ANNAPOLIS, Md. -The recent arrival of my Catholic Review, the weekly Catholic newspaper for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, was highly anticipated as my family prepares for our local primary elections next week. As Anne Arundel County, Maryland residents, we’ve been anxious to receive this issue, which includes information from the Maryland Catholic Conference about Maryland political candidates and their positions on key political issues. Even non-Catholics may be interested in the results, which provide additional insight into who the Maryland candidates are and what they stand for. With the primary election just days away, will the Maryland Catholic Conference survey results sway voters?
What is the Maryland Catholic Conference?
According to their website, The Maryland Catholic Conference is a group who lobbies the Catholic Church’s stance on issues to the Maryland legislature and serves the Archdioceses of Washington, Baltimore, and Wilmington. They note in the September 9, 2010 issue of the Catholic Review that they do not endorse or oppose any candidate.
What did the survey entail?
The Maryland Catholic Conference issued the candidates statements that represent the Catholic Church’s position on things such as abortion, the death penalty, stem-cell research, marriage, education, immigration, and more. Candidates were then asked if they agreed or disagreed with these statements and their answers were recorded and compiled.
How can constituents, Catholic or non-Catholic, utilize the information from the Maryland Catholic Conference?
The results from the survey are likely to be very helpful to Marylanders as they prepare for primary elections on Tuesday. For individuals looking to elect officials most inline with the Catholic Church’s stance on issues, simply look for the candidate who most often agreed. If you are not Catholic or feel more strongly about some of the statements than others you can see where each candidate fits based on your own opinions on the issues. This side by side comparison is an excellent way to see where each candidate stands on the issues, without doing extensive independent research.
Will the survey impact the primary elections?
It may. In my case, unless I know a great deal about a primary candidate, I usually don’t make the time to vote in a primary election. The Maryland Catholic Conference’s survey results give us the opportunity to get to know our candidates on a more intimate level, and as a result, we’re more likely to vote in the primary. For instance, the survey results offer more insight on the Republican bid for governor and the race between Bob Ehrlich and the Sarah Palin-endorsed Brian Murphy. In addition, knowing the Catholic Church’s stance on these issues has given us the opportunity to see how closely we are in line with them politically.
If you’re a Maryland resident and you’d like to see how your candidates weigh in on the statements by the Maryland Catholic Conference, full survey results and additional information are available at http://www.mdcathcon.org .
Maryland Catholic Conference; http://www.mdcathcon.org and http://www.mdcathcon.org/elections
The Catholic Review; 2010 Vote