About the Survey
Every election year, the Maryland Catholic Conference surveys the state’s candidates for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives about their positions on issues of interest to Catholics. The responses of the Democratic and Republican primary candidates are below.
The candidates were asked to either “Agree” or “Disagree” with a list of issue statements. A blank response to a statement means the candidate did not choose a position on that issue.
Candidates also were given the opportunity to provide 75 words at the end of the survey on why Maryland Catholics should vote for them. Those comments are available on the Maryland Catholic Conference website: www.mdcatholic.org/elections.
Only candidates who responded to the survey are included. For a complete list of candidates, visit www.mdcatholic.org/elections. Each candidate received the survey by email. Non-responding candidates received three additional emails and were contacted at least once by phone.
The Maryland Catholic Conference does not endorse or oppose any candidate, under any circumstance, and no inference of endorsement or opposition should be concluded as a result of the information provided here.
Responses from all of the candidates can also be found on the Maryland Catholic Conference’s website at www.mdcatholic.org. The candidates who did not respond are listed below the survey grid.
Vote April 26, 2016 in the primary election. Early voting centers will be open starting Thursday, April 14 through Thursday, April 21. Visit http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/early_voting.html for more information and for locations.
How to Find Your State and Federal Congressional Districts
To identify your Congressional districts, go to the Maryland Catholic Conference website www.mdcatholic.org/FindYourLegislator.
S=United States Senate
H=House of Representatives
Survey Questions of Candidates
ANNAPOLIS, MD. — The Maryland Catholic Conference has canceled Catholic Lobby Night due to a winter storm warning. The event was scheduled to take place today from 2:30-9:00 p.m. in Annapolis. Lobby Night is an advocacy event that gives Catholic voters the opportunity to speak in person with their elected officials about issues.
“We appreciate all those who planned to attend but out of concern for safety, we feel this is the best decision,” Maryland Catholic Conference Executive Director Mary Ellen Russell said. “Forecasters are predicting that Anne Arundel County could see 4-6 inches of snow with the storm beginning early in the afternoon.”
Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Church’s public policy positions before the Maryland General Assembly and other civil officials.
The Conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. Approximately 1.2 million Catholics live in Maryland.
ANNAPOLIS, MD. — In his first State of the State address, Gov. Larry Hogan announced his support for the Maryland Education Credit. The legislation is dedicated to ensuring that every K-12 student in Maryland has access to high-quality, diverse, and affordable education opportunities.
The Maryland Education Credit will provide a tax credit to businesses that donate to nonprofit organizations that support public and nonpublic school students.
“We are grateful that Gov. Hogan mentioned the education tax credit issue during his State of the State address,” Maryland Catholic Conference Executive Director Mary Ellen Russell said. “We understand there are challenges in the budget but the tax credit will leverage private business support for the education of poor kids in both public and nonpublic schools. We look forward to working with the House and Senate to find funding for all students.”
For more information, visit educationmaryland.org.
Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Church’s public policy positions before the Maryland General Assembly and other civil officials. The conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. Approximately 1.2 million Catholics live in Maryland.
The month of November, which begins with the celebration of the companion feasts of the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day, offers a time for our community of faith to pray in a special way for those who have passed to eternal life. As we remember the saints in heaven, and the souls of all those who have gone before us, this time of year also offers us an opportunity to consider important questions we might face at the hour of our own or a loved one’s death.
On a spiritual level, we pray that our journey of faith each day will lead us to a deeper awareness that this life on earth is transitory, and that our true selves will not be fully revealed until we have passed through death into eternity with God. As we more fully grasp this essential reality, we see more clearly the truth of Pope Francis’ words: “Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” Read more »
The bishops of Maryland — Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington — issued the following statement on July 23:
The familiar words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” speak compellingly to us today as we witness the plight of the more than 50,000 unaccompanied children fleeing to our country to escape the violence and desperate poverty of their homelands.
Here in Maryland the Catholic Church stands ready to answer Jesus’ call to embrace the needs of these children and their families as we offer our welcome and assistance.
We cannot turn our back on these children. They are fleeing to us because they know there are warm hearts and helping hands in America – and for so many immigrants, a home in the Catholic Church, no matter where their journey takes them. We must not prove them wrong.
We also cannot ignore the complexities faced by national and local elected officials in determining a just and sustainable response to this humanitarian crisis. A delegation of U.S. bishops traveled to Central America in November 2013 to learn firsthand about the conditions causing this crisis, and have developed a resource that provides helpful background on this issue titled, “Mission to Central America: the Flight of Unaccompanied Children to the United States,” available at www.usccb.org.
Eradicating the root causes prompting this crisis, most especially the uncontrolled and terrifying violence of criminal gangs, demands challenging international solutions.
Ensuring that local communities in the United States are equipped to provide immigrant children and their families appropriate services, whether on a temporary or more long-term basis, will require a significant increase in available financial and human resources, and unprecedented cooperation among government and religious and nonprofit agencies.
We support efforts at the federal level to increase funding to provide the social and legal services necessary to serve the children seeking asylum. We too share a concern about the risk in sending these children back to uncertain or even dangerous situations in the lands they have fled.
We are also grateful that Governor O’Malley and other elected officials in Maryland have expressed a willingness to welcome to our state children who need assistance. Through our Catholic Charities and other social service agencies, our parishes, and the generosity of the many parishioners who call us daily asking how they can help, we will do all within our capacity to offer our longstanding expertise and support in helping these children and their families. Providing such help is no different than what the church has done without fail for centuries in Maryland to help those in need.
As our national and local governments continue to grapple with this difficult situation, we are hopeful that partisan differences will not stand in the way of finding a just and humane response to this urgent need. We pray that our country will be able to look back proudly at how we answered this call, and ask God to touch the hearts and minds of the people of Maryland and throughout America with compassion and generosity.
Most importantly, we entrust these children to God’s providence, for we know “You do see, for you behold misery and sorrow, taking them in your hands. On you the unfortunate man depends; of the fatherless you are the helper” (Psalm 10).
The bishops of Maryland — Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington — issued the above statement on July 23 through the Maryland Catholic Conference. Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Church’s public policy positions before the Maryland General Assembly and other civil officials. The Conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. Approximately 1.2 million Catholics live in Maryland. www.mdcathcon.org
Public Policy Positions of the Catholic Church
The Church and the Public Square
The sacredness of life and the value of human dignity form the lens through which the Church views every public policy issue, whether it involves poverty, abortion, education, the family, immigration or any other topic. Whether we are Democrat or Republican, conservative, liberal or in between, our Catholic faith should be the first and most important influence on how we think about political issues. To help Catholics understand these issues, the Maryland Catholic Conference has provided below a brief summary of policies addressed by the Church in the Public Square.
Much is at stake in the upcoming June 24 primary election in Maryland, in which candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, governor, and the Maryland General Assembly will be vying for your vote. All 188 seats in the General Assembly are up for election and more than 50 seats have been vacated by incumbents, providing an unprecedented opportunity to elect new candidates to the legislature.
During their upcoming terms, the men and women selected to represent your interests will decide many issues affecting the values the Church promotes in the public square, including the sanctity of life, the dignity of the human person, and the needs of the most vulnerable members of our society. Your vote, especially in the primary election when turnout often is low, can make a critical difference in who speaks for you in Congress and Annapolis. Make sure you know the issues, and where your candidates stand on matters that are important to your faith. As Pope Francis reminds us, “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.”
Respect for Life
ABORTION. There is an urgent need to pass legislation in Maryland that protects unborn life, and that supports women facing crisis pregnancies. Maryland is home to one of the most permissive abortion laws in the country and has some of the highest abortion rates in the nation. Maryland is one of only four states and the District of Columbia that voluntarily fund elective abortions. Maryland has no parental consent law, no meaningful parental notification law, no informed consent law, no mandatory waiting period, no abortion reporting requirement, and no ban on late-term abortion.
STEM CELLS. The killing of human embryos in embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) – no matter how good the intention– is still the destruction of human life and has not led to human cures. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have been treated with adult stem cells, which carry no ethical concerns. Yet Maryland largely ignores successful, ethical adult stem cell research and has spent more than $100 million on ESCR through the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.
END-OF-LIFE. Forces in modern culture promoting physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia seek to devalue the lives of the sick, the elderly, and the disabled under the guise of “choice.” Such measures not only discriminate by implying certain persons’ lives are not worth living, but threaten the very premise that every life is a gift from God, worthy of our protection.
Pope Francis has called on us to “challenge all forms of injustice,” including, “the throwaway culture and the culture of death that nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted.” Patients who are elderly, terminally ill, or medically fragile deserve the comforting care of loved ones and medical treatment that alleviates pain and suffering – not a prescription to commit suicide.
Education & Family Life
EDUCATION. Catholic schools are an integral part of Maryland’s educational landscape. Pope Francis has stated that “Catholic schools, which always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelization of culture.” (Evangelii Gaudium) In addition to their commitment to moral formation and community service, Catholic schools also are a fiscally valuable resource for our state. Nearly 50,000 students attend Maryland’s Catholic schools, saving the state and its taxpayers approximately $700 million every year.
While Maryland provides some support to nonpublic school students through textbook and aging school construction programs, neighboring states routinely provide their private and parochial schools hundreds of millions of dollars more in support, including through business or individual tax credits which encourage investment in education. The U.S. bishops have reminded us that the “entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.” (Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 2005)
The family is important, and it is necessary for the survival of humanity. Without the family, the cultural survival of the human race would be at risk. The family, whether we like it or not, is the foundation.
— Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2013
FAMILY LIFE. The Church upholds marriage as the union between one man and one woman and recognizes the family unit of mother, father and child as the foundation of society. The Church promotes government policies that advance stable families and their ability to provide adequate food, housing, and other basic necessities
for their children. Employment policies should provide adequate maternity leave and sufficient sick leave to allow parents to care for their own health or that of another family member.
Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid.
— Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel),
— Apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis
POVERTY. Although Maryland has one of the highest rates of per capita income in the country, 13.8 percent of Maryland’s children were living in poverty according to the 2012 American Community Survey. In order to address the pressing needs of the vulnerable, the Church encourages public policies and budget priorities that support those who often struggle through no fault of their own to maintain the basic necessities of life.
HEALTH CARE. For decades the Catholic Church has been a leading voice for universal health care access, and for health care policies that include adequate conscience protections. A person’s right to health care is based on the principle that each life has value and each life is sacred. We must provide health care for some of our most vulnerable populations, including the working poor, immigrants, persons with disabilities and the homeless.
EMPLOYMENT. The Church promotes policies that support the dignity of work, a healthy work environment, and the ability of each individual to have access to employment. “As the state’s largest private social service provider, we witness in our Catholic ministries the painful reality of those who struggle to keep up with the basic costs of food, rent, utilities and transportation. This desperate cycle cannot end unless we as a society find a way to give all capable men and women the chance to work at a job through which they can live with true independence and dignity.” (The Dignity of Work, Maryland Bishops, 2014)
IMMIGRATION. The Catholic Church supports immigration policies that uphold the moral duty to recognize documented and undocumented immigrants as truly our brothers and sisters in Christ. Immigration policies must keep families unified and protect national borders. Recent attempts to locally implement the federal responsibility of immigration enforcement raise numerous concerns including possible safety issues for immigrants too afraid to contact police. As we pray during Mass, many of us may look and realize – new immigrants are our family.
From the Maryland Catholic Conference