Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow need to hear from YOU before the Equality Act is considered in the U.S. Senate for a vote. The Catholic Church strongly believes that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. This federal legislation, however, actually does the opposite and needs to be opposed. Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith. Among other aspects, the bill would:
Punish faith-based organizations - such as charities and schools who serve everyone - because of their beliefs.
Risk mandating taxpayers to fund abortions.
Force girls and women to compete against boys and men for limited opportunities in sports and to share locker rooms and shower spaces with biological males who identify as women.
Force people in everyday life, and especially health care workers, to support gender transition.
Exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bipartisan measure that was signed into law by President Clinton to prohibit the federal government and the states from substantially burdening an individual's free exercise of religion.
African-American Catholics have contributed substantially to the shaping of communities across the country. Currently there are six African-Americans in the early stages of examination for sainthood: Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Venerable Henriette Delille, Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton, Mother Mary Lange, Julia Greeley, and Sr. Thea Bowman. Their life stories and witness to the Gospel demonstrate the importance of generosity, faith, and perseverance in the midst of challenges and at times, experiences of racism. Michigan Catholic Conference's latest FOCUS, With Gratitude Towards African-American Catholics, highlights current and potential saints of African descent and shares Catholic teaching that encourages all believers to speak out against racism.
In addition to FOCUS, MCC is pleased to provide additional materials intended to be of assistance toward facilitating a deeper understanding of Black and African-American Catholics and their contributions to the life of the Church in the United States. The materials also provide information about "America's Second Independence Day" - also known as Juneteenth - celebrated annually on June 19. Visit www.micatholic.org/withgratitude for more information.
Over the last several weeks, Michigan Catholic Conference has been pleased to see strong pro-life advocacy across the state to save the Hyde Amendment and similar federal policies. As mentioned in previous emails, these policies have prohibited taxpayer funding from paying for elective abortions for the past forty-five years and have saved an estimated 2.4 million children. However, in spite of these facts, certain elected officials are calling for them to be eliminated. If you have not yet signed the petition for members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, please do so now at www.NoTaxpayerAbortion.com.
This week, Michigan Catholic Conference supported the concepts contained in a package of law enforcement reforms before the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. More specifically, Senate Bills 473-476, 478, and 480-484 would:
Require the creation of guidelines for investigations into deaths caused by law enforcement and to communicate those guidelines to law enforcement agencies.
Include any "use of force" records to be included in an officer's record when they leave a department.
Revoke the license of a law enforcement officer that used excessive force if the force resulted in the death or serious bodily harm of another person; and prohibit the license from being reissued.
Allow those filing complaints against law enforcement to remain private.
Prohibit officers from applying pressure to a person's throat or windpipe to restrict blood or air flow unless the individual posed an immediate threat to the life of the officer.
Require every law enforcement agency in the state to create a written "duty to intervene" policy starting in July 2022. This policy would prevent a law enforcement officer from observing the use of excessive force by another officer without intervening.
Provide current and future officers with training on implicit bias, de-escalation, and behavioral health resources. The training would begin on January 1, 2023.
Require a research study and analysis to identify barriers in the recruitment of law enforcement officers. The study would help inform the development of a strategy for attracting and retaining high-quality individuals to the job.
Prohibit a person from knowingly or intentionally failing to activate a body camera for law enforcement purposes to interfere with a present or future official proceeding or an internal law enforcement investigation.
The bills are sponsored by Senators Roger Victory (R-Georgetown Twp.), Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Kenneth Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Jim Ananich (D-Flint), Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), Ruth Johnson (R-Holly), Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Twp.), and Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit). The package did not receive a vote this week.