For decades, Michigan has partnered with a diverse array of agencies—including faith-based—to provide excellent foster care and adoption services. This system has helped to recruit new families and to foster greater community outreach. The Word from Lansing delves into a recent State settlement that harms the work of faith-based child placement agencies, as well as two lawsuits that fight back to preserve critical services for children and families in need.
The Word from Lansing
The Word from Lansing is a regular column written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) staff for Catholic news outlets. Through these columns, MCC outlines current advocacy issues of importance to the Conference and discusses the Catholic position and role in the political process. This publication complements the more regular updates provided by Michigan Catholic Conference’s Catholic Advocacy Network.
The Catholic Church strongly believes in protecting religious freedom, not just for Catholics but also for those of other faiths—or no faith at all. An important component in this protection is also standing up against incidents of religious bigotry in society. The Word from Lansing for April shares examples of religious bigotry today and encourages people of goodwill to instead take the lead in fostering a climate of respect and religious tolerance.
On March 5, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and State Budget Director Chris Kolb presented their Executive State Budget Recommendations for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. These recommendations included several positive elements, including a doubling of the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Word from Lansing from MCC delves further into these elements, as well as budget items not included in the governor’s proposal but that MCC will continue to advocate for during the budget process.
In November 2018, USCCB approved a pastoral statement on racism: “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.” This statement offers Catholic teaching and recommended actions for addressing the sin of racism. MCC’s The Word from Lansing column for February shares more from this document, as well as lessons that prominent African-American Catholics offer to the Church.
Ten advocacy principles will guide staff in the 2019–2020 state legislative session: human life and dignity, preferential option for the poor and regulatory policies, religious liberty, education, children and families, health care, restorative justice, immigration and refugees, care for creation, and select federal issues. In The Word from Lansing column for this month, MCC delves further into the importance of engagement, advocacy, and collaboration, guided by these principles.
Throughout the 2017–2018 Michigan legislative session, Michigan Catholic Conference reviewed more than seven hundred bills, suggested bill language, testified in public committees, and represented the Church’s positions to elected officials and the media. The Word from Lansing column from December reflects on successes from the two-year session and the importance of continued work in 2019.
Bishops and other religious leaders gathered in Rome last month for a worldwide Synod. This gathering examined the gifts young people bring to the Catholic Church and the ways the Church can better accompany them. The discussions also highlighted the need to prepare young Catholics for engagement in the public realm.
At its September meeting, the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) Board of Directors unanimously voted to oppose Proposal 1, a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. If adopted, Proposal 1 would not protect youth, improve health outcomes, improve communities, or make people better workers. The Word from Lansing column for October provides further insights into MCC’s position and the negative impact legalizing recreational marijuana will likely have on Michigan.
Every Catholic is called to engage in the political process, guided by a well-formed conscience. During this November 6 General Election, Michigan Catholics must make decisions about the issues and local, statewide, and national candidates on their ballot. The Word from Lansing column for September highlights Church teaching and questions to consider before voting.
In 1973, two Supreme Court decisions led to legalized abortion across the United States. Michigan had previously banned the practice for almost 130 years. In The Word from Lansing for August, Michigan Catholic Conference details the impact of these decisions on Michigan and what would happen here if they were overturned.