Family Research Council
Gary L. Bauer, President
December 8, 1994
I can always tell when the Christmas season is here; holiday music fills the air; the weather turns colder and "It's a Wonderful Life" seems to be playing on almost every television channel. Frank Capra's classic movie about self-sacrifice, friendship and redemption is one our family's favorites. Besides carrying an uplifting spiritual message, "It's a Wonderful Life" is a very romantic, very American film as well.
In one of its crucial scenes, Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, is standing next to his high school sweetheart, Mary, played by Donna Reed. She is talking on the phone to a mutual friend who has struck it rich in business and she distractedly repeats the friend's words so that George can hear. He is even more distracted, however, and can focus only on her, as he fights the feelings of love welling up within him. Finally, in words laden with double meaning, Mary repeats to George the friend's offer of participation in a business deal: "He says, 'It's the chance of a lifetime.'"
You probably know the rest of this beautiful story. George and Mary do take the chance of a lifetime. But that chance turns out NOT to be on success in business, but rather on success in love, marriage and friendship-- the things in life that really do matter. And these are some of the very same things that give FRC reason to be in Washington.
I am writing to you this Christmas because of what many see as another "chance of a lifetime." Once again, it's not a business opportunity. Today, I believe we have a real chance to exert an even greater influence on the public policy debate regarding family, faith, and freedom. That chance was clearly summarized on the front page of the Nov. 10 New York Times . Under a banner headline, Adam Clymer described the peaceful revolution that took place in this year's congressional elections. He also reported that the first 100 days of the new Congress are likely to see bills passed implementing welfare reform, a presidential line- item veto, and... an increase in "The Tax Benefits for Parents With Children" [emphasis added].
Believe it or not, those last few words were not a misprint. Instead they are a sign of just how profound a policy change was wrought by the American people at the polling booth on Nov. 8.
Just consider how far we've come. For over a decade the Family Research Council has made a priority of seeking a dramatic increase in the tax relief available for families with children. For us, allowing working parents to keep a little more of their hard-earned dollars to feed, to clothe, and to educate their children is a compelling issue of simple justice.
Over the course of the last 45 years, successive Congresses have allowed federal tax benefits for families to lose four-fifths of their value through inflation. Time and again, the Family Research Council, along with a handful of key allies, has carried this message to Capitol Hill: stop crushing the spirit of our nation's families!
A few years ago, FRC worked closely with the Bush White House on this issue. Standing almost alone back then, we caught the attention of the power brokers in government. With your help we won passage of the Young Child Tax Credit, a small but precedent- setting tax break for families with a newborn. Sadly, in 1993, the Clinton administration pushed through a bill that repealed this tax credit. Their action added further insult to the injury caused by the new President's retreat on his promised tax cut for the middle class.
The latest chapter of this story is being written even now. Throughout 1994, we pushed and pulled wherever we found an opening, encouraging members of Congress from both parties, as well as those seeking office, to take up the cause of pro-family tax relief. Many responded favorably. The result is that a key part of the mandate of this year's historic election is not just tax relief, but a tax cut for the very people who need it most.
Thus, we now have a chance to convert decades of frustration and years of labor into a real tax break for American families. But the mandate from the November elections is about far more than economics and family finances. It's about the culture as well-- about reliable standards of right and wrong, and the transmission of those values to the next generation.
The new Congress should be more receptive to the protection of unborn children and traditional moral values. In fact, our election analyses indicate that there was a shift of more than 40 seats in the pro-life direction in the House. Among these newcomers are six brave women who will go toe-to-toe with the likes of Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). Former Seattle Seahawk wide receiver and future NFL Hall of Famer, Steve Largent, and a former University of Oklahoma quarterback, J.C. Watts, were also victorious. Congressman-elect Watts will raise a much-needed pro-life voice for racial minorities.
The election results provide FRC with a tremendous opportunity to reclaim sacred ground. We already have a commitment from key members of Congress to push for a vote to restore school prayer. We will work to reverse elements of the federal "power grab" by Washington's education bureaucrats. We should now have even more help in stopping the radical anti-family initiatives of the homosexual movement. There is an excellent chance that FRC can even help convince Congress to de-fund the obscene anti-religious art that our tax dollars currently support. We also hope to increase restrictions on abortion and to block the appointment of liberal judges to our nation's courts.
For pro-family Americans in our country, the recent election earthquake could truly present the chance of a lifetime. But let me be frank, it is a chance, not a certainty. Even after the landmark changes that have occurred, many lawmakers returning in January are still opposed to the values we share. I have spent the last two decades in Washington, and I have seen the tide of political fortune and ideology shift again and again. As new battlelines are being drawn, FRC can now shift from primarily playing defense to carrying the ball on offense.
The promise of change too often founders on the pitfalls of politics. Moreover, while voters have chosen a new Congress and new state houses, they cannot elect members of the media who add their personal bias to the stories they report, the courts who judge (and increasingly, make) the laws, or the educators who control the academic presses and teach our young.
The current political trend may be conservative and family- oriented, but we have become a nation of liberal institutions dedicated to the proposition that truth is relative and individual choice is the only absolute. The pressure of publicity or notoriety that these institutions can still exert on the political process is enormous. The question remains, "Will those who campaigned on moral issues govern as they ran?" Only time will tell!
Already there are voices within the Republican Party urging it to abandon pro-family issues. I have been busy the last five weeks debating liberal leaders, including several prominent Republicans. Some of the very men and women who campaigned so hard to get pro-family votes, now seem to be a little weak-kneed about standing up for our concerns.
Our radical opponents are wasting no time either. Within days of the election, 1,000 homosexual and lesbian organizers from around the country met in Dallas for five days to plot out their strategy for the months ahead. Anti-life groups, emboldened by a victory in Oregon where an assisted suicide referendum passed, are now gearing up to take that terrible cause around the country.
Of one thing I am certain. Whatever the two major parties do, our work, as independent, nonpartisan advocates for the family, is more vital than ever. Even under the best circumstances, the problem with politics is that it is tainted by self-seeking ambition. Advocates for family values in Congress and elsewhere need-- and constantly beseech us for-- objective, high-quality research, innovative ideas and convincing arguments that buttress their public policy decisions. Those very same things are critical to the defense of family values in your community and in the courts as well.
Over the years, your support has been essential to the success of the Family Research Council. Your contributions, encouragement and prayers have helped to lift us from crushing defeats to front-page coverage of our themes and ideas. I strongly believe that we have now come upon an historic threshold.
We must not lie down and assume that because we have a more
conservative Congress, the job is done. The financial support we
receive in the days ahead will determine, in large part, whether
FRC will be able to carry out its mandate. Together, we can seize
this chance of a lifetime, not for some sweetheart business deal,
but for the love of our families, our faith, and this great
nation. I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. I send a special greeting this Christmas season from my family to yours. The Bauers are looking forward to some quiet days together to reflect on the world-changing birth of the Christ child, an event so momentous that every election pales in comparison! Our oldest daughter, Elyse, is preparing to go to college next fall. Our 8 year old, Zachary, is already a better athlete than his increasingly "creaky" father. Sarah, at 13, continues to astonish us with her wonderful gift for writing.
I want you to know that I am in this fight to provide a better future for my wife and children and for your family as well. We must remain committed until that glorious day when we will all be together to hear our Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Merry Christmas and God bless you one and all!
Family Research Council - 700 13th St., N.W. - Suite 500 - Washington, D.C. 20005 - (202) 393-2100
FRC Monthly Support Newsletter provided by courtesy of Mark Conty.
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