2020 Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Principles
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.
HUMAN LIFE AND DIGNITY
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.
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)
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, or 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 promotion of family unity should be a priority of our immigration system. Another duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good.
Marriage and Families
Public policy should do no harm to marriage. The family is a fundamental structure for helping people thrive, “founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self as 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.
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.
Government should recognize the First Amendment right of religious groups, including religious minorities, to practice their faith and still participate fully in public life.
Responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration are the foundation for the necessary reform of our broken criminal justice system. Retributive justice should be replaced with restorative principles tailored with mercy.
2020 Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Concerns
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.
The Iowa Catholic Conference supports:
- An Education Savings Account program and enhancements to the School Tuition Organization tax credit
- Initiatives which would make health care more readily available and affordable to all Iowans, including immigrants and their children
- Increased availability of mental health care, palliative care and hospice service
- Programs to alleviate substance abuse
- Addressing pornography as a public health concern
- A state constitutional amendment to clarify that the Iowa Constitution does not grant a right to an abortion
- Legislation providing for a provisional driver’s license for undocumented immigrants
- 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
- Legislation to protect residents from racial profiling
- Programs to assist persons re-entering the community from incarceration
- Providing voting rights to those who have been convicted of felonies and have completed their sentence
- Passage of legislation enabling Gun Violence Restraining Orders
- Legislation to fight human trafficking
- Strict enforcement of environmental laws and adequate state funding for this purpose
- Efforts to expand energy efficiency programs
The Iowa Catholic Conference opposes:
- Reinstatement of the death penalty
- Legislation that would restrict the state’s ability to regulate weapons
- Authorizing state and local police to conduct additional enforcement of federal immigration laws
- Legalization of physician-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.”