Last week I had the privilege of traveling to Kentucky's state capitol to attend a news conference announcing a bill to reduce gun violence. I joined representatives of the Catholic Conference of Bishops, Youth Advocates, Highland Baptist Church, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, and several other service organizations. As the state representative sponsoring this important bill read the name "Dominican Sisters of Peace" as one of the groups present supporting the bill, it was clear to me that our footprints need to be found in the state legislatures around the country. This is an important opportunity to preach truth to power and influence decisions that affect the quality of life for millions.
This is one of many bills that are pro-life, which can bring healing to families and victims, healing to Earth. On February 14 I will again travel to Frankfort to attend the "I Love the Mountains" rally. We will challenge the reckless power of coal companies in blowing the tops off mountains of eastern Kentucky and challenge their continued dumping of toxic mine waste in headwater streams.
This session will also consider a bill to eliminate the death penalty. Another bill will create a "Safe Harbor" for children forced into commercial sex, treating them as victims rather than criminals.
All of these are critical social concerns in need of Gospel-driven responses from religious communities around the country. I see the offices of our representatives as a modern day pulpit awaiting our preaching. We join hands with those from many faith traditions in this urgent effort to stand with the poor, marginalized, victims, and battered Earth.
May there be an echo of the just word being preached in state legislators around the country!