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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
August 18, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • U.S. Bishops Respond to Charlottesville Attack
  • MCC Urges Civil Rights Commission to Protect Religious Liberties
  • The Word from Lansing Column: Health and Safety Matter for All Michigan Students
  • USCCB Says RAISE Act Weakens Family Bonds
 
  U.S. Bishops Respond to Charlottesville Attack  
 
In response to this weekend's events in Charlottesville, VA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement:
 
"We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love's victory over every form of evil is assured.  At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives.  Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression."
 
Here are some resources from the USCCB to help address racism in your community.
 
  MCC Urges Civil Rights Commission to Protect Religious Liberties  
 
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) this week submitted to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission a letter urging that body to refrain from reinterpreting its definition of the state's Civil Rights Act. The letter was sent during a public comment period in response to a request from Equality Michigan for the Commission to interpret the meaning of the word "sex" in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Michigan Catholic Conference is concerned that an effort from the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to reinterpret its understanding of the law would disregard necessary religious liberty protections. It is important to note that should the Commission move forward with reinterpreting the law, any decision would not be binding, meaning it would not have the force of law itself. According to MCC's letter to the Civil Rights Commission:
 
"A reinterpretation of the state's Civil Rights law - without religious liberty protections - would set Michigan to an extreme end of state civil rights laws, resulting in prejudice and indeed discrimination against people and institutions of faith."
 
Click here to read MCC's full letter and to learn more.
 
  The Word from Lansing Column: Health and Safety Matter for All Michigan Students  
 

In recent years, the Michigan Legislature has taken several steps to ensure the health and safety of all Michigan students, including the approval of $2.5 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for complying with state health and safety mandates. Unfortunately, opponents have challenged this funding and have articulated misleading information about nonpublic schools. The Word from Lansing column for August addresses these erroneous claims and highlights why Michigan should care for and protect students at all schools as a matter of fairness. A similar version of this column first ran in The Detroit News on July 26, 2017.

 
  USCCB Says RAISE Act Weakens Family Bonds  
 
Earlier in August, the U.S. Senate introduced the RAISE ACT, a measure which would permanently cap the number of refugees allowed safe passage to the United States. The bill would also restrict legal immigration, by limiting the pool of family-sponsored immigrants only to spouses and children. Currently, other family members can be sponsored, such as parents and siblings. The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, says that the newly proposed RAISE Act would cause our nation to turn its back on those setting out to build better lives, weaken family bonds and impact the nation's ability to respond to those in crisis.  Here is an excerpt from Bishop Vásquez's statement:
 
"The United States supports families and should not throw up obstacles to their unity. Unfortunately, the RAISE Act would have our nation turn its back on this long and storied tradition of welcoming families setting out to build a better life...The RAISE Act would permanently cap the number of refugees allowed safe passage, thereby denying our country the necessary flexibility to respond to humanitarian crisis. As a Church, we believe the stronger the bonds of family, the greater a person's chance of succeeding in life. The RAISE Act imposes a definition of family that would weaken those bonds."
 
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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940, publicpolicy@micatholic.org