The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, provides an occasional “Inside the Capitol” update during the state legislative session.
By Minnesota Catholic Conference
Each spring, the bishops from Minnesota’s six dioceses who comprise the Minnesota Catholic Conference convene in St. Paul to meet with the governor and key state legislators. The annual day of meetings, which typically occurs around the midpoint of the legislative session, helps give momentum to the advocacy of MCC staff, who are tasked with bringing the bishops’ legislative concerns to the attention of lawmakers.
This year, the bishops focused their conversations with Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller and other key legislative leaders on strengthening family economic security by creating a Minnesota Child Tax Credit, combating homelessness by assisting the work of emergency shelters, providing equitable funding to nonpublic pupil aid programs, and opposing the legalization of online sports gambling.
As always, these conversations showcase an excellent model of faithful citizenship. Even during points of disagreement, the bishops and legislative leaders engaged in civil dialogue as all recognize that these are difficult issues with myriad considerations. The Church’s advocacy is principled, not partisan, thereby allowing Catholics to work collaboratively across the political spectrum.
The policy advocacy of our bishops offers a credible witness to the Gospel and is an expression of their pastoral care for all people in the community, especially the poor and vulnerable. By modeling principled advocacy, our bishops help our elected officials come to view the Church as a home for people to know, love and serve the Lord.
Sports gambling platforms
Minnesota’s Catholic bishops joined a coalition of faith leaders from Minnesota’s Jewish, Muslim,and Protestant communities to express opposition to the legalization of commercial sports gambling via a letter delivered to the governor and every member of the Minnesota House and Senate.
The letter — which was spearheaded by our partner organization, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) — lays out concerns, not only from a moral perspective but also addresses the very real costs of gambling and the damage that would be created by normalizing mobile device gambling.
The fact that the letter was signed by a diverse array of nearly two dozen faith leaders ranging from rabbis in Duluth, to outstate Protestant leaders, to Muslim imams in the Twin Cities, highlights the underreported reality that the push by sports gambling companies to enter Minnesota is not as widely embraced as lawmakers may have been led to believe.
You can visit www.mncatholic.org/gambling to read the full letter.
Lawmakers are attempting to make Minnesota the land of anytime, anywhere gambling by allowing sports betting to be available through mobile apps. We must not unleash a new source of addiction and deprivation just so a privileged few can have a bit more fun watching a ballgame. Please visit our Action Center to find ways to get engaged on this important issue: https://www.mncatholic.org/actioncenter.