The election is finally over, however, our political engagement as Christians should not cease. Our political engagement extends far beyond the voting booth, and now the real work is about to begin. What matters most is not who our elected officials are, but what they do in the office they temporarily hold. The 87th Legislative Session will begin on January 12, 2021.
Here are a few of the important issues:
COVID-19 is by far the most important issue that will be addressed because it has single-handedly reshaped life as we once knew it. COVID-19 has affected our health, safety and economic well-being in this year, and it does not seem to be leaving us anytime soon. Even though a vaccine may be available, that is not a total cure, nor will it erase the damage that Covid-19 has already done. In the future, there could be more potential shutdowns of businesses, face mask mandates and regulations on public education during Covid-19. All of these issues and many more will be the first order of business during this year’s legislative session.
While there are no explicit teachings in the Bible that forbid gambling, believers should be wary of the greed and addiction that often result from habitual engagement, often with dire consequences. Though it is not our place to legislate morality and impose our convictions on those who do not share our faith, it is our place to speak up for and defend those who are oppressed (Isa 58:6-8; cf. Micah 6:8; Ps 103:6). The practices of the gambling industry are often predatory towards those of lower-income. They present misleading ads about the chances of winning, encourage addictive habits with aggressive follow-up tactics and provide no safeguards for those who reach a point of crushing debt. Their very business model is to take more than they give and to keep taking till people have nothing left to give. This is why the Christian Life Commission (CLC) takes a firm stance against the legalization of gambling in Texas.
From its inception, the Church was commissioned with the care for the poor and vulnerable. As we approach the 87th session, we know budgets will be a top priority on our legislators’ minds. We must ensure that, while budget cuts are a natural part of our governing process, those most vulnerable must be protected. We are concerned and watching closely the HHSC proposals to cut funding in Texas Medicaid programs, Early Childhood Education and women’s preventative care. The CLC will be advocating for the protection and support of all programs that focus on caring for vulnerable women, families and children in the upcoming session as a part of following our Micah 6:8 mandate.
Stay connected with the Christian Life Commission. Sign up for the CLC Today newsletter for legislative updates. Text CLCTODAY to 22828 to be added to the email list. Visit texasbaptists.org/clc.