2023 Iowa Catholic Conference
HUMAN LIFE AND DIGNITY
All men and women have been created in the image and likeness of God. Human life should be protected from conception until natural death as a basic requirement of a just and moral society.
- Every person has basic human rights and is entitled to basic human necessities, such as food, housing, clean water and air, education, health care, and productive work for fair wages.
- Threats to human life from abortion, the death penalty or assisted suicide are never acceptable.
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.
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.
Care of Creation
God created the world and entrusted it to us as a gift. We have the responsibility to care for and protect it and all people, who are part of creation.
Government should give the needs of the poor and vulnerable preferential consideration.
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, and those with disabilities.
“The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2241). The Church also recognizes the right of a sovereign nation to secure its borders in furtherance of the common good.
Marriage and Families
Public policy should do no harm to marriage. The first and fundamental structure is the family, “founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self by husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity and prepare to face their unique and individual destiny” Centesimus Annus, No. 39.
Government should recognize the First Amendment right of religious groups, including religious minorities, to practice their faith consistently in their personal and public lives.
Responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration are the foundation for the necessary reform of our broken criminal justice system. Retributive justice should be practiced in complement with restorative principles.
2023 Iowa Catholic Conference
The Iowa Catholic Conference’s legislative priorities were formulated in consultation with its Human Life and Dignity Committee and Education Committee and approved by the Iowa Catholic Conference Board of Directors. Items may be added or withdrawn as the situation requires. For more information on taking action, consult the Iowa Catholic Conference website at www.iowacatholicconference.org.
The Iowa Catholic Conference supports:
- An Education Savings Account program to assist parents of nonpublic school students
- Initiatives which would make health care more readily available and affordable to all Iowans, including immigrants and their children, and increase the availability of mental health care, palliative care and hospice service
- Limiting the harm of abortion to the greatest extent possible in Iowa law
- Enhancing support for pregnant mothers, babies and families in need
- Assistance for the resettlement of refugees
- Measures to promote healthy families such as increasing the state’s minimum wage, increasing the availability of affordable housing and addressing food insecurity
- Programs to assist persons re-entering the community from incarceration
- Legislation to create a life sentence review committee
- Strengthening Iowa’s small towns and rural communities.
The Iowa Catholic Conference opposes:
- Weakening the efficiency or access to food stamps and Medicaid
- Reinstatement of the death penalty
- Maintain current levels of state enforcement of federal immigration laws
- Legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia
These commitments are a natural development of the words we hear in Scripture. We are to love our neighbor as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). We are to bring “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and to set the downtrodden free,” as Jesus says in Luke, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-2; 58:6). We look to Exodus, chapter 20, which tells us, “You shall not kill.”