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Platform comparison published by ERLC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Voters have a lot on their minds as they ponder which candidate to support in the upcoming presidential election — a shaky economy, the war on terrorism, the energy crisis, increasing pressure to redefine marriage as something other that what the Bible says it should be.

“With so much at stake, we all need to do our homework before we step into that voting booth,” Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has said.

To Land, voting is not an option.

“There is no reason for any voter to willingly forfeit their right to vote in this election or any other election,” Land said. Even if none of the candidates seeking the presidency exactly squares with what a voter desires in a candidate, Land said that doesn’t allow for a pass to sit at home on Election Day.

Voters don’t have to wonder where the two major U.S. political parties stand on the issues of the day, Land said, referencing the ERLC’s recently published guide that compares the Democratic and Republican platforms side by side.

The quadrennial Party Platform Comparison Guide, which covers a wide range of issues, pulls selected excerpts from both the Democratic and Republican party platforms on such issues as civil rights, human trafficking, illegal immigration, judicial appointments and stem cell research, among others.

The guides are available for download online at www.iVoteValues.com. Full-color print copies can be ordered as well.

“Many pastors are naturally suspicious of so-called ‘voter guides,'” Land acknowledged.

But, he noted, “The Party Platform Comparison Guide contains no analysis or commentary. This resource was designed to be well within the guidelines set forth under the IRS tax code for distribution within 501(C)(3) organizations.” The SBC’s entity for moral and ethical concerns has published a similar guide every presidential election since 1992.

In developing the guide, the ERLC focuses on substantive proposals and pledges from the platforms, while omitting campaign rhetoric or partisan attacks, Land said. He also noted that many topics are covered in the platforms that are not included in the comparison resource, given constraints on space in the guide.

“While the Party Platform Comparison Guide will give voters a good idea of where the two parties stand on a wide variety of subject areas, concerned voters should read the actual platforms for themselves,” Land said.

“We are hoping this will whet the appetite of those are who committed to voting their values on Election Day. An informed voter is a voter prepared to fulfill his or her civic obligations,” he said. Links to both major parties’ platforms can be found at iVoteValues.com. Each section of the guide references the page number in the respective platform from which the excerpts were pulled.

The guide also contains a summary of “Dos and Don’ts” relating to churches and pastors and electioneering in a campaign season. A more complete version is located at iVoteValues.com/legals.

Land said the guide reflects the ERLC’s commitment to help Southern Baptists and others to “vote their values, their beliefs and their convictions, not their party or their pocketbook.”

To access the Party Platform Comparison Guide in digital format, go to iVoteValues.com and click the “Party Platforms” tab. A limited number of the guides can be purchased, in 25-count bundles, from the ERLC by calling 1-800-475-9127 or at the ERLC’s online marketplace, familybookstore.net.
Dwayne Hastings is a vice president with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

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