Legislative Positions 2015-16
Dignity & Sanctity of Human Life
Every human life is created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, human life is sacred and must be protected at all stages, from fertilization to natural death. Every human life is also worthy of dignity and respect. We are particularly responsible for protecting the life and dignity of the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn, disabled and elderly. Therefore, MFC supports legislation protecting the lives of the unborn and oppose efforts to end the lives of the disabled and elderly.
· End Taxpayer Funded Abortions
Since 1995, Minnesota taxpayers are forced to pay for about one third of all abortions performed in the state annually. That means about 4000 children per year are killed using our tax dollars. This abhorrent practice must be stopped. MFC, along with other allied faith- based and secular organizations, will work with legislators to end taxpayer-funded abortions.
· Pass the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”
This legislation would ban abortion at the point when the unborn child can feel pain—at 20 weeks. People on both sides of the abortion issue should agree that inflicting excruciatingly painful deaths on unborn children is senseless cruelty incompatible with civilized society. MFC, along with other allied faith-based and secular organizations, will work to see this bill become law in Minnesota and support the federal version.
· Require Licensing & Inspections of Abortion Facilities
Abortion facilities are not currently regulated or required to be inspected in Minnesota. The lack of regulation and inspection of abortion facilities is a serious women’s health issue that can potentially be fatal. MFC, along with other allied faith-based and secular organizations, will work to require licensing and inspections of abortion facilities.
Continue to Oppose State or Federal Legislation Allowing for Legalized Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Organizations that support prematurely ending life such as Compassion and Choices and Final Exit have set their sights on Minnesota, already actively working to advance legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide legislation in our state. Moreover as the idea that prematurely ending a valued and unique life infiltrates culture, Belgium recently passed a law allowing for terminally ill children to be euthanized. MFC, along with other allied faith-based and secular organizations, will actively oppose any legislative attempts to prematurely end any human life and will work tirelessly to defeat such legislation.
Religious Freedom & Rights of Conscience
Like the right to life, the right to religious freedom is God-ordained. Therefore, civil government can neither grant that right nor take it away—freedom of religion is simply inherent to who we are as God’s created beings. Our Founding Fathers saw this right as so foundational, they declared it to be our “First Freedom,” the first of the freedoms declared in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. The importance of religious freedom is also stated clearly in the Minnesota Constitution:
…The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any man be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any religious or ecclesiastical ministry, against his consent; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship… (Art. I, Sec. 16)
Therefore, MFC supports legislation that protects and promotes religious freedom for all.
· Secure the Right of Every Minnesotan to Live and Work According to Their Faith Now That Same-Sex “Marriage” Is Law
In 2013, liberal legislators, led by state and national LGBT-rights groups, redefined marriage in Minnesota without providing even basic religious freedom accommodations to individuals, business owners, and even some churches and religious organizations. The penalties for “discrimination” for business owners and others whose beliefs conflict with the celebration of a same-sex marriage include hefty fines, potential loss of a family business, and even jail time. Indeed, the same-sex marriage law, and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, make clear that living according to one’s religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman is now a criminal offense. MFC will work with allied organizations to ensure that even though same-sex marriage is the law of the land, no Minnesotan is punished for his or her beliefs.
· Protect the Religious Freedom of Public School Students
No child should ever be forced to abandon his or her religious freedom in order to attend school. Our children should not be penalized for expressing a religious belief or worldview as part of classroom dialogue or an assignment, so long as they meet the academic standards set for the exercise or assignment. Additionally, if a school permits student organizations to form and meet on campus, student religious organizations should have the same rights and privileges. MFC will work with allied organizations to ensure our children continue to have these rights when they cross the threshold of their school.
· Protect the Religious Freedom of University Students
Just as our public school children do not shed their religious freedom rights when they enter their school, our university students do not shed theirs when they step onto campus to earn an undergraduate or graduate level degree. MFC will work with allied organizations to ensure our university students have clear religious freedom protections at their institutions of higher learning.
Dignity & Sanctity of Marriage, Family, and Human Sexuality
God created two halves of humanity, male and female, each complementary to the other and designed to serve a distinct role in Creation. Marriage, the unique, lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman, is a relationship unique among all others. Marriage is the cornerstone of the family, and family serves as the building block for all of society. When these basic biological and social constructs break down, society breaks down.
MFC supports efforts to affirm the dignity and inherent worth of each man and woman. MFC also supports efforts to strengthen marriages and families and opposes efforts to redefine or tear down marriage and family.
· Encourage and Strengthen Marriage and Families
Marriage is a gift from God, a relationship unique among all others. Marriage unites in a lifelong union the two halves of humanity, man and woman, each with their complementary role in order to serve as the ideal context for romantic, sexual love and for creating new life. Marriage then serves as the building block upon which all of society is built, and it is at the heart of the family. Together, marriage and the family serve as foundational institutions upon which all other institutions depend. When marriages and families break down, the moral and social fabric of society breaks down, and the most important “check” on the power of government is lost.
MFC supports efforts to encourage and strengthen marriages and families, including eliminating marriage penalties in social programs and encouraging families to stay together. MFC supports legislation that focuses on “the best interest of the child” as opposed to the desires of adults. MFC opposes efforts to penalize or undermine marriages, encourage a culture of divorce, or redefine marriage.
· Celebrate the Differences Between the Two Genders and Oppose Efforts to Redefine Gender
God created two distinct genders, each to be complementary to the other, and each to play a distinct role in His creation. MFC supports efforts to strengthen and honor God’s unique design for men and women, and opposes efforts that encourage and celebrate the lie that gender can (and should) be changed like an outfit without consequence.
· Oppose Reproductive Commodification of Women and Children
Every human life is created in the image and likeness of God, and the miracle of birth is a God-given gift. The commercial surrogacy industry turns the God-given process of creating life into a mere business transaction, turns women and their bodies into commodities, and makes children products for sale. Like the prostitution and human trafficking industries, the surrogacy industry requires women to provide bodily services for money, and the “product” for sale is a newborn baby.
While the pain of infertility is deep, the end of achieving parenthood does not justify every means. Because children are a gift from God, there is no “human right” to a child, and children are not for sale. There are many other serious unaddressed concerns surrounding the process of commercial surrogacy that have yet to be addressed, including: the potential risks to the emotional and physical wellbeing of children born by surrogacy; the potential emotional and physical health risks to women whose bodies are used for surrogacy; the ethical and legal implications of turning economically or emotionally vulnerable women into a breeder class for the wealthy; the serious prolife concerns regarding whether or not surrogacy contracts can include abortion clauses; how surrogacy contracts avoid addressing “the best interests of the child”; and the questions over what happens to a child whose “intended parents” decide they do not want him or her. These concerns are why some states and many countries, including most of Europe, have banned commercial surrogacy.
MFC supports legislation that would enable legislators to take a much closer look than ever before at these deep issues surrounding the commercial surrogacy industry, and ultimately prohibit commercial surrogacy as a practice in this state.
· Support Efforts to End Human Trafficking
Trafficking (forced labor or sexual exploitation) is a direct affront to the dignity of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God. MFC supports efforts to prevent trafficking, to provide rescue and restoration to victims of trafficking, as well as to punish those who cause the demand for sexual and labor exploitation--the traffickers and those who purchase human beings as commodities.
· Promote Adoption
The legal mechanism of adoption was designed by state governments as a means to address the serious and heartbreaking problem of children not being raised and loved by their own biological parents for whatever reason—while keeping the best interest of the children as the standard. MFC supports efforts to make it easier for children without homes to be adopted by reducing the cost and regulations that limit the placement of children in adoptive homes and efforts to streamline the adoption process so that children can move as quickly as possible out of the foster care system. MFC supports placing children in loving, supportive households headed by a married man and woman as the best opportunity for children.
Education, the opportunity to use the brain and skills God instilled in each of us to better our understanding of His world and our role in it, is a gift we are blessed with in the United States. We thrive as a society when parents have the ability to oversee the education best suited for their children’s safety and success. The God-given responsibility for the education of children resides with their parents, not the state. Therefore the state should do all in its power to protect and facilitate this fundamental right of parents. Public schools should operate with the understanding that parents ultimately bear the responsibility for raising children. Abdication of that responsibility by some parents should not be used as a basis for infringing on the rights of parents who are carrying out this God-given responsibility.
MFC supports efforts to strengthen and protect the role of private and homeschools, and we support efforts to strengthen and facilitate the right of parents to choose the type of school best suited for their children’s safety and success.
· Protect the Privacy and Safety Rights of All Students
Public schools have a primary duty to protect the dignity, health, and welfare of the students in their care. Allowing students to use intimate facilities (such as bathrooms) reserved for the opposite biological sex or permitting biological males to compete on female athletic teams constitutes a violation of students’ basic dignity, privacy, and safety rights. Schools can and should accommodate a small number of students with different needs without compromising the rights of all children and their parents. MFC supports legislation that protects and honors the dignity, health, and welfare of students while accommodating the different needs of some students.
· Parental Choice in Education
Parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children and should have the ability to choose the best education-setting for their children—whether public, private, or independent. MFC supports legislation that expands and encourages parental choice in education through tax policies establishing tax credits and a private education foundation.
· Parental Rights in Education
The right of parents to direct the education of their children has been regarded as a fundamental right by the U.S. Supreme Court. MFC supports legislation that recognizes the right of parents to be notified and choose to opt-out their children (without punishment) when curriculum or teaching materials contains sexual acts, excessive violence, and family life curricula. Parents also have a right to access all written records kept on their children, remove their children from school for religious purposes, review teaching materials, be informed of disciplinary proceedings, be informed about guest speakers and what material they will present, and more. MFC supports policies that clarify and protect these foundational rights of parents.
· Bullying Prevention
Bullying in schools is harmful to students’ social and academic wellbeing, and bullying against any child is an affront to the dignity of that child as a person made in the image of God. We support legislation that empowers local school districts, parents and students to work together to create policies to prevent and address bullying in their public schools. Any bullying policy should ensure that all children should be protected from bullying, as well as ensure that parents have a right to know when their child is bullied or accused of bullying. The right approach to bullying clearly defines the term “bullying” so that students are not punished as “bullies” for expressing their religious, moral, or political values—or those of their parents. The right approach to bullying focuses on the unacceptable behaviors and the benefit of the policy to the children involved, not on the attitudes, agenda, or particular value set of any group or bureaucratic entity.
· Early Childhood Education
Parents should be empowered to care for their own children, rather than encouraged to send their children to government early childhood programs. The state should establish tax credits that empower parents to do so.
· Sexual Education
Once again, it is important to recognize parents as those ultimately responsible for the education of their children, particularly with regard to sensitive topics like sexual education. School districts need not be involved in educating our children about subjects such as contraception, procreation, and other types of sexual activities. When schools do choose to provide instruction on these matters, MFC supports legislation that requires the inclusion of abstinence-based sexual education (not just contraceptive-based sexual education) and policies that support the right of parents to opt-out their children from such instruction.
Harms to Society & the Family
· Oppose Gambling Expansion (particularly via the Internet)
Gambling has corrosive, destructive impacts on the values and morals of individuals and society. It encourages greed and irresponsible behavior. For many people it is a highly addictive, destructive activity. The costs to society far outweigh any perceived social and economic benefit. Government exists to protect and serve—it should not be exploiting its own citizens by encouraging gambling. MFC supports legislation eliminating state-sponsored predatory gambling and prohibiting Class III forms of gambling, e.g. video, casino, and pari-mutual betting.
· Oppose the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
As every major medical association agrees, marijuana is both harmful and addictive. Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana the consequences include: The majority of DUI arrests involve marijuana, a 32 percent increase in marijuana-related incidents at school, a youth and young adult marijuana-use rate well higher than the national average, and an 82 percent increase in hospitalizations related to marijuana use. The social costs will far outweigh any perceived financial benefit of marijuana legalization. MFC opposes efforts to legalize recreational marijuana.