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The Abstinence-Only Caucus

Published April 7, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The public groundswell that led to Gov. Gary Herbert's veto of House Bill 363, which would have allowed school districts to drop sex education and restricted those that kept it to abstinence-only instruction, has inspired me to organize a powerful new force for truth and goodness on Capitol Hill: the Abstinence-Only Caucus.

This group can be a great aid in strengthening the willpower of impressionable candidates for public office to resist the temptations that will inevitably confront them, so, begging the reader's indulgence, I will address them directly:

Dear candidate:

Corruption and decadence pervade our society. You are encompassed by negative influences, all of which seek to steer you from the path of virtue.

Nowhere are these grave risks more apparent than in the halls of political power. For example, you may be tempted to succumb to lobbyists who appear glamorous and exciting. Their base enticements promise instant gratification, false pleasure and an alluring life of ease.

Do not be deceived!

As a member of the Abstinence-Only Caucus, you will learn firsthand that the sole method proven to be 100 percent effective in avoiding the plagues spread by special interest groups is abstinence before the election and fidelity to our caucus principles thereafter.

You will learn how to Just Say No to campaign cash, lavish gifts and other freebies foisted upon you in nightclubs, dark hallways and smoke-filled rooms. As a caucus member, you will soon come to realize that there is no such thing as "safe legislating," except by adherence to our guiding tenets.

Sinister lobbyists, dressed in the seductive garb of special interest groups, would have you believe that one check won't hurt, or one dinner will make no difference in your efforts to remain a virtuous legislator. Indeed, they will strive to instruct you in the use of needle and syringe, and yet have you believe that you can then resist using intravenous drugs!

The modern media and its political pundits make indulging in lobbyist largesse look normal and acceptable, but, through the work of the Abstinence-Only Caucus, you will learn how to avoid encouraging, advocating or even discussing the depravity of these extra-legislative affairs.

The teachings of the Abstinence-Only Caucus may seem restrictive, but in reality they offer freedom — freedom to legislators who are no longer beholden to their base desires, and freedom to lobbyists, whose principals and boards don't really want to advance dangerous doctrines anyway.

To candidates whose values are not in harmony with the righteous precepts of the Abstinence-Only Caucus, we assure you that membership in the caucus is strictly opt-in.

This means that only those who voluntarily choose to practice special-interest abstinence will be taught caucus principles.

All other candidates will learn another lesson in a dining room at the Alta Club.

Now that the campaign has begun, checks and other trinkets will begin arriving in your mail, often in plain, brown wrappers, or in otherwise nondescript envelopes, packages or tubes. When this happens, the Abstinence-Only Caucus urges you to heed the timeless words of Shakespeare and "screw your courage to the sticking-place" by sending the immoral booty right back from whence it came.

We promise you that such upright behavior, practiced repeatedly and consistently, will produce mature, healthy relationships with lobbyists and special interest groups, relationships that will last a lifetime, based on mutual respect, affection and virtue.

Kraig Powell is a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, representing Duchesne, Uintah and Wasatch counties. An attorney, he lives in Heber City, where he directs his church choir. And, yes, he is an Eagle Scout.