The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 31, 1996 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 31, 1996
Page 12
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C2 THURSDAY. OCTOBER 31, 1996 CAMPAIGIM 'OB THE SALINA JOURNAL T CHRISTIAN COALITION VOTER GUIDES Christian voter guides have effect on election Democrats battle info that comes out on final weekend backing GOP By MATT TRUELL The Associated Press TOPEKA — Conservative religious groups distributing political literature at churches before Election Day have had some effect on Kansas politics recently. The llth-hour political attacks have been directed against Democrats in general elections and certain Republicans in primaries. U.S. Sen. Sheila Frahm, state Sens. Lillian Papay of Great Bend and Marian Reynolds of Dodge City and state Rep. Belva Ott of Wichita, all Republicans, were the objects of last-minute leaflet bombardments during last summer's primary campaign. All four support a woman's right to an abortion; all four lost in the primary. Democrats say they are expecting the same thing to occur this weekend. "We'll get out and work our butts off that weekend, too," said Brett Cott, executive director of the state Democratic Party. "We're not going to lay down and roll over." A new organization, called Speak Up, America, with former state Rep. Nancy Brown, R-Stanley, on its board, has started airing three commercial spots to counteract whatever leafletting might occur. "We cannot remain silent and watch as our nation becomes embroiled in a religious war in the name of politics, or a political war in the name of religion," she said. "Members of both political parties and all faiths must speak up before our democracy becomes a theocracy." Mike Welton, executive director of Christian Coalition of Kansas, the most prominent group, said "tens of thousands" of voter guides are being distributed this weekend. "It makes a comparison for people who are concerned about how public policy pertains to the family," he said. "Our purpose is to return family to the center of public policy in Kansas. Whenever there's a decision being made, we want them to 'think first about how it affects the family." He emphasized that the Christ- ian Coalition is not a political group. The guide has the disclaimer: "This voter guide is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any candidate or political party." "I view it strictly as an informational thing," said Mary Zoschke, communications director for the Kansas Republican Party. "It's not really a slate (of candidates being endorsed). I don't think it's a persuasive tool." The guide surveys legislative candidates on four issues — reduce spending by cutting taxes, prohibit abortion on demand, teach abstinence versus safe sex and a ban on same-sex marriage. Candidates can either support, oppose, be undecided, unclear or make no response to questions. The coalition also surveys four candidates for the Kansas State Board of Education, two Republicans and two Democrats, on the same issues. For federal candidates — including presidential contenders Bill Clinton and Bob Dole — the issues include the balanced budget amendment, a 15 percent federal in- come tax cut, banning partial birth abortions, taxpayer funding for abortion, voluntary school prayer, public and private school choice, homosexuals in the military, repeal of the federal firearm ban and taxpayer funding of obscene art. "I think you'd have to view them as quite effective," said Sen. Mike Harris, R-Wichita, a conservative who is not a member of the coalition but is one of the Legislature's leading anti-abortion members. "There are a lot of people who are not politically tuned in at all that rely on those (leaflets) to tell them where the candidates stand on certain issues. I think the people that these are distributed to are looking at who is the pro-life candidate, who is the Christian candidate, who is the conservative candidate." But some candidates claim the Christian Coalition has mounted a smear campaign in past elections, planting flyers under car windshields in church parking lots and going door-to-door with leaflets. Welton said the coalition publishes only the voters guide and a "scorecard" after the Legislature convenes. It always identifies it- self in its publications. State Sen. Lillian Papay, R- Great Bend, who was defeated in the August primary, attributes her defeat to the last-minute campaigning. Phone callers contacting voters told them she was a friend of Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who performs abortions, she said. "I think people are sick and tired of this," Papay said. "This is nothing but a power struggle by people who want power and they're hiding behind Christianity." Welton said the Christian Coalition did not misrepresent Papay's position. OK :K i NSC ->?M ri 11 .AIR us For MOVIE Selections and SHOWTIMES Call: 825-9105 We've gone world wide web! Many people write to God. Somebody is answering. GREG KINNEAR DEAR GOD fPGI Central Mall;>' STARTS FRIDAY Docking's views allegedly incorrect Campaign says voter guide misrepresents position on obscene art By MIKE SHIELDS Harris News Service TOPEKA — If all goes as planned Sunday, thousands of Kansas church-goers will be handed Christian Coalition voter education guides telling them that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jill Docking favors "taxpayer funding of obscene art." Her Republican opponent, Sam Brownback, is against obscene art, according to the pamphlet, which includes a fine-print disclaimer at its bottom: "This voter guide is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any candidate or political party." "She (Docking) does not support taxpayer funding of pornography," said Scott Swenson, a spokesman for the Wichita stockbroker. "It's absurd to suggest that she does. I'd like to know — as far as the Christian Coalition is concerned — whatever happened to thou shalt not bear false witness? "I think it's real clear who the Christian Coalition supports in this race: Sam Brownback. So, it's no surprise they're coming out and lying about Jill Docking. As a T KANSAS SENATE White says ads are accurate By The Journal Staff State Senate candidate Allan White Wednesday defended his campaign advertisements charging that his opponent, Sen. Ben Vidricksen, has collected "thousands of dollars" from tobacco, alcohol and gambling causes. Vidricksen's latest campaign spending report, filed this week, showed $1,300 in contributions from so-called sin organizations. Total contributions for the three- month period were $32,730. White said his ads are based on contributions to Vidricksen in this "election cycle," which dates back to Vidricksen's re-election in 1992. With that time frame, donations totaling $4,150 have been given to Vidricksen from such entities as cigarette makers Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, the Tobacco Institute, Wichita Greyhound Park and beer brewer Anheuser Busch. Those contributions amount to about 7.4 percent of the $55,643 donated to Vidricksen over the four- year period, including the latest reporting period. "Seven percent? So what?" Vidricksen said. He said the money buys no influence. Vidricksen, 69, 1427 W. Republic, said he is anti-tobacco, has no disagreement with the beer industry and is a supporter of gambling because of the greyhound industry at Abilene. White, 46, 112 W. Neal Court, sees donated money as a measure of influence, which is why he raised the issue. Vidricksen disagrees and charges that White has received money from labor unions and trial lawyers. Vidricksen said White's challenge of his campaign contributions is a reflection of polls showing Vidricksen in the lead for the 24th District Senate seat. Christian myself, I find it offensive. But that's politics." Michael Welton, Lenexa, state director of the Coalition, said Wednesday that the group's voter guides will be distributed at 500 to 1,000 churches Sunday. He said the claim Docking supports obscene art is accurate because she stated in a national Christian Coalition survey that she favors continued funding for the National Endowment of the Arts. "Obscene is a subjective term, obviously," Welton said. "But our constituency would agree that (a depiction of) someone urinating on Jesus Christ is obscene, and we're not sending the guide out to the general public." The guide also reports that Docking is undecided about a ban on partial-birth abortions even though she has stated repeatedly during her campaign that she would have voted to override President Bill Clinton's recent veto of such a ban. Welton said Docking probably decided she opposed partial-birth abortion midway through the campaign and then neglected to tell the Christian Coalition she. changed her views on the subject. A spokesman for the Christian Coalition national office, which prepared the guide, said, "Jill's answers on the voter guide are taken exactly from the question- naire," a 91-question survey sent by Docking to the group in July. At 'least one church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Wichita, distributed the guide last Sunday. There the guide was inserted in the church bulletin" The Rev. Jerome Beat, leader of the 550-family congregation, said he since regrets that the Coalition's guide was passed out at his church because of its questionable accuracy and because of protests from a staunchly Democratic parishioner who said it was unfair. "I don't think I'd do it again," Beat said. "I have my doubts now whether that was a wise thing to do. The important thing for us is that as far as legal concerns go, we're not in any problem." Beat'was referring to the fact that religious and other nonprofit organizations can lose their tax- exempt status if they are found to be engaging in partisan political activity. Beat said a better voter guide was published in Wichita's Catholic diocesan newspaper, but that it was rather complicated. "The Christian Coalition guide was simpler and easier to understand," Beat said. llth Annuallbilene Gun .Show Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 9 am-5 pm Sunday, Nov. 3rd, 9 am- 4pm STERL HALL On The Abilene Fairgrounds West on 3rd Street to Rogers then 2 blocks North. • Rifles • Shot Guns • Knives • Handguns • Reloading Supplies • War Memorabilia • Collector Coins & Ball Cards SAFETY FIRST! - No Loaded Weapons Allowed - All Guns Will Be Checked At The Door For Your Safety. Food Served Both Days - Herington Boy Scouts ADMISSION ONLY $2.00 Children under 12 FREE with adult admission Not Responsible For Accidents 24 Hour Professional Armed Security Commissioned Law Enforcement Officers Sponsored By The Dickinson County Law Enforcement Reserves ecializing ome loans tailored to suit your needs Come in, meet our staff and tour our new facility. 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