What should we be looking for in leaders?

“Those with political responsibilities must not forget or underestimate the moral dimension of political representation, which consists in the commitment to share fully in the destiny of the people and to seek solutions to social problems. In this perspective, responsible authority also means authority exercised with those virtues that make it possible to put power into practice as service (patience, modesty, moderation, charity, efforts to share), an authority exercised by persons who are able to accept the common good, and not prestige or the gaining of personal advantages, as the true goal of their work.”

(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 410)

Welcome to the many new members of our legislative network. We hope you will find our newsletter and actions alerts helpful in your decision-making about how to get involved in the political life of our state and country.

As you know, Election Day is coming up on Nov. 8 although in-person voting has begun at some polling places and absentee ballots are available. Go to sos.iowa.gov for a list of polling places or to start the process of requesting an absentee ballot. If you are not yet registered to vote, go to myiowavote.com by Oct. 29.

We have a duty to inform ourselves about issues and candidates so we can vote with a properly-formed conscience. As Pope Francis recently said about voting, “Study the proposals well, pray, and choose in conscience.” Go to our website for more information on Faithful Citizenship.

While many are concerned about our choices at the presidential level, there’s much we can do and should do right here in Iowa. All of the seats in the Iowa House and half of the Senate are up for election this fall. Many candidates and volunteers are knocking on doors and hosting events. Now’s the time to make contact – click here for contact information and a list of candidates in Iowa.

What would happen if each of you contacted local candidates about a few of the questions listed in the Iowa bishop’s Faithful Citizenship for Iowa Catholics document? A recent survey of conducted by EdChoice showed a majority of legislators have a high degree of trust in communications from constituents when making decisions about K-12 education policy – better than when they hear from lobbyists. No doubt the same thing is true on other topics. That’s why it’s so important for you to get involved.

Speaking of getting involved, we encourage you to contact the American Medical Association (AMA) and ask the group to continue its opposition to doctor-prescribed suicide. Last summer, the AMA’s House of Delegates adopted a resolution to consider changing the AMA’s decades-long position against doctor-prescribed suicide to one of “neutrality.” The AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) will study this proposed change and provide a recommendation to the House of Delegates for its June 2017 meeting. Please click on this link for a sample message to the AMA. Thanks for your help.

INTERFAITH LEADERS CALL ON PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO REJECT BIASED RELIGIOUS LIBERTY REPORT

Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, joined leaders from diverse faiths in writing to President Barack Obama, Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, and House Speaker Paul Ryan concerning a report released last month by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The letter calls upon these political leaders “to renounce publicly the [report’s] claim that ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious liberty’ are ‘code words’ or a ‘pretext’ for various forms of discrimination.”

The signatories went on to state that “[e]ach of us opposes hateful rhetoric and actions. We believe in the equality of all Americans before the law, regardless of creed or community. But we are both determined and unafraid to speak the truth about beliefs we have held for millennia. A robust and respectful debate over ideas is not something harmful to be demonized. Rather, debate is good for our democracy, and should be encouraged. Slandering ideas and arguments with which one disagrees as ‘racism’ or ‘phobia’…only cheapens the meaning of those words.”

Signatories of the letter include Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Baha’i, Mormon, African Methodist Episcopal, Southern Baptist, and Evangelical leaders as well as leaders of non-religious organizations.

ICC’s 50th ANNIVERSARY

img_0001As we mentioned last month, the Iowa Catholic Conference is marking its 50th anniversary. Here you can see a photo of our very first newsletter from April 1968. A couple of interesting notes from the newsletter:

The ICC formed a Social Welfare Department with its own director to help Catholic Charities implement the “most effective methods of meeting the welfare needs of the people of Iowa.”

On April 15, 1968, there was to be an organizational meeting in Des Moines of the Protection-of-Life Committee by citizens “concerned about the national campaign for legislation to allow abortion on demand.”

We’ll be back in touch soon. If you haven’t voted yet, make sure you put your decision-making as a part of your prayer life.