Capitol Building, Austin, Texas

Living the Christian Life – December 2012

December 20th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Models of Civil Engagement

Stephen Reeves

At the CLC, it is our conviction that living the Christian life includes taking our responsibilities as citizens seriously. We are so blessed to live in a country where the voice of the people makes a difference. And what a difference the combined voices of Texas Baptists can, and do make in our state. With the Texas Legislature convening in January, the best opportunity to impact public policy is upon us. While your vote is your voice, you are not silenced once your ballot is cast. The legislative process is where the rubber meets the road – where good policy, and not just politics, matters. And in Texas you only get this chance every other year. Those who have been elected (whether you voted for them or not) need to hear from you now about the issues that matter to you, your community and your church. This is especially true in 2013 because there will be so many members who are new to the legislature.

The CLC is here in Austin to help you. It is our responsibility to advocate for moral and ethical policies in-line with our Christian beliefs and principals, as directed, and on behalf of the members of the Christian Life Commission. In addition, we work to help keep Texas Baptists and all our supporters informed about the process and what is going on in Austin. It is our goal to be a trusted, well-informed, nonpartisan resource for our pastors, church members and elected officials on a wide range of public policy issues.

The cause of Christ is not advanced by simplistic, unfounded, blindly partisan positions. We must be backed by data and research and informed by our faith to be successful in advancing the common good of all Texans. We cannot expect success, nor honor our respected legacy, by simply citing scripture or threatening to fund an opponent in the next election. Just as important as what we say, is how we say it. The CLC hopes to be a bit of salt and light in the contentious world of the legislature. We believe Christians should be a model of civil engagement and respectful debate when advocating in the public square. We cannot let the no-holds-barred, winner-take-all mentality of politics mold our behavior.

Our commission members have approved our policy priorities for the upcoming 83rd Legislature. See the full list of priorities here: CLC Legislative Priorities 83rd Session (pdf). In addition, this newsletter contains detailed summaries of some of our top issue areas written by our staff members who will take the lead in that area. In the coming months we are committed to keeping you informed and letting you know when your voice can have the greatest impact.

Consider our office home base should you decide to make a visit to the capitol. We are happy to host you, introduce you to members, point you in the right direction and offer you a cup of coffee. For questions or details, please contact Julie Valentine at (512) 473-2288 or julie.valentine@texasbaptists.org.

With your help we can make a positive impact this session and maybe our state will end up looking a little more like the Kingdom.

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