Activities at the November 12 Wednesday Strategy Lunch chaired by Eric Licht of Coalitions for America.
Barbara Ledeen of the Independent Women's Forum announced that IWF is forming a civil rights working group to study the Clinton administration's heavy-handed enforcement of guidelines aimed at making scholastic sports more gender-neutral (Title IX). She reported that enforcement on the basis of male-female proportionality has led to the disbanding of hundreds of collegiate sports programs across the nation because schools could not find the adequate number of women who wished to participate in sports. This enforcement actively deprives men of sports opportunities solely on the basis of numbers. Enforcement of Title IX is being expanded to high school athletics and academics, and thus could threaten government grants to programs that are dominated by male students. Ms. Ledeen also pointed out the social implications of Title IX enforcement in the fact that, especially in the athletic aspect, it is being used to remove the social stigma from behavior like teen pregnancy by mandating inclusion. Contact Barbara Ledeen at 202/833-4553.
Penny Young Nance of Concerned Women for America reported that the boycott of the Walt Disney Company and it's subsidiaries is already having a noticeable effect. Boycott supporters contend that Disney changed policy in the past few years to favor entertainment that is damaging to traditional family values. Nance pointed out a recent USA Today poll found almost 50% of those surveyed supported the boycott. She also noted that Disney stock prices have declined over the past few months, attendance at Disney theme parks is down, ratings for Disney-owned ABC-TV are low and Disney's "Hercules" movie did not gross as much at the box office as expected. She said that those supporting the boycott realize the results of the boycott won't cause the company to change it's policies right away, and that they plan to continue the boycott "for the long haul." Contact Penny Nance at 202/488-7000.
Greg Peek of Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth's office (R-ID) outlined the "Religious Fairness in Bankruptcy Act" (HR 2611), a bill to ensure the free exercise of religious giving and tithing to churches. In at least 35 cases, bankruptcy trustees have made churches return tithes using the explanation that the donations were fraudulent transfers of funds. This bill would give tithes "reasonably equivalent value" as a transfer of funds, and remove the presumption of fraud. Peek said there is similar legislation sponsored by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), but Congresswoman Chenoweth is concerned that Grassley's bill expands the protection on tithes to include contributions to non-profit organizations. Contact Greg Peek at 202/225-6611.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) presented his "National Right-to-Work Act" (HR 59) that would "preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organization or to refrain from such activity." It amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act to make union membership a choice and not a mandatory obligation. The bill is currently in the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Contact Ben Klein at 202/225-5431.
Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) reviewed Senate business, including appropriations bills over an educational voucher system for the DC public schools, foreign aid, national educational testing, and the 2000 Census. Hutchinson also discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's new Clean Air standards, "fast track" authorization, the nomination of Bill Lan Lee for assistant attorney general and the nomination of homosexual activist Jim Hormel as U.S. ambassador to Norway. Contact Senator Hutchinson at 202/224-2353.
**Activities at the November 18 Family Forum meeting chaired by Mike Schwartz of the House Family Caucus and Amy Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Peter LaBarbara, publisher of the Lambda Report, provided an analysis of the current strategies of the homosexual advocacy movement, of President Clinton's recent remarks advocating teaching children not to disapprove of homosexuality in the public schools, and of the recently-rejected initiative in Washington state to make homosexuality, bi-sexuality and transgenderism a protected class under state law. He emphasized that the main strategy currently employed by homosexuality advocates is to marginalize, and, ultimately, criminalize speech disapproving of homosexual, bi-sexual or transgendered behavior. He noted that in Canada people who say they disapprove of homosexual, bi-sexual or transgendered behavior, even a minister in a pulpit, can be reported to a government human rights commission and sentenced to a jail term. He also reported on a case in Wisconsin in which a homosexual and a former homosexual got into a public argument about the nature of homosexuality, following which the ex-homosexual (who never struck or touched the other man) was reported to the government for commiting a "hate crime." He may now receive up to a two year prison term. LaBarbara noted that cases like this are more common than most people realize, and said that a report providing details of similar incidents, "The Other Side of Tolerance," is available upon request. LaBarbara also discussed a severely flawed study claiming that 1/3 of all youth suicides are among youngsters who believe themselves to be homosexual, explained why the report is flawed, and how homosexual advocates have nonetheless used the study effectively to lobby for teaching advocacy of homosexuality, bi-sexuality and transgenderism in the public schools. He distributed materials. Contact Peter LaBarbara at 202/393-2100.
Michael Schwartz of the House Family Caucus reviewed 1997 Congressional activity on family issues. Issues covered included foster care reform (passed), the $500 per child tax credit (passed), the assisted suicide federal funding ban (passed), the "Mexico City" ban on taxpayer funding of organizations performing abortions overseas (not passed), Title X funding increases (passed), a study of the impact of single-sex training in the military (passed), removing the D.C. property tax exemption for the NEA teacher's union (passed), the ban on partial birth abortion (passed), the Satcher nomination for surgeon general (delayed), National Endowment for the Arts funding (passed), Legal Services Corporation funding (passed), government-sponsored needle giveaways to drug addicts (passed), and other issues. He also discussed expected big votes in 1998, including the Tiahrt-Hutchinson Parental Freedom of Information Act, which would permit parents access to all records regarding their own children held by the public schools, and the Religious Freedom Constitutional Amendment. In discussing the latter, Schwartz described a recent case in which the Boy Scouts were refused permission to use an auditorium at the National Zoo because the Boy Scouts officially acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being. Contact Mike Schwartz at 202/225-2701. *