Legislative Priorities Report for December 23, 2020
As it is Christmas week, I am taking the liberty of speaking a little more personally on two of our Legislative Priorities. This is the week I and millions of other Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The book of Luke tells us that when Mary was pregnant with Jesus, she went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with John the Baptist. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she said, “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44 NIV)
There is no denying now, scientifically, that preborn babies are separate, individual human beings from the moment of conception. As Elizabeth tells us, they are capable of hearing and feeling joy. This account of two extraordinary babies reinforces that life is sacred.
Our Legislative Priority on the Abolition of Abortion — an RPT Legislative Priority for the third session in a row — recognizes these facts. We seek to protect all babies, knitted together in their mother’s wombs in the image of God.
Our current Texas Penal Code — Sec. 107(a)(26) — defines an “individual” as a human being who is alive, including an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization to birth.” This current law demands, then, that abortion be abolished in the state of Texas. Regardless of implications for court battles, will our Representatives and Senators simply do the right thing this session? I shudder to think of one day standing before God having to admit that I was playing politics rather than doing everything possible to stop this atrocity.
The other Legislative Priority that is appropriate to acknowledge this week is our Religious Freedom. A few days ago, Chairman West put out a statement regarding a memo that promoted a secular government, given to the Biden administration, by the Secular Democrats of America PAC. He warned about the progressive left attacking Christians, and he is exactly right in his alarm.
According to their blueprint:
“The rise of white Christian nationalism is a national security threat,” read the document. “We recommend you: encourage the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to dedicate resources to de-radicalization programs aimed at hate groups, including, but not limited to, white nationalists; increase monitoring of such groups, including the online environment, and take action to address increased hate crimes toward minority faith communities; and shift rhetoric to label violent white nationalist extremists as terrorists.”
That would be me and many people I know. We are white, we are Christian, and we support nationalism over globalism. According to this plan, I will be targeted for “de-radicalization programs,” being monitored, and labeled a violent terrorist. Don’t say it can’t happen, the progressive Democrats are telling us it will. We have already seen churches shut down, Christian pastors arrested for daring to hold church, and restrictions placed on congregational gatherings, even as our Bible tells us not to forsake assembling together, COVID or no COVID.
More than ever, our Legislative Priority of Religious Freedom is crucial. We must place safeguards on the religious freedoms we do have, along with reigning in any local ordinances, state laws, or executive orders that violate these rights. People of faith, no matter what religion, must be able to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs. And, don’t for a moment think that secular humanism is not a religion. The god they worship is self. They are the ones wanting to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. Will we have bold and courageous members of the House and Senate protect our religious liberties?
Finally, I would be remiss not to thank four men, two returning House members and two newly elected: Representatives Kyle Biedermann and Tony Tinderholdt, and Representatives-elect Jeff Cason and Bryan Slaton. They wrote a strong letter to Speaker candidate Phelan reminding him that committee chairmanships, particularly those that will hear our Legislative Priorities, must be chaired by Republicans. There is a clear distinction between what it means to be a Democrat versus a Republican, and the voters sent a majority of Republicans to the State Legislature this session. We appreciate when our representatives take a clear stand as these men did, so thank you gentlemen. We look forward to more joining you.
My prayer is for you all to have a blessed and Merry Christmas.
For God and Texas,
SREC, SD 12
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee
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