Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Iowa Lutheran Day at the Hill

I think this is a great idea and think every synod should do something like this.

So basically a bunch of Lutherans are bussed into the state capitol to talk to their representatives about important issues.  They handed out blue T shirts for everyone to wear.  It was cool to see all the blue shirts around the capitol but my mama didn't raise me to meet my representative at the Capitol wearing a T shirt.  To me this was a collar day. 

Ours was sponsored by Lutheran Services in Iowa, and funded by a grant from the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.

Monday we were asking our legislators to increase funding for Human Services by 5%.  Which isn't much to ask, considering it was defunded by 5% in 2009 during recession and now we have a budget surplus.

We got a little pep talk before hand and were encouraged to talk about how we are doing this because of our faith.  I took a little different tact.  Yes my faith compels me to care for my neighbor but I don't know that is a good reason to convince my government to take care of my neighbor.

I argue that it is in our best interests as a country and state, city, community to take care of the most vulnerable in our society.  We are all better off when nobody goes hungry.  It is good for us when addicted people get treatment, troubled youth get counseling, dysfunctional families have resources, disabled get job training, refugees get help adjusting to a new country.  This seems really obvious to  me.  You don't have to be a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Wiccan to see how this is a good thing.  Yes it is costly, but not addressing these concerns ends up costing us a lot more, if not in prison costs, but potential loss of contributions by people who just needed some help. 

So I got to see my state senator and I didn't have to do much convincing.  "Oh I absolutely agree" she concurrs.  Then she points across the room - the the State House.  "That's your problem.  We put together a budget including increases for human services.  They have a different budget"  Need a say the Iowa Senate, like our Congress is mostly Democrat and our House is Republican. 

There was at time when this was NOT a partisan issue.  When everyone agreed it was good provide human services.  Now even though we can afford it in Iowa anyway, partisan ideology is getting in the way of helping people.  That sucks.  It also sucks that my Republican representative did not answer my email when I told him I was coming, nor was he available.  A lot of representatives were not available.

Anyway I think this was a great experience for people.  Very educational to learn how our government works.  To have an opportunity to speak for people who don't have lobbyists to represent their interests.  To let representatives know there is another Christian lobby that is interested in something other than abortion and gays. 

For more information about Lutheran Day at the Hill.

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