The Re-Packaged Bigotry of the Christian Coalition
by Sandy Alexander, NOW intern
A similar public relations strategy is evident in the packaging of the Coalition's "Contract With the American Family." It uses the reasonable and benevolent-sounding goal of "strengthening the American family" to mask legislative proposals that would threaten such fundamental freedoms as the separation of church and state and women's rights to reproductive planning.
The Coalition is making the most of this growing publicity, a powerful lobbying presence, millions of dollars in funding, and the deference of elected officials and presidential hopefuls. The Coalition is quickly amassing the power to see its agenda realized.
"Their agenda is rooted in elitism, restricted only by what polls say voters are willing to accept," says NOW Action Vice President Rosemary Dempsey. "It is masked in rhetoric that appeals to people's desire for a better society, but also uses their fears to cast blame. It is an agenda we are working to unmask, to educate the public about and to see brought to a halt before more real families are hurt."
The "common sense values" that the Contract wants to restore include
measures that would:
One question looming on the horizon: if the Contract is, as it claims, "the first word, not the last word," then where will the Coalition stop? A new, similarly unsigned and more extreme contract could be taken seriously if the Coalition continues to gain political power, if more religious-right supported candidates are elected, or if one wins the presidency. Dempsey says NOW's resounding answer is "stop these regressive measures now."
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