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Political platform resource ready to help voters compare


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) - Becoming informed on spending habits of the federal government or public policy issues of elected officials could be elusive for voters before casting a ballot Nov. 2.

Helping fill that need is the 2004 issue of the Political Party Platform Comparison resource, the latest element of the initiative. The eight-page resource, which includes a side-by-side, straight-up comparison of the two major parties' platforms on a wide range of topics, is a nonpartisan glimpse at what each party believes.

Published by the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in cooperation with Baptist Press, the supply of a similar product was exhausted after three printings in 2000.

The voter resource examines each party's views on some of America's most important public policy and ethical issues in order to help individuals determine which candidate best represents their values and convictions.

ERLC President Richard Land said in producing the document, which is also included in the most recent issue of the entity's For Faith & Family magazine, staffers took great care to ensure the content was balanced between the two parties, a difficult task considering that more than 120 pages of campaign platforms had to be winnowed down to fit in the publication.

In producing the platform comparison piece, the ERLC worked closely with attorneys familiar with the federal tax code to make the product suitable and safe for distribution by 501(c)(3) groups, such as churches, Land said. He made it clear the platform comparison shared little in common with voter guides done by other groups that simply examine voting records or candidates' statements on certain issues.

Issues such as gun ownership, school choice, stem cell research, education, federal spending, job creation and abortion are addressed in the resource, Land said.

While the product addresses the Democratic and Republican platforms, there are other parties voters can consider, Land added, noting the presence of the Constitution Party, the Reform Party and the Green Party as a few of the other political parties that field candidates for office.