Do you know where the candidates stand on critical social issues?
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League of North Carolina
RALEIGH – A mailbox stuffed with slick campaign propaganda, televised attack ads, radio commercials and media coverage of staged political events – if these are what voters are relying on to help them decide which buttons to push on Tuesday, they’ll miss out on critical issues.
“Christians simply must know where the candidates stand on family values types of issues. We need to examine not only what they say, but their voting records as well,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. “Nowhere is this more important than in the presidential race.”
While most people may know that Sen. John McCain opposes the Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion and has supported the ban on partial-birth abortion, they may not know that he also voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion through the Medicaid program and supported legislation that would require abortionists to notify at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl. He also opposes human cloning and the creation of human embryos for research purposes.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sen. Barack Obama has opposed the ban on partial birth abortion, supports taxpayer funding of abortion and doesn’t believe parents should be notified if their minor daughter seeks an abortion. Perhaps most revealing is the fact that he voted three times against an Illinois bill that would have provided medical care for babies who survive abortions. He has promised to support legislation that would invalidate virtually all state and federal limits on abortions and has also co-sponsored a bill that would allow the cloning of human embryos to be used for research.
While McCain has supported marriage as an institution between a man and a woman and co-chaired the Arizona Marriage Protection Amendment campaign two years ago, Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples.
The candidates are also miles apart on whom they would appoint to the Supreme Court with McCain pledging to seek judges who strictly interpret the law and do not legislate from the bench. Obama voted against confirming Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
“Voters may not think of judicial appointments or constitutional philosophies as immediate campaign issues, but these go to the heart of the candidate and how their beliefs about America are going to play out when they get to Washington,” Creech said. “We must have a president who will support our Constitution as it was intended by our founding fathers.”
Obama’s plan to redistribute the nation’s wealth goes hand in hand with the belief he expressed in an interview seven years ago. The Constitution, he said, “says what the states can’t do to you … what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf,” a reference to his adherence to a philosophy that sounds increasingly like a dictionary definition of socialism (A theory of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor).
As for McCain’s view of the Constitution, he has said that it “established the United States of America as a Christian nation.” He further clarified that ” the lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn’t say, ‘I only welcome Christians.'”
“We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here, they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles,” McCain said.
As important as the presidential race, Creech urged Christians across North Carolina to be equally vigilant in choosing the right congressional and statewide representatives.
“I would urge all voters to pore over the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s (NCFPC) Voter Guide to see how these candidates responded to the council’s specific family issue questions,” he said. “And when candidates didn’t respond at all to the questionnaires, we’ve got to consider what that means as well – do they not want us to know what they believe on these issues or do they not think these values issues are important?”
In the race for U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Dole told the NCFPC she believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman and that federal law should not extend health and other benefits to the same-sex partners of government employees, nor should “sexual orientation” be added as a protected class. She believes the government should continue to provide funding for abstinence until marriage education and also said parents who educate their children in private, religious or home schools should receive a voucher or tax credit. She doesn’t believe federal taxpayer dollars should fund abortions, and she believes it should be illegal to transport minors across state lines to evade parental consent laws for abortion. Dole said she believes immigration laws need to be strengthened. She also told the NCFPC she doesn’t support the destruction of human embryos for stem cell research and that she supports the prohibition of Internet gambling. When asked the same questions, her opponent, Kay Hagan, did not respond.
U.S. House candidates who did not respond to the questionnaire (districts in parentheses) include G.K. Butterfield (1), Bob Etheridge (2), Craig Weber (3), David Price (4), Roy Carter (5), Howard Coble (6), Larry Kissell (8), Harry Taylor (9), Heath Shuler (11), Mel Watt (12), and Brad Miller (13). All responses can be accessed at the North Carolina Family Policy Council Web site, www.ncfpc.org.
The organization also questioned candidates for Executive Branch and Council of State races.
While gubernatorial candidate Bev Perdue did not respond to the questions, Pat McCrory did. He supports a state constitutional amendment to protect marriage and would also amend the state constitution to prohibit government entities from using eminent domain powers to take private property for economic development purposes. McCrory said contraceptives should not be handed out at public schools, nor should our schools teach students that homosexuality is acceptable. He said the General Assembly should increase the number of charter schools allowed in North Carolina and that parents educating their children at home or via private or religious schools should get vouchers or tax credits from the state. McCrory believes that public prayer should be allowed at meetings of governmental bodies. He does not believe state taxpayer dollars should fund abortions or that N.C. should allow homosexuals to adopt children. He told the NCFPC that he does not support destroying human embryos for research purposes and that assisted suicide should not be legalized. He also said agencies that receive state funds should be required to substantiate the need of all programs and services that receive the funds.
Robert Pittenger expressed similar opinions to McCrory’s in his bid for N.C. Lieutenant Governor. Opponent Walter Dalton did not respond to the questionnaire, nor did Roy Cooper, who is seeking to remain North Carolina’s Attorney General.
Jack Sawyer’s answers mirrored those of Pittenger and McCrory. He is hoping to unseat Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who did not respond to the questions at all.
Candidates for State Senate and the N.C. House were asked about the same issues. Just over half responded.
In addition to the races mentioned above, the NCFPC also questioned judicial candidates for the N.C. Superior Court, N.C. Court of Appeals and N.C. Supreme Court, crafting questions that they could answer without compromising their objectivity on issues that might come before them in the future. Many did not respond, but some answered the questions specifically and others provided statements of explanation, all accessible at the NCFPC site.
“We can’t stress enough how important it is to know what all these candidates believe when it comes to these issues – right to life, marriage, freedom to worship, property rights, etc.” Creech said. “As Christians and Americans, we must stop taking these for granted and realize that our very way of life is at stake here.”