By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY—The Christian Life Commission (CLC) met July 22 at the Baptist Building and voted to affirm the analysis of its legislative liaison on a key ballot issue in Missouri’s Aug. 3 primary election.
The CLC’s representative at the Missouri State Capitol, Kerry Messer, said it is vital to examine Proposition C. Its passage, he said, would have the effect of exempting the state from “Obamacare” in terms of prohibiting abortion coverage in the insurance exchanges created by the new federal health care law.
Following a lengthy discussion, CLC Chairman Jeff Brown, associate professor of Christian Studies at Hannibal LaGrange College, presided over a unanimous July 22 vote where the body did not take a position but rather said it would let Messer personally speak as to why “Yes” is the proper vote on Proposition C.
Messer said it is time to “take a stand against the socialism in the federal health care law which would undermine all that we’ve fought for for over 200 years in this country.”
Four other states have opted out, but Missouri will be the first to put it to a vote of its citizens it. The others who have policy against it are Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Missouri is unique in that it is the first state to put “Obamacare” to a public vote.
The CLC also talked about preparations for the Oct. 25-27 Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) annual meeting at the Expo Center in Springfield.
Purchasing a display was discussed. The CLC also wants to increase its visibility and is examining ways to do that by increasing the number of people viewing its logo at the annual meeting. An expenditure of $3,500, or a cost that would slightly exceed it, was authorized for a display and logo. Spending an additional $2,700 for literature was approved. The CLC will also host a reception at the annual meeting.
Commissioners were also briefed as to their role in the Sept. 27 MBC Worldview Conference at Memorial Baptist Church here. MBC Executive Director David Tolliver said he would like to see the CLC bring greetings, participate in a panel discussion, and set up a booth that day. Brown facilitated a discussion on the best way for the CLC to have a good presence at the meeting.
Messer gave a briefing on legislative successes and challenges that have come out of the completion of the 2010 session. One of the major concerns is the expansion of bingo gambling advertising in Missouri, which could accelerate advertising spending for other forms of gambling, Messer said.
The issue of casino gambling and the filling of the state’s one open license for riverboats was mentioned. The CLC wishes to limit the economic and spiritual damage created by this form of gambling, and is studying its options on how to best do that, Brown said. There ultimately could be a CLC-generated letter of support going out to whichever group finds itself in the crosshairs of the gambling industry, be it in Cape Girardeau, St. Louis or Kansas City, he said.
“All Baptists hate gambling,” Brown said. “Our position would definitely be against it, wherever it’s at.”
Messer explained both the political and legal dynamics that are in play for each of the three possible locations for the new casino. Commissioners are now weighing that information.
There were five commissioners present at the meeting. Seven were absent. According to CLC bylaws, a quorum consists of those members present, with a majority deciding matters that are properly brought before the Commission.
The next CLC meeting is to be determined.