Commandments Crusaders Target Party Platforms

A coalition of Religious Right groups is urging the Democratic and Republican parties to show support for government displays of the Ten Commandments and for the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The coalition, which has support from the Family Research Council, James Dobson's Focus on the Family and the National Clergy Council, is pressuring the two parties to add sections to their platforms affirming that the U.S. is "one nation under God" and that the Ten Commandments can be displayed at public buildings, reported Family News in Focus.

"We're going to put the challenge to them publicly," Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council told Family News in Focus. "We'll be showing up at a number of platform committee hearings around the country to urge them to make that clear statement to the American public."

Focus on the Family's Citizenlink webpage includes an e-mail that supporters can send to the Democratic and Republican National Committees.

Washington observers say Schenck and his supporters probably hope that the Republican Party will adopt the plank, thus helping to energize the GOP's base of religious conservatives.

Religious Right groups are worried that if the election is dominated by issues related to national security and the economy, the social issues they champion will fall by the wayside. By raising the Commandments issue now, they hope to ensure that it is discussed by Bush and his eventual Democratic opponent during at least one of the presidential debates.