Advocacy News

Faith Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Marriage and Religious Freedom in Open Letter

Over thirty diverse religious leaders have issued an open letter on marriage and religious liberty, just days before the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The letter, “The Defense of marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness,” highlights marriage as “integral to a healthy and free society” because it brings children together with their mother and father. Additionally, the letter calls for civility and mutual respect during the discussion to ensure that people of faith will be able express their beliefs and convictions about marriage without fear of intimidation or marginalization. Several Catholic leaders signed onto the letter, including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read more…

The Word from Lansing Column: Serving Michigan’s Greatest Gift—Our Children

Whether looking to be reunited with their biological family or looking to be placed with an adoptive family, Michigan’s 13,000 children in the foster care system require care and support during their time of need. Faith-based agencies, including those that are Catholic, have been a critical partner to the State of Michigan in this work, providing adoption and foster care services, recruiting quality families, and ensuring that the best interests of the child are being met. Unfortunately, in other states, Catholic agencies have been forced out of adoption and foster care services because they would not agree to abandon their religious beliefs. MCC’s latest The Word from Lansing column highlights the importance of legislation that would preserve the right of faith-based agencies to operate in accordance with their religious mission. Read more…

Pope Francis: “The Death Penalty is a Failure”

“For a State of Rights, the death penalty is a failure, because it obliges the State to kill in the name of justice”. The Pope wrote this in a letter on Friday, 20 March, to the President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty. The Holy Father underlined that “States can kill by action when they apply the death penalty, when they lead their people to war or when they perform extrajudicial or summary executions”, but “they can also kill by omission, when they do not guarantee their people access to essential means for life.” Legislation was recently introduced in Michigan that would have allowed for the death penalty in certain circumstances, a policy to which Michigan Catholic Conference is strongly opposed. Read more…

FOCUS: May Special Election Statewide Ballot Proposal 1

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Michigan voters will head to the ballot box to participate in a special statewide election. The primary purpose for this special election is to ask voters if the Michigan Constitution should be amended to raise the sales tax to pay for road and transportation infrastructure repairs. This FOCUS publication presents to Catholic and other readers a background of Proposal 1, arguments from both supporters and opponents, and the official language that will appear on the May 5 special election ballot. Michigan Catholic Conference does not have a position on Proposal 1. Read more…

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) Legislation FAQs

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The bill passed both the United States House and Senate with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. RFRA provides a balancing test when the government attempts to restrict the free exercise of religion. Twenty states have legislatively adopted their own versions of RFRA, and another eleven states have RFRA-like protections provided by state court decisions. The federal RFRA and its state counterparts have worked well to provide appropriate protections for people of faith who seek to live out their faith in daily life. These FAQs may help to better understand the reasoning for and impact of RFRA legislation. Read more…

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