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GOP platform gains high marks for pro-life, pro-family positions

WASHINGTON (BP)–Pro-family and pro-life advocates gave the Republican Party platform high marks after its completion at the GOP’s national convention in Philadelphia.

“I think that the Republican Party has made it clear that it wants to retain a strong pro-life stance to restore the protections of the law to our unborn citizens,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, “and it has resisted the pressure to elevate sexual preference, i.e., homosexuality, to special protected status in discrimination laws in the way that race and sex are a protected status.

“Unless the Democratic platform is altered from previous years and preliminary drafts, these will be two areas among many others of clear choice for American voters this fall.”

The Family Research Council produced a report card on the platform, giving it A’s or B’s in the six categories the Washington-based organization graded.

“Overall, we are pleased with the 2000 platform for protecting the rights of unborn children, defending marriage and strengthening family values,” said Janet Parshall, a FRC spokesperson, in a written release. “Our hope is that after the convention is over, the Republican platform will be treated as more than a grassroots document but utilized as a governing document for American leadership.”

FRC gave the platform A’s in the following three areas: upholding the sanctity of human life; reducing the tax burden on families; and defending marriage and traditional values.

Two categories each received a B+ from FRC: Supporting parental rights and choice in education, and strengthening religious liberty and community values.

FRC was disappointed the platform continues “to envision Uncle Sam as a national superintendent of schools who will give the ultimate ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ on state and local education policy,” Parshall said. It also expressed displeasure with the document’s failure to call for defunding the National Endowment for the Arts, which has received much criticism for more than a decade for funding anti-religious and graphic homosexual projects.

FRC gave only a B- to the platform for safeguarding America’s national security, citing its allowance for women in non-ground, combat units and its refusal to support sanctions against countries that are military threats or abusers of human rights.

In pre-convention showdowns at the subcommittee and committee level, attempts to eliminate and weaken the document’s pro-life language were handily rejected. The platform has contained a firmly pro-life plank since 1976. Convention delegates adopted the platform July 31.

Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, chairman of the platform committee, called the document “positive, uplifting,” according to The New York Times. Of the disagreements in the committee’s proceedings that largely focused on abortion, Thompson said, “As Republicans, there is so much more that unites us than divides us,” The Times reported.

Among positions in the platform:

— support for a human-life amendment to the Constitution.

— opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.

— support for defining marriage as only the legal union of a man and a woman.

— Opposition to discrimination against faith-based organizations when government funds private welfare and educational programs.

— Support for a ban on gambling on the Internet.

— Opposition to the Supreme Court’s June opinion barring student-initiated, student-led prayers over a public-address system before high school football games.

— Support for education choice.

— Opposition to school-based clinics that make referrals for abortions and contraceptives.

— Support for requiring public schools and libraries to block Internet pornography.

— Support for increased funds for abstinence education to replace “family planning” programs.

The Democratic National Convention will be held Aug. 14-17 in Los Angeles.