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87 GOP MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE URGE ELDERS TO RESIGN

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Eighty-seven GOP House members sought the resignation of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders on Friday, escalating a conflict over Democrats' attacks on right-wing Republicans.

The Republicans' letter to President Clinton came two days after Elders, according to newspaper accounts, referred to the "un-Christian religious right" and added, "We've got to be strong to take on those people who are selling our children out in the name of religion."The letter did not specifically mention these remarks, but they were cited often at a news conference by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., author of the letter, other lawmakers and spokesmen for conservative Christian organizations.

"She should be using this office to fight sickness and disease and not using this office to fight parents and churches," Stearns said.

The letter said Elders "has not chosen to utilize her position to advance the general health and welfare of all Americans, but rather to advocate views antithetical to the majority of citizens."

Elders' press spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.