation of church and state be maintained and strengthened; That, recognizing our country's rich pluralism and the fact that students have never lost their right to engage in voluntary personal private prayer in public schools, the religious neutrality of our public schools be respected and reinforced; That religious liberty is adequately protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments and that no new amendment is needed; That public funding for education be limited to secular public schools under full public control; That the right of every woman to freedom of conscience on reproductive matters be safeguarded form public or private infringement; That both private charity and government assistance have important roles to play in maintaining enhancing families and family values; That childre's rights should be considered no less important than parental rights and that children have the right to a family environment that is nurturing and nonabusive; That while we deplore images of gratuitous violence and sexual exploitation, we oppose censorship because a society is healthiest when people can choose among views in an open marketplace of ideas; That federal funding for the arts, humanities, public broadcasting, and public education makes indispensable contributions to a culturally enriched, creative society, which in turn enriches the lives of children and families; That families and family values are enhanced by public actions and policies that help alleviate the effects of poverty. In summary, the American Humanist Association urges Americans of all persuasions to work together in a democratic spirit to protect children, families, and the constitutional guarantees of fundamental liberties from the narrow political agendas of sectarian special interests. Adopted by the American Humanist Association Board of Directors, May 19, 1995 American Humanist Association 7 Harwood Drive, Amherst, New York, 14226-7188 1-800-743-6646 ____________________________________________________________________ You are free to post this in any newsgroup you wish, as long as you do not change the wording or eliminate any source information. All typos are mine; all words are approved by the American Humanist Association.


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