Ever since my election as president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in 1988, the commission has published a party platform comparison guide to assist Southern Baptists and other people of faith as they seek to decide for whom to cast their ballots in the presidential election.
This Party Platform Comparison Resource (iVoteValues.com) has been one of our most popular resources among rank-and-file church members. Hundreds of thousands of copies have been distributed or downloaded during the presidential elections over the past 20 years.
Instead of trying to analyze the two major parties’ positions, the ERLC just prints the Democrats’ and Republicans’ own statements or positions on the various issues within our purview as the moral concerns and public policy entity of Southern Baptists. Then people can decide for themselves, after comparing the two party platforms side by side, which one more accurately reflects their values.
For example, the Democratic Party platform includes the following:
“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
“The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.
“The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.”
Alternatively, the Republican Party platform includes the following:
“We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception.
“…we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.
“…we oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society.”
When they are compared side by side, the contrast between the two parties on “life” issues is stark and clear for all who have eyes to see–pro-life and pro-choice alike. Each voter can then make their choice accordingly.
One thing people who read the platforms of each party cannot say is, “I cannot tell any difference between the parties.”