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Major New Right positions in the 1984 GOP platform

By John DillinStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / August 27, 1984



Dallas

The political agenda of the Republican Party this fall includes positions on a number of controversial social and religious issues. The GOP positions are strongly supported by the New Right, whose leaders include Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

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Here are four of these issues, as spelled out by the newly adopted Republican platform.

Abortion. ''The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life, which cannot be infringed,'' the platform states. ''We therefore reaffirm our support for a human-life amendment to the Constitution.'' It continues: ''We oppose the use of public revenues for abortion and will eliminate funding for organizations which advocate or support abortion.''

Judges. The platform calls for the appointment of judges who oppose abortion. Specifically, it supports judges who ''respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.''

School prayer. Freedoms of religion and speech, notes the platform, are guaranteed in the United States. This should include ''the rights of students ... to engage in voluntary prayer in schools,'' the platform says. A party position paper observes: ''Since members of Congress begin each day's session by joining in an official prayer led by the House or Senate chaplain, schoolchildren

should also be allowed to begin their school day with a brief prayer or a moment of silence. The proposed amendment would ensure that no child be forced to recite a prayer, nor will states be allowed to compose the words of any prayer.''

Tuition tax credits. The party came out strongly for tuition tax credits for parents to help pay for private or parochial education for children. The reason: ''giving poor parents the ability to choose the best schooling available.'' Credits would also increase competition between public, private, and church schools, improving the quality of all of them, the platform says.