Minnesota’s legislature ends its regular session in mid-May. This deadline makes right now a key time for Catholics to fulfill the missionary call to bring our faith into the public arena by speaking up for policies that uphold life and dignity. Hundreds of Catholics from nearly every legislative district across Minnesota answered that call to be missionary disciples by meeting with their legislators via Zoom on April 16th as part of the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s biennial “Catholics at the Capitol” event. The day prior, during the livestreamed event, attendees were formed in the faith, informed on several policy issues at the Capitol, and sent on mission to build relationships with their legislators.
In virtual meetings with the senators and representatives, Catholic constituents spoke out against the legalization of recreational marijuana, H.F. 600 (Winkler) / S.F. 757 (Franzen), which would create a commercial marijuana industry in Minnesota that preys on the poor and vulnerable especially our youth and those who already struggle with addiction. The attacks on human dignity by no means stop at legalizing marijuana; Catholics also spoke out in their meetings against a bill that would deny rights to prenatal children. H.F. 259 (Morrison) / S.F. 731 (McEwen), the “Protect Reproductive Options Act” not only would further enshrine in Minnesota law a so-called mother’s “right” to abort her unborn child, but the bill goes even further to state that a human being at any stage of life before birth has no individual rights.
Despite the many attacks on life and human dignity in our state, as Catholics, we are called to be people of hope. Therefore, we do not only oppose these attacks, but we also find opportunities to promote the life and dignity of all. Because of this, attendees also spoke up in support of a bill that would enable immigrants who do not have U.S. citizenship the ability to apply for a driver’s license using other legal documentation. H.F. 1163 (Winkler) will help ensure that immigrants have the opportunity to legally drive to meet their daily needs without fearing family separation.
Catholics at the Capitol attendees witnessed during their meetings with legislators how meaningful conversations with their elected officials can not only influence lawmaking but sway hearts and minds. Amid growing secular skepticism about faith in the public square, the livestreamed event encouraged Catholics to become missionary disciples, not activists, who are formed, informed, and equipped to transform our state as faithful citizens.
Anyone who was unable to attend Catholics at the Capitol can still view the livestreamed talks by visiting the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s YouTube channel. We also encourage you to contact your elected leaders before the end of session. The easiest way to send them messages on several key issues is to visit the Catholic Advocacy Network Action Center and click on “Act Now” for each of the issues listed.