public policy issues
Nine-member Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Missouri playground case
by John Litzler on April 19, 2017 in church admin
Today (April 19), the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is hearing oral arguments in one of the most important religious liberty cases of the last few decades. SCOTUS, which only had an eight-member court since Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last February, has a full bench for the first time in over a year. In January, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 7, Justice Gorsuch was confirmed just in time to begin hearing cases on April 17. This term will end in late June or early July when the Court recesses for the summer before its new term begins...
CLC staff: Perspective on refugee resettlement program changes
by Kathryn Freeman on January 30, 2017 in clc
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 Executive Order impacting refugee resettlement:
● The order places a 120-day moratorium on the U.S. Refugee...
Vouchers pose a threat to religious liberty
by Kathryn Freeman on September 14, 2016 in clc
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 the Constitution,” religious freedom is central to our identity as Baptists. Vouchers...
In Search of Common Ground: Grand Jury Reform, Black Lives Matter and Pro-Life Advocacy
by Kathryn Freeman on January 28, 2016 in clc
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 alleged against a defendant.
While both grand juries and trial juries are made up of lay people who must...
Help for dealing with a changing culture
by Ferrell Foster on May 13, 2015 in culture
The American culture seems to be getting away from us; that, at least, is how many Christians with more traditional values feel.
One of the most seriously threatened values is the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman for life. First, we saw the "for life" part mostly fall away as divorce grew more common, and now the "one man and one woman" portion hangs in the balance.
Most states already have redefined marriage as including same-sex relationships, and now many experts think the U.S. Supreme Court is about to make that redefinition apply to the remaining 13 states, including Texas.
For many of us, this just seems...
States need RFRA matching federal model, like Texas
by Gus Reyes, Kathryn Freeman and Ferrell Foster on April 2, 2015 in clc
The Christian Life Commission staff believes it is wise for each state to pass RFRA laws or constitutional amendments that mirror the federal RFRA language. The Texas RFRA mirrors the federal RFRA, both passed with bipartisan support and reflecting an appropriate balance between religious freedom and government interests.
The CLC is proud to have worked on passage of the Texas RFRA 16 years ago. We believe respect for religious freedom is an important part of our democracy, and separation of church and state is a foundational Baptist distinctive.
Religious freedom is not a partisan issue. We believe it is possible to...
Did You Know It Pays to Prey on the Poor In Texas?
by Kathryn Freeman on February 26, 2015 in clc
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 require a job and access to a bank account. Payday lenders are not required to determine the...
Freedom for captives: The CLC is working to end trafficking
by Kathryn Freeman on February 5, 2015 in clc
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 are forced into manual labor or commercial sexual acts against their will. This modern day slavery exists in...
Political leaders still need to address immigration issues
Recently, President Obama announced steps he is taking to help undocumented immigrants living in our country. The executive action increases border security in addition to providing temporary relief for some families and individuals.
Despite the President's actions, the immigration system remains broken and in need of significant attention. We still need a permanent, holistic immigration bill that secures the borders, affirms families, treats people with dignity, and gives clarity with regards to status in this country.
My hope is for our legislative leaders to work together with the President to bring resolution to the immigration...