(Editor’s note: Iowa’s bishops wrote the following letter regarding this year’s presidential election, which takes place Nov. 3.)
Each election cycle has unique characteristics, and this one is no exception. This time it seems to be distinguished by threats:
The threat of the coronavirus pandemic: Many of us live in fear for our lives and our livelihood because of the threat of COVID-19. We need elected leaders who will act out of concern for public health, including by their example of practicing the safety precautions, in order to ensure the safety of the workforce and students in schools.
The threat to life: There are forces that threaten the unborn with abortion, or prisoners with the death penalty, or the aged and terminally ill with physician assisted suicide. We need elected officials who will be guided by science to recognize as a human person the child in the womb, the aged person in a sick bed, and all others, respecting the sacredness and dignity of all human life.
The threat to human rights and to the common good: There are threats of people being denied their rights, as well as their access to benefits and to protection, simply because of their gender, color, country of origin, religion, or… whatever. We need elected officials who will enact laws that dismantle institutional racism.
The threat to immigrants: DACA recipients live in fear of deportation from the only home they have ever known. Their parents and others live in the same fear, and having to return to the threat of gang violence, and oppressive governments, or poverty. We need elected officials who will stop talking and start acting to reform our broken, outdated immigration system, in order to accommodate these family-oriented, God-fearing, Church-going people, who came here for work to feed, clothe and house their families.
Finally, there is the threat to our democratic process from those who are eligible to vote, and able to vote, but who don’t exercise that right and duty, or don’t exercise it conscientiously. We won’t tell you who to vote for, but we will tell you to vote.
The letter is signed by Archbishop Michael Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque; Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City; Bishop Thomas Zinkula, Bishop of Davenport; and Bishop William Joensen, Bishop of Des Moines.