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Commentary: 'Voter Guides' Show Bias Against Adult

Commentary: 'Voter Guides' Show Bias Against Adult

As this is written, it's three days before the election, and the numbers in the polls on single issues still aren't adding up to 100, which means that there are still apparently some "undecideds" out there.

So we have to ask: How ignorant or abysmally stupid do you have to be to be "undecided" at this late date?

Aren't the issues clear? If you're in the adult industry, can there be any question in your mind that Republicans want to put you out of a job (and possibly out of your life? That the Libertarians, who can't possibly win a national election, are the only ones likely to keep their grubby, greedy hands off the industry – and who therefore are a choice only for local positions? And that the Democrats are the best chance we have, among those who could win, to possibly-just-maybe find more important things to do with their time than worry about what people can watch in their bedrooms?

And yet ... every poll dealing with single issues – "yes" or "no"; "A" or "B" – still has a few percent of undecideds!

Well, take heart, undecideds: The religious right has stepped up to the plate to help you with a plethora of "voter guides," each carefully composed to consider all the important issues and geared to steer you down the right path ... to Republicans. (We'd provide a URL to the page on Focus on the Family's website that lists over 15 state "voter guides" – but oddly, that page seems to have disappeared ... and so close to the election, too, when undecideds would be so much in need of them! Ah, well ...)

One clue as to the guides' intent is the questions they ask. Obviously, given the orientation of the organizations asking the questions, they run heavily to religious issues, which is certainly their right ... but do they seriously think that their parishioners have no interest in whether candidates support an increase in the minimum wage? Whether they support doing more to clean up the environment? Whether Congress should do something about the $8 trillion-plus federal debt? Almost none of those questions appear on the "voter guides" we surveyed.

Here are some questions that do appear:

•"The Community Defense Act is an Initiative Petition that will set minimum statewide standards for sexually oriented businesses, requiring them to cease adult entertainment between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., and requiring nude employees to remain 6 feet away from patrons. Do you support or oppose this proposed statute for the adult business industry in Ohio?" (Ohio Election Central)

•[Do you favor or oppose] Regulating sexually-oriented businesses to the fullest extent possible under the law? (Center for Arizona Policy)

•[Do you support or oppose] Enforcing the Federal Communication Commision's ban on broadcasting indecent material? (Center for Arizona Policy)

•Do you support or oppose a federal communications law to restrict access by children to obscenity on the internet in public schools & libraries? (New Jersey Family Policy Council)

•[Do you support or oppose] Increas[ing] the penalties for violations of federal laws against the transmission of obscene, indecent, and profane materials by television and radio broadcasters? (Pennsylvania Family Institute)

•Should Internet filtering software be required on computers in public schools and libraries that receive federal funds? (North Carolina Family Policy Council)

•In Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a right to homosexual sexual relations under the U.S. Constitution. Do you believe that the Iowa Constitution recognizes a right to homosexual sexual relationships? (Iowans Concerned about Judges)

•Should the public school curriculum teach homosexuality as an acceptable, healthy lifestyle? (Association of Maryland Families)

•[Do you support or oppose] Requiring abstinence until marriage curriculum (exclusively) where sex education classes are taught in public schools? (Family First [Nebraska])

•[Do you favor or oppose] Halt[ing] governmental funding of the National Endowment for the Arts? (Free Market Foundation, Texas)

•Some believe that the United States Constitution should always be strictly construed according to its plain and ordinary terms. Others believe that the Constitution is a living document and should always be construed in the context of current events. On a scale of one to ten, with one being a strict constructionist and ten being a contextualist, please identify your philosophical approach to construing the United States Constitution. (Family Trust Foundation of Kentucky) (asked of candidates for Ky. Supreme Court)

•Should Congress selectively remove the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts when they fail to observe the separation of powers? (Indiana Family Institute)

•Should the U.S. enter into treaties that give multi-national bodies jurisdiction within the U.S.? (Association of Maryland Families)

•[Do you support or oppose] Amend[ing] the US Constitution to establish the personhood of a child from the moment of fertilization? (Family Research Institute of Wisconsin)

•[Do you support or oppose] Federal funding of Planned Parenthood and any other organization that performs abortions both in the U.S. and abroad (even if they use money from other sources)? (Illinois Family Institute)

•[Do you] Support withholding federal funding from being used to enforce a provision requiring trigger locks on guns? (South Dakota Family Policy Council)

•In Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments on the walls of a public school classroom was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Do you agree with the result that posting a copy of the Ten Commandments in a public school classroom violated the U.S. Constitution? (Iowans Concerned about Judges)

•Since the reality of global warming has yet to be proved, the federal government should not waste tax dollars trying to fight it? (Family Trust Foundation of Kentucky)

•[Do you] Support legalizing medical marijuana? (South Dakota Family Policy Council)

•Should slot machines be allowed in Maryland? (Association of Maryland Families)

•[Do you] Support prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives in schools? (South Dakota Family Policy Council)

•Should an individual's personal religious beliefs influence the decisions they make while serving in a public office? (North Carolina Family Policy Council)

(Gosh, that's a no-brainer, isn't it? At least for these theocrats ...)

And then, of course, there are the questions that are on virtually every questionaire, though a couple might surprise you:

•Should the United States Constitution be amended to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman?

•Should the stem cells of a human embryo be used for research purposes if the act of obtaining the stem cells results in the destruction of the human embryo?

•Do you support or oppose legislation that prohibits the use of family planning funds providing contraceptives and abortions for unmarried minors without parental consent?

•Should abortion be prohibited by law, except when the life of the mother is in danger?

•Should the transportation of a minor across state lines in order to evade laws requiring parental consent for abortion be prohibited?

•Should "sexual orientation" be added as a protected class under federal hate crime laws?

•Do you support granting homosexual, bisexual or transgender persons special legal employment protections under federal anti-discrimination laws?

•Do you support allowing workers to place a portion of their social security payroll tax into private retirement accounts?

•Do you support allowing families to save money tax free to pay for tuition at private schools and tutoring and other public, K-12 educational expenses?

•Do you support or oppose increased funding to develop a national missile defense system such as the Strategic Defense Initiative Program? [Star Wars lives!-MK]

•Should the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act be amended to place further restrictions on the establishment and expansion of gambling by Indian Tribes in the United States?

•Should Internet gambling be prohibited?

•Should a display of the Ten Commandments be allowed in public buildings?

Now, you may find it hard to believe, but in most cases, the Democratic candidates in the districts being surveyed declined to respond to this load of horseshit – but that didn't stop some of the more "creative" guide composers:

"Every candidate was sent a 2006 Candidate Issues Survey by certified mail or facsimile machine," wrote the Christian Coalition of Florida. "When possible, positions of candidates on issues were verified."

In other words, where candidates didn't respond to the survey, these jackasses made up the answers based on the candidate's voting record or public statements!

Some were a bit more honest about it:

"In some cases, candidates chose not to answer our questionnaire or did not respond, despite several attempts to contact them," noted the Illinois Family Institute. "In the case of incumbents who did not answer our questionnaire, we have indicated their positions on the questions based on specific votes cast during their tenure. For those candidates for whom we have no response, we encourage you to contact and question them directly."

In other words, this guide is only useful for incumbents and freshman Republicans, and depending on how a specific question is worded, may not even give an accurate picture of how a Democratic incumbent voted!

Welcome to the world of religious voter guides! Or, as the Center for Arizona Policy puts it, "An Impartial, Nonpartisan Look at the November 7, 2006 General Election!"

Right!

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Mark Kernes

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