Iowa Catholic Conference releases ‘Faithful Citizenship’ document, details political issues to have in mind ahead of election

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The Iowa Catholic Conference releases its “Faithful Citizenship” document for Iowa Catholics. At the top of their document, a paragraph about COVID-19.

“The threat of the coronavirus pandemic: Many of us live in fear for our lives and our livelihood because of the threat of COVID-19. We need elected leaders who will act out of concern for public health, including by
their example of practicing the safety precautions, in order to ensure the safety of the workforce and students in schools.”

The next paragraph talks about forces that threaten “the unborn with abortion, prisoners with the death penalty or the aged and terminally ill with physician-assisted suicide.”

“We need elected officials who will be guided by science to recognize as a human person the child in the womb, the aged person in a sick bed and all others, respecting the sacredness and dignity of all human life.”

The Catholic Conference also calls for elected officials who will enact laws that “dismantle institutional racism.”

The document also expresses concern for DACA recipients.

“We need elected officials who will stop talking and start acting to reform our broken, outdated immigration system, in order to accommodate these family-oriented, God-fearing, Church-going people, who cam here for work to feed, clothe and house their families.”

The Iowa Catholic Conference lists the following legislative principles:

HUMAN LIFE & DIGNITY: Human life should be protected from conception until natural death as a basic requirement of a just and moral society. It should be recognized that God created each person as male and female. Every person is entitled to basic human necessities, such as food, housing, clean water and air, education, health care, and productive work for fair wages.

ABORTION: The unborn have a right to be protected against the violence of abortion. (Legislative example: A state constitutional amendment to clarify that the Iowa Constitution does not grant a right to an
abortion)

EDUCATION: Parents have the right to choose the kind of education best suited to the needs of their children. Public policy should assist parents in exercising that right. (Legislative example: Education Savings Accounts)

RACISM: Racism, both individual and systemic, is an evil which endures in our society and should be condemned. Policies should be promoted that will combat racism and its effects in our civic and social institutions. (Legislative example: Addressing racial
profiling by law enforcement)

CARE OF CREATION: “… We live in a common home which God has entrusted to us … It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be
concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us.” (Laudato Si, #232, #160) (Legislative example: adequate funding for enforcement of environmental laws; support of energy efficiency programs)

ECONOMIC CONCERNS: Government should give the needs of the poor and vulnerable preferential consideration. (Legislative example: protection of
food assistance programs; measures to increase the availability of affordable housing)

HEALTH CARE: Health care is a human right (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, #166) and essential to protecting human life and dignity, especially for those who may be vulnerable, such as the elderly, the poor, or those with disabilities. (Legislative example: support additional funding for mental health services; oppose additional work reporting requirements for Medicaid)

IMMIGRATION: Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland. While sovereign nations have the right to control their borders, the Church recognizes that persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families. The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected. (Legislative example: opposing additional local enforcement of federal immigration laws)

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: Government should recognize the First Amendment right of religious groups, including religious minorities, to practice their faith and still participate fully in public life. (Legislative
example: support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act)

The document ends with a call for engaging with civility.

“One thing that might help us build a ‘culture of encounter’ with those we might disagree with is to practice civility,” it says. “Because we have many Catholics all over the political spectrum, the Catholic Church is one of the institutions in the country that is well-positioned to bridge the gap of divisiveness.”

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall