lady justice

Public Policy Update: Death Penalty, Food Policy and PBS Feature

February 28th, 2012 at 11:31 am

CLC holds Death Penalty Discussion and Film Screening at Baptist University of the Americas
On January 30th and 31st the CLC partnered with the Baptist University of the Americas and Texas Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty to host a film screening and panel discussion on capital punishment in Texas. The CLC was joined by Rev. Carroll Pickett, former chaplain to inmates on Huntsville’s death row, subject of the powerful documentary “At the Death House Door” and author of “Within These Walls.”

Several members of the greater San Antonio community came to Henderson Chapel on the BUA campus to watch the film on Monday night and returned Tuesday for a panel discussion. The panel featured Stephen Reeves, Legislative Counsel for the CLC, Dr. Javier Elizondo professor at BUA, Rev. Pickett and former Bexar County District Attorney and recently outspoken critic of the system of conviction and execution in Texas, Sam Millsap. There was a lively discussion with folks on all sides of the issue of not only the morality of the death penalty from a Christian ethics standpoint, but also the legal realities in Texas. Rev. Pickett was the guest preacher for the chapel service for BUA students and faculty on Tuesday morning.

In 2003 the CLC concluded a two year study of the death penalty by publishing a report called Christians and Capital Punishment. The report, which examined the practice from many angles including biblical teachings, church history and modern implementation, made two major policy recommendations – the first was to add life without the possibility of parole as a sentencing option and the second was to institute a moratorium on the death penalty in Texas until the injustices in the system could be rectified. The CLC helped to pass life without parole in 2005 and there has been a steady decline in the number of death sentences handed out in Texas since then. Recently, a great deal of media coverage has been devoted to the issue due to high profile wrongful convictions, the high costs of the death penalty and the fact that several states have discontinued the practice.

Texas Food Policy Roundtable to Convene in March
The Texas Food Policy Roundtable will meet on March 6, 2012 at the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin, Texas for its first quarterly meeting of the year. The Roundtable has been meeting quarterly since 2010, discussing issues of policy related to four food-related areas: SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps), summer nutrition programs, obesity and nutrition issues, and local and sustainable foods. All are welcomed to attend.
If you would like to attend, please contact anne.olson@texasbaptists.org for more details.

CLC Director, Texas Hunger Initiative and Texas Health Institute Featured in PBS Series
CLC Director Suzii Paynter shares the work of Texans who fight against hunger alongside other advocates from the state in the upcoming PBS series Texas Feeding Minds.

This project is an educational awareness effort by Texas PBS Stations to help combat childhood obesity and hunger in our state. Nearly 40% of children in Texas are obese or overweight.  At the same time, Texas has the second highest food insecurity rate among children in the nation.  This awareness campaign aims to address both sides of this coin.  How can hunger and obesity exist side-by-side in Texas?  What can we, as Texans, do to combat both? By elevating awareness of these issues and providing information and resources to youth, families and the general public, Texas PBS Stations are doing their part in combating both childhood obesity and hunger in our state.

The project’s web-based outreach component has kicked off thanks to support from Blue Bell Ice Cream.  Texas PBS stations in several communities are preparing to loan out cameras for the public – including youth – to be part of this story by collecting and sharing video about their own experiences with hunger and healthy lifestyle choices.  Check out the YouTube channel link where these stories will reside. Watch the Documentary, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, in full here.

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