Texas Impact Hosts Interfaith Advocacy Day at Texas Capitol
National Council of Jewish Women joined other faith leaders from the Muslim and Christian communities at the Capitol for Interfaith Advocacy Day, hosted by Texas Impact. Credit: Noah Westfall.
By Ellen Sable
On March 28, National Council of Jewish Women joined other faith leaders from the Muslim and Christian communities in an Interfaith Advocacy Day hosted by Texas Impact.
The morning consisted of issue presentations on public education, climate change and disaster preparedness, health and human services, and legislation allowing discrimination. Appointments with legislators occurred in the afternoon, including scheduled visits with 14 senate offices and 31 representative offices, covering major population centers of the state.
As the Texas legislature heads into its final couple of months, specific bills were discussed and positions were outlined. One major bill participants spoke against is Senate Bill 17, which would allow anyone licensed by the state of Texas to discriminate if they feel that providing services violates their religious freedom. SB15, which prevents local governments from regulating business employment policies such as protection for LGBT and low-wage workers, was also opposed.
A year and a half after Hurricane Harvey, Texas Impact members advocated support for bills strengthening collaboration between government agencies and faith and community-based organization to improve effective responses to hazards caused by climate change.
Public education, on everyone’s radar, was addressed by voicing support for additional revenue by modernizing the funding formulas, raising teacher pay and improve equitable distribution to low-income and historically underperforming student groups.
Legislators were urged to address health care and human services by supporting bills on Medicaid expansion, 12-month continuous eligibility for child Medicare, and dental benefits for people with disabilities, but opposing attempts to weaken access to affordable healthy food in disadvantaged communities.
In all these issues, the core faith principle of all humanity created b’tzelem Eloheim, in the image of the Eternal, is carried forward. Texas Impact is the state’s oldest and largest interfaith legislative network, representing more than 5 million Texans. They work to advance state public policies that are consistent with universally held social principles of mainstream faith communities. A board of directors sets their agenda every two years, reflecting the consensus of its member denominations and faith traditions. ■