kathryn freeman


LA 85a SESIÓN LEGISLATIVA HA CONCLUIDO OFICIALMENTE: REPORTE DE LA SESIÓN ESPECIAL


El Gobernador Abbot llamó a una sesión especial que comenzó el 18 de julio y tuvo fin el 15 de agosto. La agenda de la sesión especial cubrió 20 temasque la Legislatura descuidó o no tuvo tiempo de aprobar durante la sesión regular de 140 días que se llevó a cabo anteriormente en la primavera. Oprima aquí para ver la lista de los temas de la agenda de la sesión especial.

La Comisión de Vida Cristiana se enfocó principalmente en tres asuntos que se coinciden con losobjetivos de políticapúblicaque... [continue]

85th Legislative Session is Officially Over: A Special Session Report


Gov. Abbott called for a special session, which began July 18 and ended Aug. 15. The special session agenda covered 20 items that the Legislature neglected or ran out of time to pass during the 140-day regular session earlier this Spring. Click here for a list of special session agenda items.

The Christian Life Commission focused primarily on three issues in line with the public policy objectives set by our commissioners last Fall.

Human Life

In accordance with Genesis 1:26-31, we believe every person has an innate... [continue]

CLC Response to President Trump’s Rescinding DACA Protection


Our hearts are saddened today as almost 800,000 young people actively living in our communities have been told they can no longer live among us unless Congress takes action. This announcement throws the lives of these young people into chaos as they are now fearful about their future in this country. These young people have grown up in our neighborhoods, attended our schools and churches and are leaders in our communities.This program allowed them to have legal status, which allowed them to positively contribute to the... [continue]

Fighting For Unity in A Culture of Chaos (updated)


With the white nationalist rally and domestic terror incident in Charlottesville, race and racism is once again in the headlines. It is easy to respond in a couple of different ways. First, ignore it. But here’s the thing, John Stuart Mill is right, “bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

If you have chosen to be silent, because you believe folks know you aren’t like them, maybe you aren’t but that should be all the more reason you are moved to action. Make no mistake, church,... [continue]

UN REPORTE DESDE EL CAPITOLIO DE TEXAS


Después de 140 días, la 85a Sesión Legislativa de Texas ha terminado, y aunque una sesión especial dará comienzo el 18 de julio, se aprobaron algunos proyectos de ley importantes en los últimos cinco meses.

Algunas preocupaciones al respecto de la libertad religiosa encabezaron la lista de prioridades de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas. La Comisión ayudó a dirigir los esfuerzos para proteger los derechos de conciencia religiosa de las agencias religiosas para el bienestar de menores. La HB 3859 protege los... [continue]

A Report from the Texas Capitol


After 140 days, the 85th Texas Legislative Session has ended and even though a special session will begin on July 18 several important bills were passed over the last five months.

Religious liberty concerns topped the list of Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission priorities. The CLC helped lead efforts to protect religious conscience rights of faith-based child welfare agencies. HB 3859 protects the rights of religious child welfare agencies to place children in homes consistent with their religious beliefs about the best environment for raising... [continue]

El Gobernador Abbott anuncia Sesión Especial


El Gobernador Greg Abbott anunció hoy una sesión legislativa especial que dará comienzo el 18 de julio del 2017. En su anuncio, el Gobernador Abbott identificó 20 asuntos que se incluirán en la llamada sesión especial.

 “Considerando el gran éxito de la 85ª sesión legislativa, no deberíamos estar donde estamos hoy”, dijo el Gobernador Abbott.

Una sesión especial era completamente inevitable, y había suficiente tiempo para que la legislación forjara compromisos a fin de evitar el gasto de tiempo y de dinero de los contribuyentes para... [continue]

Agenda de la 85a Sesión Especial


Vida humana

De acuerdo a Génesis 1:26:26-31, creemos que cada persona tiene una dignidad y valor innatos otorgados por su creador, y que por ello tienen derecho a una vida abundante; aunque esto no les garantiza una vida sin dificultades, debe significar una vida libre de muertes prevenibles y prematuras. Por lo tanto, apoyamos los esfuerzos de la legislación para promover una cultura que valore la vida en nuestro estado.

● Apoyar la legislación pro-vida que reduce el número de abortos, expande el acceso al cuidado prenatal y los servicios... [continue]

AVANZANDO; AYÚDELOS A LLEGAR A LA LÍNEA FINAL


Se aproxima a paso veloz el fin de la 85ª Sesión Legislativa. Algunos de los proyectos de ley que son prioridad para la Comisión están todavía en progreso, pero necesitamos su ayuda para asegurarnos que lleguen al escritorio del gobernador.

HB4: Cuidado familiar

Las familias cuyos ingresos son menores o iguales al 300 por ciento del nivel de pobreza serían elegibles para recibir un pago mensual de no más del 50 por ciento de la tasa de reembolso que reciben las familias temporales. La HB 4 ayuda a mantener a los niños con sus familias... [continue]

Bills Are Moving; Help Them Across the Finish Line


The end of the 85th Legislature is rapidly approaching. Several CLC priority bills are still moving, but we need your help to ensure they make it to the governor’s desk.

HB 4: Kinship Care

Families whose incomes are less than or equal to 300 percent of the poverty level would be eligible for a monthly payment not more than 50 percent of the reimbursement rate for foster families. HB 4 helps keep kids with their extended families by increasing financial support for kinship caregivers.

HB 4 is a wise investment in kinship care.... [continue]

LA SEMANA PASADA HOY: NOTICIAS DE ÚLTIMA HORA DEL CAPITOLIO


Esta semana me gustaría resaltar varios proyectos de ley relacionados con nuestras prioridades políticas que la Comisión apoya. Dieciocho bautistas de todo el Estado de Texas fijan las prioridades de política pública de la Comisión que representan un gran segmento de la vida de los Bautistas de Texas. Si desea leer las prioridades políticas establecidas por nuestros comisionados de la Sesión Legislativa 85ª, aquí.

HB1936

HB 1936 le prohíbe a los gobiernos de ciudades y municipios hacer contratos con proveedores de abortos.... [continue]

Prioridades Legislativas de la Comisión 2016-2017


Menores de edad y familias

Educación

●   Apoyar el acceso a educación pública de calidad para todos los estudiantes en Texas, pero especialmente para los niños de alto riesgo y familias de bajos recursos.

●   Apoyar el fortalecimiento de las escuelas públicas para asegurarse que todos los educandos en Texas tengan acceso a escuelas públicas de calidad. Esto incluye esfuerzos para cerrar la brecha del aprendizaje, aumentar el financiamiento estatal para las escuelas públicas, y la expansión de programas de prevención a la... [continue]

Pro-life legislation supported by leading pro-life coalition


AUSTIN — Four major pro-life organizations representing more than 10 million Texans have announced support of key bills before the House chamber of the 85th Texas Legislature.

“We are thrilled a wide range of pro-life bills has been filed this session to better protect the life and dignity of the human person,” said Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops. “While we maintain the goal of ending abortion in the United States, this bill package makes strategic and incremental progress... [continue]

Last Week Today: A Capitol Update


This week, I’d like to highlight several bills the CLC is supporting related to our policy priorities. The CLC public policy priorities are set by 18 Texas Baptists from across the state who represent a wide swath of Texas Baptist life. To review, policy priorities set by our commissioners for the 85th Legislative Session, click here.

HB 1936

HB 1936 prohibits county and city governments from entering contracts with abortion providers. Some city and county governments have entered contracts with Planned Parenthood for health services. While we... [continue]

Prioridades Legislativas de la Comisión 2016-2017


Prioridades Legislativas de la Comisión 2016-2017

Menores de edad y familias

Educación

●  Apoyar el acceso a educación pública de calidad para todos los estudiantes en Texas, pero especialmente para los niños de alto riesgo y familias de bajos recursos.

●  Apoyar el fortalecimiento de las escuelas públicas para asegurarse que todos los educandos en Texas tengan acceso a escuelas públicas de calidad. Esto incluye esfuerzos para cerrar la brecha del aprendizaje, aumentar el financiamiento estatal para las escuelas públicas, y la... [continue]

INFORMACIÓN DE ÚLTIMA HORA DEL CAPITOLIO


Esta semana me gustaría enfatizar dos proyectos de ley que la Comisión apoya y que están relacionados con nuestras prioridades legislativas. Si desea leer sobre las prioridades legislativas de la Comisión, oprimaaquí.

HB 132

La HB 132 aumenta la posibilidad de un pago de $1,000 en ayuda para tíos y hermanos de un menor que ha sido removido del cuidado de sus padres y reduce la edad de 45 a 25 años de edad requerida para elegibilidad de pagos. Aproximadamente el 30 por ciento de las relocalizaciones con familiares en Texas es con otros parientes... [continue]

Capitol Update


This week, I’d like to highlight two bills the CLC is supporting relating our legislative priorities. To review the CLC legislative priorities, click here.

HB 132

HB 132 expands eligibility for the one-time $1,000 cash assistance payment to aunts, uncles, and siblings of the child and reduces the age requirement from 45 to 25. About 30 percent of kinship placements in Texas are with relatives other than grandparents.

Research has shown that kids placed with relatives go through fewer placement disruptions, fewer behavioral problems, fewer mental health disorders,... [continue]

Last Week Today: A Dispatch from the Capitol


On Monday, I was privileged to testify before the House Human Services Committee on HB 4. 

HB 4 authored by Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite) would increase financial support for relatives who take in children who must be removed from their birth parents--kinship care. 

One way to improve our child welfare system is to help kids stay with their extended families. Strengthening kinship care is one of the solutions developed by the Texas House Child Welfare Working Group, which had been tasked by Speaker Straus to come up with recommendations... [continue]

Johnson Amendment protects interests of both church and government


Kathryn Freeman, public policy director of the Christian Life Commission, released the following statement in response to President Trump's announced intention to do away with the Johnson Amendment:

“President Trump said Thursday he would destroy a centerpiece of church-state separation in the the United States -- the Johnson Amendment. This 1954 amendment has clearly protected the tax-exempt status of churches as non-political entities dedicated to the common good of our communities, states and nation. Pastors are

... [continue]

CLC staff: Perspective on refugee resettlement program changes


By Kathryn Freeman and Ferrell Foster

We are praying for President Trump and his administration as they are making many vital decisions that affect the lives of those here and abroad. We prayerfully request that President Trump reconsider the scope and effect of this order and work with congressional leadership to devise a solution that bolsters American security without causing unnecessary delays for refugees fleeing violence or disregarding traditional American values.

Here are our concerns regarding Section 5 of his continue]

ESTA NAVIDAD, COMPARTA UN MENSAJE DE ESPERANZA


Y entonces, justo cuando todo se viene abajo, a tal grado que apenas podemos soportarlo, llega el mensaje de la Navidad”. --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Aleppo. Oakland. Walter Scott. Las elecciones del 2016. Dallas. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile.

No queda la menor duda que el 2016 ha sido un año difícil para nuestra conciencia nacional. Hemos sido bombardeados con imágenes de refugiados heridos y ensangrentados, con rostros llenos de lágrimas en las vigilias de oración desde Orlando hasta Dallas y ahora en Oakland, y por políticos... [continue]

Share a Message of Hope This Christmas


“And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes.” --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Aleppo. Oakland. Walter Scott. The 2016 election. Dallas. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile.

There is no doubt about it, 2016 has been a difficult year in our national conscience. We have been bombarded by images of bruised and bloodied refugees, of tear-stained faces attending prayer vigils from Orlando to Dallas and now Oakland, and of angry politicians asking us to fear our neighbors... [continue]

Día de Activismo del 2017


En Ingles

28 de Febrero y 1 de Marzo del 2017

Acompáñenos en Austin al Día de Activismo durante la 85a Sesión Legislativa. Habrá talleres sobre temas importantes que conciernen a la Legislatura del 2017 y la oportunidad de que los participantes hablen con sus representantes electos.

Orador principal

Vincent Bacote

Vincent Bacote (Ph.D. Drew University) es Profesor Asociado de Teología y Director del Centro de Ética Cristiana Aplicada en Wheaton College en Wheaton, IL. El Dr. Bacote es autor de The Political Disciple: Theology of Public Life... [continue]

Terminaron las elecciones, ¿Y ahora qué?


Ahora que terminaron las elecciones, quizá se sienta tentado a olvidarse de la política, pero es importante que continuemos involucrados ahora que tenemos nuevos líderes. Nuestro involucramiento no termina con nuestro voto; de hecho, la casilla de elecciones debe ser el punto de partida.

De acuerdo al Instituto Annette Strauss, solamente el 9 por ciento de los tejanos han contactado a sus representantes políticos, lo cual significa que el 9 por ciento tiene una influencia sobre nuestros políticos. El involucramiento político no se trata de la agenda... [continue]

The Election is over, now what?


Now that the election is over, you might be tempted to put politics out of your mind, but now that our new leaders are in office it's important that we stay engaged. Our political engagement does not end in the voting booth, in fact, the voting booth should be just the starting point.

According to the Annette Strauss Institute, only 9 percent of Texans have ever contacted their elected officials, which means that 9 percent has an outsized influence on our politicians. Political engagement should not be about a specific party agenda, but about the agenda... [continue]

Los bonos educativos son una amenaza a la libertad religiosa


Los legisladores de Texas tienen una serie de reuniones entre las sesiones legislativas para revisar propuestas de ley previamente aprobadas y para examinar problemas potenciales en la legislación de las próximas sesiones. El miércoles 14 de septiembre, el Comité del Senado sobre Educación se reunió para discutir varias propuestas sobre opciones de escuelas que desviarían fondos públicos de las escuelas públicas a instituciones educativas privadas. Históricamente la Comisión se ha opuesto a los bonos educativos debido a... [continue]

Vouchers pose a threat to religious liberty


During the time between legislative sessions, the Texas legislators have a series of committee meetings to review previously passed legislation and examine potential legislative issues for the upcoming session. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Senate Committee on Education met to discuss various school choice proposals that would divert public funds from public schools to private educational institutions. Historically, the CLC has opposed vouchers over religious liberty and educational inequality concerns.

As Dr. Pinson noted in “Baptists Oppose... [continue]

Preguntas y respuestas con una experta en el sistema de cuidado temporal de niños y adopcin


Samela Macon, directora general del sistema de cuidado temporal y adopción de los Servicios de Adopción y Maternidad de Buckner

Díganos un poco sobre su ministerio y cómo empezó este trabajo.

Mi ministerio empezó cuando de niña me daba cuenta que había niños que se sentían solos o aislados de los demás. Siempre me sentí atraída a ellos. A una edad temprana Dios me puso en el corazón que les comunicara que valían. Cuando no tenía respuestas para ellos, iba con mi mamá para ver si ella... [continue]

Preguntas y respuestas con un padre de crianza – Nathan Buchanan


Nathan Buchanan, pastor de la Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mineral Wells, es un padre de crianza

¿Dónde está su iglesia? Cuéntenos un poco sobre su ministerio y su familia.

Sirvo como pastor de la Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mineral Wells. He servido aquí como pastor seis años y cinco años como ministro de jóvenes. Dios está haciendo muchas cosas buenas en Mineral Wells y estoy muy contento de servir aquí. Conocí y me casé con mi esposa, Kayla, en Weatherford mientras servía en una iglesia ahí como ministro de jóvenes y... [continue]

Q&A with a foster care and adoption expert -- Samela Macon


Samela Macon, senior director of foster care and adoption for Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services

Tell us a little about your ministry and how you got started in this work.

My ministry began as a child, taking notice of children who felt alone or isolated. My heart was always drawn to them. At an early age God pressed it upon my heart to let them know they were valued. When I didn’t have answers for them, I would go to my mother to see if she could help me find a solution. I didn’t understand that it was the beginning of... [continue]

Q&A with a foster care dad -- Nathan Buchanan


Nathan Buchanan, pastor, First Baptist Mineral Wells, foster dad

Where is your church? Tell us a little about your ministry and your family.

I serve as pastor of FBC Mineral Wells. I have been here for six years as pastor and five years as youth minister. God is doing many great things in Mineral Wells, and I am very happy serving here. I met and married my wife, Kayla, in Weatherford while I was serving at a church in Weatherford as a youth minister and going to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We have three daughters, Elaina,... [continue]

Así como los deportistas se preparan para las olimpiadas, los cristianos tambien nos


Apenas comenzaron las Olimpiadas el viernes pasado, y yo ya estoy obsesionada. Me encanta ver a los amigos y familiares de los deportistas que participan, animarlos. Me fascina aprender nombres y deportes nuevos y países de los que no había oído antes, pero creo que lo que más me emociona es saber que este es el momento que anhelaron por cuatro años. Este es el momento en que toda su práctica, sus sesiones de entrenamiento y su arduo trabajo de los últimos cuatro años se ve reflejado en el... [continue]

Like Olympians, Christians are in Training, Too


The Olympics started last Friday, and I am already obsessed. I love watching their friends and family cheer them on. I love learning new names, new sports, and obscure countries, but I think for me the most exciting thing is knowing that this moment is the one they’ve waited four years for. This is the moment they bring all of the training, all of the coaching sessions, all of the hard work over the last four years together on the biggest stage of their lives.

We know some of their names going in -- Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas, Serena... [continue]

Alerta de Activismo: Alto a la Trampa de la Deuda


Muchos de ustedes nos han seguido en nuestra lucha por la reforma contra la industria de los préstamos del día de pago y de título de auto. Algunos han llamado a sus legisladores y han hablado en las juntas de ayuntamiento en favor de reglamentaciones locales a los préstamos del día de pago, y todavía hay mucho trabajo por hacer. Hoy estamos pidiéndole a nuestro grupo de apoyo una nueva norma de parte de la Oficina de Protección al Consumidor (CFPB, por sus siglas en inglés) con el propósito de aplicar mano dura a algunas de las más... [continue]

Advocacy Alert: #StoptheDebtTrap with CFPB


Many of you have followed our work to reform the payday and auto-title lending industry, some have called their legislators and spoken at city council meetings in support of local payday ordinances, and there is still important work to do. Today, we are asking our network to support a new rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau aimed at cracking down on some of the most abusive practices in this industry.

The CFPB is designed to a “provide a single point of accountability for enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting... [continue]

Valientes en la Lucha


El fin de semana pasado tuve el placer de asistir a la Conferencia de Mujeres Enamoradas de Jesús con mi mamá en la iglesia a la que asistía en mi juventud, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Las oradoras principales este año, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, hablaron de cómo ser mujeres valientes de Dios.

La enseñanza de Moore sobre 2 Timoteo era particularmente adecuada, dada la situación actual del país. Nos recordó que para los cristianos el tiempo no va, sino viene; significa que todo apunta a un evento en particular, la segunda venida de Cristo.

Tal como Pablo... [continue]

Fearless in the Fight


Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Desperate for Jesus Women’s Conference with my mom at the church of my youth, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. This year’s keynote speakers Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer spoke about being fearless and godly women.

Moore’s teaching on 2 Timothy was particularly fitting given the current climate in our country. She reminded us that for Christians time is not going, but coming -- meaning all of time is pointed toward a singular event, the Second Coming of Christ. 

Just as Paul reminded Timothy, she reminded us to fan... [continue]

7 Consejos Prácticos para Buscar la paz con los Afroamericanos


Al pensar sobre el papel que jugamos como pacificadores en el ámbito de la reconciliación racial, Efesios 2:11-16 detalla los deseos del corazón de Dios para la unidad dentro del cuerpo de Cristo.

Por lo tanto, recuerden ustedes los gentiles de nacimiento —los que son llamados «incircuncisos» por aquellos que se llaman «de la circuncisión», la cual se hace en el cuerpo por mano humana—, recuerden que en ese entonces ustedes estaban separados de Cristo, excluidos de la ciudadanía de Israel y ajenos a los pactos de la

... [continue]

7 tips for seeking peace with African Americans


As we think about our role as peacemakers in racial reconciliation, Ephesians 2:11-16 details God’s heart for unity within the body of Christ.

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you

... [continue]

#YesAllWomen: la manera en que la iglesia debería reflejar el ministerio radica de Jes&uacut


En los últimos días he leído con creciente preocupación noticias sobre la violencia en contra de las mujeres y las menores.

Un vistazo a los titulares:

Adolescente sentenciado a 25 años por matar a una chica que se rehusó a ir con él a la fiesta de graduación (Teenager Sentenced to 25 years for Killing A Girl Who Said No to Prom)

El padre de un nadador de Stanford se refiere a abuso sexual como si hubieran sido "20 minutos de acción" (Father of former Stanford swimmer refers to sexual... [continue]

#YesAllWomen: How the Church Should Reflect Jesus’ Radical Ministry to Women


Over the last several days, I have read stories about violence against girls and women with increasing alarm.

Just a snapshot of the headlines:

Teenager Sentenced to 25 years for Killing A Girl Who Said No to Prom

Father of former Stanford swimmer refers to sexual assault as ‘20 minutes of action’

A year after McKinney pool party, teen speaks out

In Texas, our eyes have been laser focused on Baylor, but the problem is bigger than one college campus. In fact, one of last year’s Oscar nominated documentaries,... [continue]

CLC offers National Day of Prayer Guide


Today is the National Day of Prayer. As I sat down to compile the the CLC’s prayer guide, the song, “Build Your Kingdom Here,” by the Rend Collective started playing on my streaming service. In it, the band sings, “build Your kingdom here, let the darkness fear, show Your mighty hand, heal our streets and land, set your church on fire...change the atmosphere, build your kingdom here.” Talk about providence! I couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song as the soundtrack of this prayer guide.

The National Day of Prayer is a way for Christians... [continue]

Now What? What to do the Day After A Life-Changing Experience


We have all been there. We’ve gone to a life changing conference or heard an amazing sermon or even just had a really amazing quiet time to start our day and afterwards, we are super charged and ready to do amazing things for God. We are going to change the world!

And then, we step outside our door or return home or enter our churches, and we aren’t quite as sure. We don’t know how to get started, or we do start and are met with obstacles or roadblocks. Other people aren’t excited; the pastor doesn’t want to implement your... [continue]

¿Y ahora qué? ¿Qué hacer después de una experiencia transformado


A todos nos ha pasado. Vamos a una conferencia que nos cambia la vida o escuchamos un sermón que nos impacta o quizá solo tenemos un tiempo devocional hermoso al empezar  nuestro día, y después estamos súper cargados y listos para hacer cosas grandiosas por el Señor. ¡Estamos listos para cambiar al mundo!

Y después, salimos de ahí o regresamos a casa o entramos a nuestras iglesias, y ya no nos sentimos tan seguros. No sabemos cómo empezar o empezamos y nos encontramos con  obstáculos o caminos sin salida. Otras personas no... [continue]

7 Reasons you don't want to miss the Micah 6:8 Conference


1. Your feelings when listening to Jen Hatmaker.

Featured speaker Jen Hatmaker, New York Times best-selling author, mother and justice advocate will have you laughing so hard you might cry and clap just like Oprah! Learn more about Jen and her family at jenhatmaker.com

2. How you will feel after participating in workshops led by outstanding thought-leaders in advocacy, ministry, ethics, and justice.

We have over 25 thought provoking workshops led by experts ready to give you practical tips for building and... [continue]

​In Search of Common Ground: Grand Jury Reform, Black Lives Matter and Pro-Life Advocacy


Our criminal justice system is broken in regard to grand juries.

Many people are familiar with the roles of law enforcement, judges, and lawyers in the criminal justice system. Most people are decidedly less familiar with the important, but often hidden role of the grand jury.

A grand jury is a group of 12 citizens of the county where the grand jury sits, able to read and write, not under indictment, etc. The most common role of the grand jury is to listen to the facts of a case and determine if probable cause exists for charges... [continue]

Spoiler Alert: Christ is Returning


I hate suspense. For as long as I can remember, I've hated that pit in my stomach when I don't know how the story is going to end. My aversion to suspense means reading the end of books when it's not clear who's the villain, it means surreptitiously getting on moviespoiler.com while watching the latest blockbuster, and it means an aversion to surprises in any form.

You can imagine how the aversion to suspense played out as a child during the Christmas season. I was definitely the kid shaking presents and trying to untape and retape gifts before December... [continue]

First Things First


At the Texas Baptists' Annual Meeting, I taught a workshop on "Advocacy As Evangelism." During the workshop, I shared how advocacy could be a tool for evangelism and community transformation.

At the end of the workshop, a gentleman asked if I was promoting advocacy for advocacy's sake. I was prepared for the question, because lately I have been giving a lot of thought to the idea as my generation considers justice and community engagement a part of discipleship. Advocating for justice and promoting community engagement represent an expanded view of discipleship, but... [continue]

End of Session Wrap-Up


New laws highlight the CLC's advocacy work.

While the 84th Legislative Session ended June 1, we are just beginning to feel the effects of our legislative efforts. This session, the CLC followed 65 bills and helped pass several important pieces of legislation. The CLC's legislative priorities are set by our 18 commissioners who reflect the diverse membership of Texas Baptists. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Grant Funding for Pre-kindergarten

One of Governor Abbott's top priorities was to improve the quality of early education in Texas.

H.B. 4 sets aside $130... [continue]

Back to School


This month, many parents will find themselves frantically roaming the aisles at Target for school supplies, children will select their first day of school outfits, and with far less fanfare, teachers have begun setting up their classrooms.

Recently, there has been a lot of handwringing about the state of public schools related to broader cultural changes in society. We must be careful not to vilify people created in the image of Christ, based on isolated incidents or cultural changes beyond their control. The Bible commands us to give honor to those whom honor is due and... [continue]

Moving Past #PrayforCharleston


Last Wednesday evening, a 21-year-old white man walked into Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, sat through Bible study and then murdered nine African Americans: State Senator and Pastor Clementa Pickney; librarian Cynthia Hurd; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.; speech therapist and mom Sharonda Singleton; Bible study teacher Myra Thompson; 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders who died trying to save his aunt; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor; 87-year-old Susie Jackson; and, 70-year-old Ethel Lance.

Before the young man shot them, he stated he was shooting them... [continue]

Advocacy Alert: Stop Telemarketing by Payday Lenders


Ask Your State Representative to Vote Yes on HB 411.

Thanks to your phone calls the House Calendars Committee set HB 411 for the House Calendar on Tuesday, May 5.

HB 411 would limit the telemarketing abilities of payday lenders. We need to protect consumers from unsolicited calls from payday lenders attempting to trap them in unaffordable loans.

We need you to call your State Representative and ask them to support HB 411 on the floor.

To find out who represents you, please click here.

Advocacy Alert: Payday Reform Legislation in Committee This Week


Several good payday lending reform bills have been set for a hearing this week. We are requesting Texas Baptists make plans to testify at the hearings or call committee members voicing their support for these bills.

When calling the Committee members here's a sample script of what you can say when you call.

Hello my name is __________. I would like to register my support of bill numbers ________. I support reforming the payday/auto title industry to ensure fair loan products that allow for borrower and lender... [continue]

Reyes to testify in support of House Bill 3567


AUSTIN–This morning, Gus Reyes, director of the Christian Life Commission, will be testifying in support of a bill by Rep. Scott Sanford (Executive Pastor at Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen). The bill will be heard in Texas House State Affairs.

HB 3567 protects religious organizations, or entities controlled by religious organization (such as schools) or pastors and staff from having to solemnize or participate in anyway with any marriage that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Below is the testimony Reyes will be... [continue]

Texas RFRA Is Both Necessary and Working


Given the current media firestorm around proposed RFRA laws in Indiana and Arkansas, the Christian Life Commission would like to give a brief history of RFRA laws and reiterate our support for state RFRA laws that mirror the federal law.

The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed in 1993 in response to the Supreme Court decision in Employment Division v. Smith, which held that generally applicable laws that conflict with religious beliefs do not violate the First Amendment. The Smith ruling meant that any law, as long as it was not... [continue]

The Cavalry Has Arrived: How the Federal Government Plays an Important Role in Protecting the Poor


Have you ever heard the phrase "send in the cavalry?" It's a colloquialism, but historically its a military term for the regiment of an army that fights on horseback. The cavalry historically was the most easily mobilized unit of an army and men fighting on horseback were at a greater advantage than those fighting on foot. For one they had greater height and speed than their opponents on the ground and the improved mobility helped them outflank and overpower their opponents more easily. In... [continue]

​Did You Know It Pays to Prey on the Poor In Texas?


An unexpected medical bill, car trouble, buying school supplies, a funeral or a summer utility bill—one or many of these expenses have pushed countless Texans to the financial brink. Needing a way to meet the unexpected expense, many families turn to payday and auto title lenders who are all too happy to profit off of people's misfortune.

Usually payday and auto-title borrowers are already financially fragile and rather than being a lifesaver these loans become an anchor. Payday loans are unsecured short-term loans that simply... [continue]

State of the State


On February 17, Governor Greg Abbott gave his first State of the State address. The State of the State was first given by Governor J. Pickney Henderson in 1845, after Texas joined the Union. The State of the State is required by the Texas Constitution and is given at the beginning of each regular legislative session.

The State of the State is used by the Governor to lay out a vision for the state over the next two years and designate emergency items. Usually lawmakers cannot pass bills in the first 60 days unless it is an emergency appropriation or on the Governor's... [continue]

​Freedom for captives: The CLC is working to end trafficking


As the 84th Legislative Session has begun, the CLC staff wants to provide an overview of our public policy priorities. Last week, we talked about advocacy in general, and this week we explore human trafficking.

Many people assume the 13th amendment ended slavery in America, but there are still slaves among us. Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transporting or procurement of a person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude or commercial sex acts. Everyday men, women and children... [continue]

Advocacy: Why Should Texas Baptists Care?


More Texans and more Christians should be engaged in our government, this is especially true of Christians. Only 9 percent of Texans have contacted their elected officials, according to the Annette Strauss Institute Texas Civic Health Index. Given the small number of Texans contacting their elected officials imagine the outsized influence this 9 percent has on the actions or votes of their government representatives?

The CLC has two opportunities for Texas Baptists to come to the Capitol in the next two months to learn more about Christian advocacy... [continue]

CLC Advocacy Day


CLC Advocacy Day will be held Thursday, March 5, at First United Methodist Church, Family Life Center, 302 W. 13th St., Austin, TX 78701.

The CLC Advocacy Day is an opportunity for you to participate in the work of the CLC. Your voice is vital to our success so please join Kathryn Freeman and Dr. Gus Reyes for their first CLC Advocacy Day in Austin!

Schedule for the Day

  • 9:30-11 a.m. Legislative Briefing The Legislative briefing is an opportunity to hear from experts on some of the top legislative issues facing our state including predatory lending,
... [continue]

New opportunities in a new year


In Isaiah, the Lord tells the Israelites that His servants will faithfully bring forth justice to the nations and describes them as a light to the nations capable of opening blind eyes, breaking the chains of the oppressed, and setting captives free (Isaiah 42:1-9, Isaiah 58). As the 84th Legislative Session is set to begin next Tuesday, we have a new opportunity to engage in this kingdom work at the Capitol. Here are just a few of the policy priorities the Christian Life Commission will be focused on in the upcoming session:

  • Ending the financial
... [continue]

CLC shines the light of Christ


"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light." Isaiah 9:2

Just as the wise men were led by a bright star, we too are led by the Light. We are no longer in darkness, but we live in a world surrounded by suffering, famine, sickness, hurt and chaos. During the holiday season, we focus on the gift of Christ to a dying and dark world, but this gift keeps giving and growing because we are Christ's messengers sent to bring hope and light into a broken world.

Before the baby was laid in the manager, the entire world was shrouded in darkness. We are... [continue]

Election Day provides opportunity to express citizenship


The Bible exhorts Christians to be good citizens while on earth (Romans 13:1-8). Voting is one of the foundational requirements to good citizenship. With Election Day quickly approaching it is important to head to the polls. We, as believers, should actively engage in understanding the policy issues affecting our communities and neighbors. We should vote in accordance to God's agenda for this world and not just on blind allegiance to a political party or person.

To that end, we should evaluate for ourselves, in accordance with... [continue]

Houston subpoenas raise religious liberty concerns


The City of Houston gained national attention last week as a result of subpoenas sent to five local pastors seeking "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession."

CLC Director Gus Reyes spoke out against these subpoenas because they appeared to be designed to intimidate pastors and make them think twice about speaking on this critical social issue. Texas Baptists President Jeff... [continue]