Skip to comments.Yin/Yang [ECUSA lobbying Congress]
Posted on 08/12/2005 7:50:23 AM PDT by sionnsar
ECUSA gets ready to start lobbying the Congress for what it wants the Congress to do about a number of issues.
The best time to turn up the heat on issues of concern to Episcopalians is when Congress is back home, escaping Washingtons humid August, said Maureen Shea, director of the churchs Office of Government Relations. We hope many Episcopalians will join the members of our grassroots networks both clergy and lay to talk with their Members of Congress before they return to D.C. after Labor Day.
Working with John Johnson and Alex Baumgarten, the churchs domestic and international policy analysts, and based on the public policy resolutions passed at General Convention and in Executive Council, Shea identified the federal budget for FY 06, the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the Middle East as critical issues needing constituent support.
And in case you still don't think that ECUSA has chosen sides in the Middle East:
We have strongly supported the President in his quest for a two-state solution in which there is both an Israeli and Palestinian state, living side by side in peace. We have also been clear that while we view the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as an important step, it is a step not an end in itself. Other very serious issues remain, in particular the decision of the Israeli government to continue building settlements and to complete a separation barrier in Jerusalem by September 1. Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a State of Palestine, and this is an issue that should be resolved as part of final status negotiations between both parties.
ECUSA thinks Jerusalem should be the capital of both
the rest of the Palestinian state Israel and a Palestinian state. Seems to me that there wouldn't be all that much for "both parties" to negotiate about. But there is one thing that ECUSA thinks government shouldn't be doing at all.
The Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts is urging the clergy of the diocese to mobilize opposition to a bill before the state legislature which would require churches to submit annual financial reports and statements of assets to the state attorney general.
Senate Bill 1074, An Act Relative to Charities in Massachusetts, was introduced in response to the abuse scandals concerning the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
Opening the door to the intrusion of the state in church matters could begin a slippery slope to state intrusion into religion, the Rt. Rev. Roy Cederholm wrote on Aug. 9.
While the law was crafted to deal with a problem within the majority Roman Catholic Church in Massachusetts, it would adversely affect all religious groups, Ms. Everett said. Intervening like this in an internal dispute of one religious tradition is not the role of government.
In his letter to the clergy, Bishop Cederholm stated he joined the Massachusetts Council of Churches in asking parishes who have legislators who serve on the Judiciary Committee to contact those legislators as soon as you receive this to express your concern about this bill.
I have reservations about a bill like this. While it would not be onerous for large, healthy parishes, it might a tremendous burden for little storefront churches or some church or ministry that didn't even have a storefront. But my cynical side can't shake the notion that the reason Massachusetts ECUSA churches oppose this bill has much more to do with not having to reveal too much during the court cases that will spring up after ECUSA is run from the Anglican world then it does with concern about government intrusion in church affairs.
If it weren't so tragic, this would be funny. The vision these people have of their precious Palestinians doesn't pass muster with reality.
I took a look at what the ECUSA thinks the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic should be. Funding for caring for people with AIDS (both medications and ancillary care such as housing, etc.) is a high priority with them. Educating on safe-sex practices and non-sexual means of transmitting the disease is also a high priority. However, they don't like abstinence-only programs.
What isn't clear is how much they think abstinence should be included in any program. They are also supporting not having any religious content in AIDS prevention counseling, which seems an odd position for a Christian church to take.
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