The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, provides occasional “Inside the Capitol” updates.
By Minnesota Catholic Conference
The 2023 legislative session will be filled with challenges and opportunities. Gov. Tim Walz and DFL legislative majority leaders promised to use their historic “trifecta” to, at the outset, make our state’s abortion regime even more permissive and legalize recreational marijuana. These policy challenges present a tremendous opportunity for Minnesota Catholics to, as Pope Francis has said, “meddle in politics” by proposing a positive vision: the ability to choose what we ought, not the license to choose what we want.
Abortion is already legal up until birth in Minnesota, and our state Supreme Court has declared abortion access part of the right to privacy in our constitution. Almost half of abortions are paid for by taxpayers. The court’s decisions already put Minnesota on par with North Korea and China. Yet, abortion proponents want to take abortion access even further by enshrining this radical regime in our statutes.
We must work against a policy of abortion on demand. But in saying “no” to abortion, we must help people say “yes” to life. We propose creating a supportive climate for mothers and families by promoting policies such as nutritional support for expectant mothers, adequate health care coverage during and after pregnancy for both the mother and child, a child tax credit, child care assistance, housing support and more.
Similarly, when it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana, we owe Minnesotans a positive vision of the good. Rather than enabling people to dull their brain function with marijuana, we should address the root causes that lead so many to recreational drug use in the first place. As Catholics, we believe there is a better path to justice than normalizing and commercializing a drug that has been linked to the degradation of communities, the environment and the common good.
Legalizing what some will treat as a recreational activity will likely impose much harm on the rest of us, especially in the realm of public safety, where it is associated with an increase in crime and traffic accidents.
Marijuana endangers those already struggling with substance abuse and serves as a gateway drug for youth. Among states where recreational marijuana is legal, drug use among teenagers increases. We owe it to Minnesotans to provide safe roadways, safe workplaces and healthy internal and external environments to raise children.
Catholics cannot only oppose the killing of the innocent and the legalizing of vice. We must also propose a better alternative: a positive vision of the good. You can do so by asking your legislators to enact policies that create a welcoming environment for all.
Join us for Capitol Thursdays! From January to May, RSVP to join us any second or fourth Thursday at 10 a.m. At our office, we’ll equip you to successfully advocate for policies that bring about a positive vision of the good before you then meet with your legislators.
We must also pray for our legislators. Join us for adoration each first Friday of the month (January to May) any time from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Capitol in the Governor’s Dining Room. In April, adoration will take place on the 14th due to Good Friday.
There is free parking at our office — 525 Park Street — for adoration or Capitol Thursdays. Head to MNCatholic.org/events for details and to RSVP.
Photo: Dianne Towalski / The Central Minnesota Catholic