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
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
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
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
Board of Directors,
May 19, 1995
American Humanist Association
7 Harwood Drive, Amherst, New York, 14226-7188
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