Photo Credit: Jack Conroy

On Tuesday in Washington, DC, the American Principles Project Foundation released a new document at their annual State Lunch entitled “Contract with American Families” that outlines what they believe should be the 2019 agenda for pro-family conservatives. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) helped introduce the contract during his keynote address. 

“We cannot be a strong country, if we do not have strong communities, strong families and strong people. We cannot be a strong country if we do not have a unifying national identity that brings us together to take collective action,” Rubio said. 

The answer to the challenges Americans currently face can’t be found in simply “reheating” old policy ideas, he said, but they should be rooted in timeless principles.

“The answer is to re-embrace the timeless principles that have always been the foundation for the conservative movement and I believe for America’s exceptionalism. Those timeless principles are: the dignity of work, the family as our central institution, the importance of our communities, And a love for and pride in the greatness of America,” Rubio stated.

Discussing the family, he stated, “The family is the central institution in any society. It’s in the family where you pass down values, it’s the family that teaches you to love, it’s the family that teaches you work ethic, it’s the family that passes down traditions, it’s the family that provides support in times of tragedy or distress.”

“Government is limited in what we can do to strengthen family life in America. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything about it. If family is the most important institution in our society, then the simple reality is that in all of our policies we should be pro-family to the extent possible,” Rubio added.

“Yesterday is gone. It is never coming back. Tomorrow is coming, and there is nothing we can do to stop the future. Instead of fearing the present, we should embrace it. Instead of trying to avoid the future, we should try to shape it, shape it by applying our time tested principles that haven’t just worked for the last two hundred years in this nation, but they’ve worked every time, everywhere that they have been tried,” Rubio stated toward the conclusion of his remarks.

The “Contract with American Families” is the product of consultation with dozens of state and national groups that represent a collaboration with numerous members of the pro-family movement.

The document begins with several foundational principles: 

  • The family is the central institution in God’s design for humanity
  • Sexual relations, marriage, and childrearing are interwoven, biologically, ethically, and spiritually
  • Parents are uniquely qualified to care for and nurture their children and therefore have a fundamental right to their custody and upbringing
  • Parents have a right to protect their children from harm
  • Families have a right to exercise their religion in community and direct the education of their children
  • Families must have the freedom to support themselves through work

The contract then identifies ten objectives for policymakers to pursue in order to encourage and strengthen families:

  1. Government should recognize marriage as central to a flourishing society.
  2. The prison and judicial system should recognize the importance of fathers and mothers in the raising of children.
  3. Government should get out of the “family planning” business.
  4. Parents are entitled to direct the education of their children.
  5. Parents have the right to raise their children according to their faith.
  6. Parents have both an obligation and a right to provide for the health care of their children without government interference.
  7. Every family has a right to a pornography-free environment.
  8. Children in the womb have a right to life.
  9. New technologies should not prevent children from knowing the identity of their biological parents.
  10. Government programs should support intact families.

“We have reached a breaking point in American society. The future of the family is at stake. The social science is settled in its unanimous declaration that intact families are a critical component for flourishing individuals and healthy communities; yet, our public policy too often sets up obstacles that hinder family formation and child-rearing. And we are unfortunately seeing the result of these damaging set of policies: more broken homes, more children locked into poverty with no end in sight, and more children denied their right of having a mother and a father,” Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project Foundation, said. 

“The key to solving so many of America’s social ills lies in preserving and strengthening our nation’s families. In our Contract with American Families, we have laid out the most important and necessary steps to achieving this. We look forward to working with our many pro-family allies in order to advance these goals,” he added.

Read the contract below:

Photo Credit: Jack Conroy  Disclosure: I work with American Principles Project Foundation.

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