October 12, 2012

U.S. Senate candidates weigh in on a number of issues

(Editor’s note: During the month of October, the Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC), the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Indiana, is offering area Catholics a three-part series of articles profiling statewide elected officials, including the candidates for Indiana governor, U.S. Senate and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. In each article, the candidates are asked pertinent questions that relate to the office which they seek to hold. The questions and answers will appear in their entirety. The articles are designed to serve as a resource for Catholics. This week, we share a question-and-answer interview with the candidates for U.S. Senate.)

By Brigid Curtis Ayer

In a matter of weeks, millions of U.S. Catholics will enter the voting booth to cast their votes.

According to The Official Catholic Directory published by P.J. Kenedy and Sons, approximately 700,000 Catholics live in Indiana. These residents will have the opportunity to make their mark on the national canvas by electing several office holders, including one U.S. senator from Indiana.

Three U.S. Senate candidates are seeking the office. Richard Mourdock, Indiana state treasurer, is the Republican candidate. Congressman Joe Donnelly, who is currently serving the second Congressional district, is on the Democrat ticket. And Andrew Horning, who works in the cardiovascular health care industry, is on the Libertarian ticket.

All three candidates were invited to participate in the ICC election series. Their responses appear in alphabetical order.

Responses from U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly

Q. What is your position in regard to protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing federal resources to ending abortion?

A. “I believe human life is sacred, and I value it in all its forms. I oppose abortion, am pro-life, and believe that government policies should encourage life and make it easier for parents to adopt children.”

Q. We hear much about the economy, but what is to be done about the moral imperative of pervasive poverty? What would you do to address the problem of pervasive poverty? What policies/paths do you offer to overcome it?

A. “I often say that the best social program is a job for mom and dad, and that means giving Hoosier men and women the skills and education they need to compete while working with local businesses to provide them with the environment they need to grow. To that end, we need to make sure local educational institutions are teaching the skills employers need now.”

Q. How would you balance the problem of public debt, making it manageable, as it relates to the moral obligation of providing for the least?

A. “We must get our fiscal house in order, which is why I have supported almost $2.4 trillion in spending cuts, and have given back over $600,000 from my office budgets since coming to Congress. Yet, we cannot balance our budgets on the backs of the least among us, seniors, students and veterans, like the budget [one of my opponents] Richard Mourdock supports.”

Q. What is your position on legislation and regulations that force health care providers to provide, pay for or refer for services contrary to their conscience for moral or religious reasons?

A. “There is a common-sense solution that needs to be found, one that protects access to health services while also ensuring that religiously affiliated institutions are not required to act against their religious beliefs. Finding common ground can be achieved administratively. Religious institutions have the clear right to pursue this option through the courts as well. I am confident a solution can be found.”

Q. What immigration policy would you pursue that would protect the human dignity of all persons?

A. “Our country has a rich history of legal immigration and, to that end, I support those who travel to this country legally. I support bipartisan efforts to immigration reform as no one party gets it right 100 percent of the time. We will need to work together to fix the immigration system in our country.”

Q. Do you support or oppose the overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act?

A. “I oppose overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman as it is defined under both Indiana and federal law. I also believe that current Indiana and federal laws adequately address the issue of same sex-marriage and should remain in place.”
 

Responses from Andrew Horning

Q. What is your position in regard to protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing federal resources to ending abortion?

A. “I’ve been a fan of [Congressman] Ron Paul’s pro-life plan to remove abortion from the appellate jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court. Clarifying who gets constitutional rights [all humans], as Dr. Paul and others have proposed, is something I could get behind. Overturning Roe v. Wade as law, of course, would be a no-brainer.

“And I’d likely support legislation to clarify certain interstate abortion/life issues that cross state lines. (If a father has to pay child support if a child is born, why couldn’t he have some say over whether the child can live, for example. … This issue often crosses state lines.) But murder is, unless it does cross state lines, a state issue.

“There are other things related to this that should get more attention than just abortion, in my opinion. Since few of us have any stomach for imprisoning more people for more things, we need to think more about prevention. So I’d get behind proposals to reduce barriers to adoption or reduce the disparity between reproductive and fiduciary rights between men, women and politics.”

Q. We hear much about the economy, but what is to be done about the moral imperative of pervasive poverty? What would you do to address the problem of pervasive poverty? What policies/paths do you offer to overcome it?

A. “Take away from Caesar what we should never have surrendered unto Caesar! I’d cut federal government down to its constitutionally authorized, legitimate size, and thereby remove the impediments to success we’ve imposed upon our citizens. The opportunity costs of our crony capitalism, corrupt and lawless lawmaking, and ungoverned government are too high. Our debts are unsupportable. All of it is illegal, immoral, and will stop either by design and careful execution or by slack jaw surprise in failure.”

Q. How would you balance the problem of public debt, making it manageable, as it relates to the moral obligation of providing for the least?

A. “When did the Church give charity unto Caesar? Where are we called to delegate our accountability for compassion to the keeper of jails and bombs? This is not a balancing act! This is about right, wrong, authority and law, and I say we restore the laws proven to be better than any other society has come up with for at least a very, very long time. The constitutions, state and federal, as written, are still law. But they aren’t even close to what we’re doing now. See http://horningforsenate.com/files/THE-UNITED-STATES-CONSTITUTION-1211.pdf.”

Q. What is your position on legislation and regulations that force health care providers to provide, pay for or refer for services contrary to their conscience for moral or religious reasons?

A. “They are unconstitutional, immoral and corrupt, and can’t work. See http://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/a-short-history-of-health-care-let-doctors-be-doctors.”

Q. What immigration policy would you pursue that would protect the human dignity of all persons?

A. “The laws, as written, should be enforced. States have more authority in this than we’ve been led to believe.”

Q. Do you support or oppose the overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act?

A. “[The Defense of Marriage Act] is misguided and unconstitutional, insomuch as the federal government [and Caesar in general] has no constitutional or moral authority in marriage. But I wouldn’t overturn it until we extricate the contractual issues of Caesar from the holy covenant between a man, a woman and God. See http://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/gay-marriage-is-that-what-we-think-this-is-about.”
 

Responses from Richard Mourdock

Q. What is your position in regard to protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing federal resources to ending abortion?

A. “I oppose abortion except for cases where the mother’s life is in danger and oppose the use of federal funds in this regard.”

Q. We hear much about the economy, but what is to be done about the moral imperative of pervasive poverty? What would you do to address the problem of pervasive poverty? What policies/paths do you offer to overcome it?

A. “We need a strong, three-track approach to chronic poverty.

“First, we need to get this economy growing again. A strong, growing economy addresses so many critical needs within our society that it must remain our guidepost in terms of public policy.

“Second, we need to do all we can to incentivize contributions to charitable organizations that are well positioned to meet these challenges.

“Beyond that, I support safety-net programs designed to meet the basic needs of those in our society who need and deserve our help the most. These include nutrition, housing, medical and mental health services, among others.”

Q. How would you balance the problem of public debt, making it manageable, as it relates to the moral obligation of providing for the least?

A. “We can stop the borrow-and-spend mentality that has dominated Washington for decades, and we can put our fiscal house in order without compromising core services to those most in need. The core and largest aspects of the federal budget should be the focus of our reforms, which will leave ample room for core services for those individuals with the least among us.”

Q. What is your position on legislation and regulations that force health care providers to provide, pay for or refer services contrary to their conscience for moral or religious reasons?

A. “I strongly oppose such policies and mandates. I have voiced strong opposition to President [Barack] Obama’s health care policy, which is now the focus of litigation by [the University of] Notre Dame and other faith-based institutions. My opponent [Rep. Joe Donnelly] supported that legislation.

Q. What immigration policy would you pursue that would protect the human dignity of all persons?

A. “I support federal legislation that would secure our border, make legal immigration more transparent and timely, and encourage a fair and humane enforcement of the law for illegal immigrants.”

Q. Do you support or oppose the overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act?

A. “I would oppose overturning the act and would have voted for the law if I had been in the U.S. Senate.”
 

(Brigid Curtis Ayer is a correspondent for The Criterion. For more information about the Indiana Catholic Conference, log on to www.indianacc.org. For more information on Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly, log on to www.joeforindiana.com. For more information on Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning, log on to www.horningforsenate.com. For more information on Republican candidate Richard Mourdock, log on to www.richardmourdock.com. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is again offering “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States.” For more information on the document, log on to www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship.)

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!