Questions for Candidates
by Christopher Dodson
Executive Director, North Dakota Catholic Conference
October 2012

The right to vote carries with it a responsibility to study and know the candidates. As citizens of faith, we are led to question, according to our foundational beliefs, how each congressional candidate if elected will address our nation’s issues. There are moral and ethical dimensions to every public policy. However, issues carry different moral weight and urgency. Some involve matters of intrinsic evil that can never be supported, such as the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life. Others involve an obligation to seek the common good.

The following questions are offered to assist in discerning where the stand on issues concerning the protection of human life and the promotion of a just society.

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Where Does the Candidate for State Office Stand On:

The Sanctity of Human Life & the Dignity of the Human Person
Protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing state resources to ending abortion?
Ensuring that state health care programs respect the human life and dignity
Preserving the state bans on assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, and embryonic research?
Prohibiting the intentional destruction of human embryos?

Religious Freedom
The right to provide public services without violating faith and conscience?
The freedom of religious entities to provide services no matter what the recipient's faith or legal status?
Providing the highest level of legal protection for religious freedom without unduly infringing upon the legitimate and compelling interests of the state?
Protecting the right of employers to provide health insurance for their employees without violating the employer's conscience or religious beliefs?

Marriage and Family Life
Preserving the unique and special role of civil marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman?
Supporting pregnant women in need and the centers that serve them?
Respecting the freedom of parents to educate their children, especially in matters of moral development?
Expanding educational choice for all families?
Treating all immigrants with dignity and respect?

Care for the Poor & Vulnerable
A safety-net for families with children living in poverty?
The provision of social and community services for the stranger among us, including those with disabilities, mental illness, or addiction problems?
Ensuring safe and affordable housing?
A guardianship system that protects and serves the state’s vulnerable persons?

The Economy
Policies that ensure a just wage?
Allowing workers to form associations to collectively represent their interests?
Policies to protect and foster family farms, rural communities, good stewardship of natural resources, and the right of local communities to regulate for the common good?
Economic development that respects families, the common good, creation, and the dignity of the human person?

Where Does the Candidate Candidate for Federal Office Stand On:

The Sanctity of Human Life & the Dignity of the Human Person
Protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing federal resources to ending abortion?
Prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for or provide insurance coverage for elective abortions?
Prohibiting the use of federal funds for research that relies upon destroying human embryos (i.e., embryonic stem-cell research)?

Religious Liberty
Allowing individuals and businesses, including religious organizations, to offer employee benefits and services to the public in accordance with their religious beliefs?

Preserving the unique and special role of civil marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman?

Legislation that ensures the integrity of our borders, fosters family reunification and provides a path to citizenship for the undocumented who have lived in the United States for a number of years, and do not have a criminal record?

Budget policies with adequate revenues to put a circle of protection around programs that serve poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad?


Providing federal tax relief (i.e., income-tax credits or deductions) for education expenses incurred by families in choosing any K-12 school they deem best suited for the education of their children?
Reauthorizing the current provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure that all public and nonpublic schoolchildren receive equitable services?

Agriculture/Rural Development
Targeting income support and premium subsidies for crop insurance to small and moderate-sized, family-owned-and-operated farms and ranches?

Foreign Policy
Linking decisions on U.S. military aid to a country’s record on religious freedom and other basic human rights?
Maintaining and increasing funding for poverty-focused development assistance to poor countries and communities?