Friday, February 18, 2011

Day on the Hill

Yesterday Amy & I joined about 850 others at the Joint Religious Legislation Coalition’s (JRLC) Day on the Hill. This is the yearly lobbying effort by the JRLC. The JRLC only lobbies on issues on which the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish & Muslim community can agree.

We rode down to the River Centre with Bob & Carol Cuthill. As we registered I was very pleased to see so many Presbyterian pastors present. The room was packed with people. Governor Mark Dayton was the keynote speaker. Here were a few quotes from his speech
• “I believe in the separation of church and state. I believe in freedom for religion not of religion."
• “Budgets reflect our values. It’s not hard to balance the budget. We could balance the budget by having schools open three days a week; we’d have a surplus is they were open two days a week; we could close half of MNSCU and balance the budget.”
• "I increased the taxes on wealthy Minnesotans because I know they can pay more taxes."
• "We’re here for other people; we’re not hear for ourselves."

After Dayton spoke Fatma Reda from the Islamic Resource Center spoke. Father David Mc Cauley, the Interim Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference spoke.

Brian Rushce, Executive Director of the JRLC gave issue briefings on saving the safety net, keeping an impartial judiciary, and the budget & taxes. I was very impressed with the large number of facts that Rusche gave us to use. For more information about what the JRLC is advocating in this session go to:

After eating lunch we rode over in yellow school busses to the State Capital Complex. We stood in the rotunda of the Capitol as the JRLC shared their awards. Lucinda Jesson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services also spoke.

After the rally we went to meet with legislators. I was with groups who met with State Senator, Roger Chamberlain, and State Reps, Linda Runbeck and Tim Sanders. The priorities of the JRLC are different than all three of these politicians. They listened and talked to us with respect.

I enjoyed spending time with the “Caring in Common” group from District 53. They meet at Panera Bread in Vadnais Heights on the first Saturday morning of every month to talk about issues. They received the 2011 Interfaith Social Justice Community Award.

Minnesota is a much better state because of the work of the JRLC. It’s rare that a religious organization can unite the three main religions of the our area. I think Jesus would have been very happy with the many religious leaders who were walking around the Capitol yesterday.

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