Bishops questionnaire criticized for seemingly supporting Democratic positions

.- A political questionnaire, issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops and distributed to both major-party presidential candidates, has been criticized for presenting questions that are traditionally associated with Democratic Party policy positions, says a report by the Culture of Life Foundation.

The questionnaire contains 41 questions, asking the candidates to answer "support" or "oppose" to statements on a range of issues.

The report, published in Culture and Cosmos, indicates that the questionnaire had seven questions on immigration and refugees. Abortion and school choice were each given three questions. Capital punishment, gun control, agriculture and rural development, aid for low-income families, housing, federal education programs, and marriage each received two. Fourteen other topics received one question each, including health care, decreasing nuclear weapons, cloning, physician-assisted suicide, and embryonic stem-cell research.

Patrick F. Fagan, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, says that many of the questions involve policies over which Catholics may properly disagree, but that this official questionnaire gives the impression that these are the only acceptable Catholic positions.

Robert Royal, president of the Faith and Reason Institute, said that many of the questions, such as those calling for more gun control and public funding of health care, are written in such a way as to endorse the Democratic Party approach. He says this gives the appearance of bias and therefore undermines the usefulness of the questionnaire.

Frank Monahan, director of the Office of Government Liaison at the USCCB, told Culture and Cosmos that the questionnaire "reflects the Bishops' public policy agenda."


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