Remind Voters Congressional and State Posts Are Key
NEW YORK, OCT. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- New York prelates are urging citizens to get informed about the platforms of Congressional and state candidates, since they say many moral issues are decided at the state level.
This was one of the points highlighted in a statement released last week called “Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty.”
The prelates first recalled that life issues are the most important criteria when it comes to casting a ballot.
“It is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue,” they acknowledged. “But […] not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.
“The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office.”
The New York bishops further recalled that the presidential election is not the only important choice for Catholic voters this November. But, they recognized that informing oneself about other candidates can be more difficult.
“Educating ourselves for the presidential election is somewhat easier than doing so for the congressional or state legislative races, mainly because the candidates’ positions are generally better known,” they wrote. “It is often more difficult to get as good a grasp on the positions of incumbent congressional representatives and state legislators, not to mention their challengers.
“How many of us cannot even name our state senator or assembly member, let alone their electoral opponents? News accounts of positions are harder to come by, and voting records on important issues are often lacking.”
Yet, they affirmed, New York “is facing many critical issues which are of vital concern to faithful Catholics, and it is absolutely necessary for good citizens to pay attention to these races and to vote accordingly for the better candidates.”
“Many of the most compelling moral issues of the day play out at the state level,” the bishops affirmed. They noted issues such as “commonsense restrictions on abortion, whether or not to employ the death penalty, issues related to same-sex ‘marriage’ and civil unions, parental rights in education, programs to serve the poor [and] access to health insurance.”
The prelates urged voters “to learn where all the candidates for every office stand with regard to [critical issues].”