Returning to one of the key themes of his 1980 campaign, President Reagan has directed government officials to place new emphasis on the American family in forming and implementing federal policy. In an executive order issued last month, Reagan mandated that all government policies be evaluated for their impact on the family.

Reagan has charged the Office of Policy Development, under the leadership of Gary Bauer, with reviewing all existing regulations and policies. Bauer, a Southern Baptist, will issue a report in six months detailing any recommended changes, either in the form of legislation or presidential action.

In addition, under the order, agency and department heads must submit to Bauer’s office a written assessment of how new measures will “enhance family well-being.” The Office of Management and Budget will moniter compliance.

Family-Impact Criteria

In his family-impact statement, Reagan spelled out criteria that should be used in evaluating each government policy:

  • Does it strengthen or erode the stability of the family and marital commitment?
  • Does it strengthen or erode parental authority and rights?
  • Does it substitute government activity for family functions?
  • Does it increase or decrease family earnings?
  • Can the function of the policy be carried out by the family itself, or by a lower level of government?
  • What message does the policy send to young people?

“If a proposed policy doesn’t measure up, this office’s objections will be grounds to stop it until we resolve those differences,” said Bauer, in an interview with CHRISTIANITY TODAY. “If we can’t, then the issue is kicked on upstairs to the chief of staff or the President to decide whether or not to proceed.”

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