Minnesota Bishops Meet with Lawmakers to Advocate for Common Good

As the Minnesota Legislature is mid-way through the 2024 legislative session and deciding what bills to advance forward and pass into law, Minnesota’s bishops are urging our lawmakers to support legislation that serves the common good, protects religious liberty, and strengthens families.

On Thursday, March 7, the bishops of the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) came together to advocate at the State Capitol—a yearly tradition for the bishops. While MCC staff are typically deployed to be their day-to-day voice at the Capitol, the bishops make it a priority to advocate in person on key issues and to get to know legislators on a personal level. 

This year, the bishops met with Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, and legislative leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, and House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth joined by Representative Jim Nash, the House Minority Whip. 

The bishops also met with legislators from their individual dioceses. In the spirit of faithful citizenship, it was a rewarding experience for the bishops to get to know or strengthen their relationships with many of the elected officials serving our state at the Capitol.  

In total, the bishops had nearly 20 scheduled meetings and numerous conversations in the hallways and during their meet-and-greet with legislators, staff, and constituents throughout the day. Watch our MCC Weekly Legislative Update to hear directly from bishops on how the day went.   

Safeguarding Religious Freedom 

A key issue the bishops emphasized is the paramount importance of upholding religious freedom for citizens and faith groups in Minnesota. They voiced concerns over a religious exemption from gender identity discrimination complaints being removed from the Minnesota Human Rights Act, as well as the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which does not provide protection for religious discrimination but does include “gender identity, and expression” as a protected status. Consequently, the bishops fervently advocated for robust and ongoing protection of religious liberties, citing the imperative need to safeguard the mission and integrity of the Church to choose what it professes about the human person and to pick its ministers and teachers accordingly. The bishops were supported by the notable and strong interfaith support from Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Evangelicals, and Lutherans to reinstate the religious exemption protections in the MHRA. 

The bishops also expressed reservations regarding proposals for legalizing online sports gambling, citing the potential adverse effects on vulnerable individuals and their families from putting a sports casino in every pocket via the smartphone, particularly those susceptible to addiction. They asked lawmakers to ensure proper safeguards would be included to mitigate the harm that could be caused by legalization, such as a ban on in-game betting.  

Exemplifying Faithful Citizenship 

Throughout their interactions and on a broad range of legislative concerns, including assisted suicide, migration, and economic security, the bishops exemplified faithful citizenship. Even amidst areas of divergence with legislators, they upheld the truths espoused by the Church, acknowledging the complexity of these contentious matters. They demonstrated principled advocacy, devoid of partisanship, fostering collaboration across political boundaries. 

You too can answer the call to faithful citizenship by engaging in meaningful action on these critical issues affecting Minnesota families. Take a stand by visiting MNCatholic.org/actionalerts, where you can convey your support to legislators via messages, videos, or phone calls, urging them to support policies that prioritize the well-being of every Minnesotan. 

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