“With the American midterm elections looming close, issues such as Church-State relations and the religious beliefs of candidates are surfacing again.
Pundits have speculated about the way religious affiliations will affect voters, especially with controversies such as health care reform and changes to immigration laws still fresh.
Earlier this month the seven Catholic bishops published a statement offering guidelines to help people evaluate which candidates it would be suitable to vote for. Catholics, they said, should judge political matters through the lens of faith and not be guided by self interest or party loyalty alone.
The bishops mentioned a number of issues, ranging from life matters to war and peace and education. It’s rare, they admitted, to find a candidate who agrees with the Church on every matter, but not all have the same weight.
Following the recommendation of the 2008 document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” issued by the U.S. bishops the New York prelates stated: “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.”
“Religion has a legitimate role in the public square, the Pontiff stated, and should not be marginalized.”