Greetings WAC Community,
We proclaim Jesus, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. – Colossians 1:28
This past week for some was Christian Unity week, which may sound like an oxymoron given the strong disagreements among and even within Christian denominations. The church is to be the Body of Christ. How can that be when there is such a division among us?
When we were 12 years old, my school friend Stella Jean asked me if I had been baptized. I proudly said yes, that I had been baptized as a baby. “That doesn’t count,” she told me. Early Christians had a theological disagreement about whether one needed to be circumcised. I would hope that those kinds of matters do not keep us from being “one body in Christ.”
Churches do not have a pretty history on justice issues. We were not wise. We did not present everyone perfect in Christ. Instead the Bible has been used to justify slavery, the Manifest Destiny allowing people to be killed and their land taken and discrimination against gays and lesbians.
As Christians we have opportunities, like Jesus and others before us, to be the voice of justice. No it’s not just an opportunity. We have the obligation to do so. As churches, we are called to do justice for the common good.
This last week, the Joint Appropriations Committee of the Wyoming State Legislature in a narrow vote removed Medicaid expansion from the Governor’s budget. The decision makes no sense when the result is refusing $274.4 million in federal funds (that Wyoming taxpayers are already paying through federal income taxes) and leaving 20,000 of us, our neighbors and people within our church pews, without health coverage. What are they thinking, especially with concern about a state shortage of revenues? No one is hurt by doing the right thing in this case. Many are hurt by not doing the right thing.
This is not the end. The Legislature convenes on February 8th for a 20-day budget session. Medicaid expansion can be put back in. But your legislators will need to hear from you. Go to http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/LegInfo.aspx to find the contact information for your state representative and senator and contact themsoon about your support of Medicaid expansion.
Other legislation that the Wyoming Association of Churches will be supporting is a bill to address hate crimes in Wyoming and a bill to repeal the death penalty. These positions are unified decisions enacted at our annual meetings by consensus. I will keep you posted.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.