Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, Aug. 14, 2019
BISHOPS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT RACISM AND MASS SHOOTINGS
Bishops from three committees at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed their deep concern on Aug. 8 about racism and xenophobia that apparently motivated the recent massacre in El Paso and that have motivated numerous other recent mass shootings in the United States. Following the tragic shooting in Dayton, the bishops asked Catholics to pray and raise their voices for needed changes to our national policies and culture. In addition, the bishops called upon relevant USCCB committees to outline a “reinvigorated policy agenda and pastoral campaign” to address mass shootings. Last year the Iowa bishops released a letter on such legislation.
HOW YOU CAN HELP MIGRANTS AT THE BORDER
The situation at the southern border of the United States has sparked discussion about public policy changes and ways to help migrants who are seeking asylum. There are many Catholic immigration ministries who are offering comfort to those in need. The Texas Catholic Conference has set up a webpage with a few ideas on how assist. Go to https://txcatholic.org/ministries-migration/.
In Washington, D.C., bishops from two committees at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have expressed their strong opposition to a final rule on public charge put forth by the Department of Homeland Security. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, FL, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, offered the following statement:
“This rule will undermine family unity and lead many lawful immigrants to forgo vital assistance, including enrollment in nutrition, housing, and medical programs. Families already in the U.S. will be faced with deciding whether to access critical assistance programs for which they qualify, knowing that in doing so they could jeopardize their ability to stay here with their loved ones. And, it will reduce the ability of many to reunify with family in the U.S. We have already seen the culture of fear that the anticipation of this rule has created in our communities. Ultimately, we believe that this rule is in tension with the dignity of the person and the common good that all of us are called to support.”
The bishops’ conference has commented in opposition to another rule undermining our current system of seeking asylum, arguing that the rule is actually in violation of current law. This rule would allow the Administration to block most individuals arriving at our southern border from gaining access to asylum in the U.S.
“The rule would turn our back on the vast majority of asylum seekers, requiring them to apply for protection in almost any other country through which they transit, leaving access to U.S. asylum exceptionally rare,” said Bishop Vásquez. “Not only do we believe that this rule is unlawful, but it also jeopardizes the safety of vulnerable individuals and families fleeing persecution and threatens family unity.”
THERE’S STILL TIME TO PASS THE ‘BORN-ALIVE’ ACT
Congress is in recess until Sept. 9, so now would be a good time for constituents like you to reach out to your member of Congress while he/she is back in town for the rest of the summer and ask them to sign the petition to bring up the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962) for a vote. (Thank you if you’ve already done so.) Click here to see the list of signers.
Data from some states and the Centers for Disease Control, along with testimony of medical staff, reveal that some babies survive attempted late-term abortions and are born alive. But rather than receiving appropriate care, there is shocking evidence that some of these babies are then left alone to die, or even killed.
Current federal laws, and the laws in 21 states, are not enough to ensure these babies are protected. The specific protections in H.R. 962 are essential to ensure that babies who survive an attempted abortion receive the same care as any other newborn at the same gestational age. This bill does not affect abortion’s legality or access, or a woman’s life or health. For more information go to www.babiesbornalive.com.
FEDERAL BILL WOULD SUPPORT FREE SPEECH FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
Please contact your members of Congress in support of a bill to prevent public universities from discriminating against student religious groups. The Equal Campus Access Act of 2019 would protect all students by withholding certain federal funding from public universities that discriminate against religious student groups.
Student organizations on college and university campuses should be able to select leaders who share the organizations’ goals. Religious groups are being kicked off campuses for requiring that leaders uphold the teachings of the group. Click here for a sample message to your members of Congress: https://votervoice.net/USCCB/Campaigns/67768/Respond.
Alert readers may recall that the Iowa Catholic Conference supported the passage of a similar law in Iowa earlier this year. That law went into effect on the end of March.