The end of the 2016 legislative session in Kentucky came with drama about the state spending budget but little else in terms of last-minute legislation. Regarding the session as a whole, we are grateful for small victories like the expansion of the Kentucky Safe Infants Act to include churches as locations where unwanted babies can be dropped off during the first days of life without consequence for mothers.
We also celebrate the creation of a marriage license that omits the county clerk’s name, thus not requiring an endorsement of same-sex marriages by the clerks. This matter was rightly perceived as a religious liberty issue for county clerks who hold to a biblical definition of marriage.
Another important piece of legislation signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin is a change to Kentucky’s informed consent law that now will require a woman to meet in person or by video with a physician before having her baby dismembered and killed through abortion. It was the first piece of pro-life legislation to be passed in Kentucky in several years. We pray and trust that at least some of the mothers who take time to reflect upon what actually takes place during an abortion procedure will feel compassion for the baby and seek one of a host of options available during a crisis or unwanted pregnancy rather than taking the life of a child.
As these issues illustrate, politics is a lot more than budgets and elections. In some cases, the cherished right of religious liberty is at stake when another bill makes its way to Capitol Hill. In other cases, votes literally are about life and death.
The gravity of these and many other issues is why Kentucky Baptists are committed to being involved in the political process. Some run for office. Some express their views to their elected officials with calls and letters. And, hopefully, all make their way to the voting booth, taking their faith along with them.
Kentucky Baptists are represented in Frankfort, not only by fellow Kentucky Baptists who have been elected to office, but also by a state minister who shares the gospel and equips believers in the Capitol. In that role, Rev. Steve Weaver, Ph.D., is doing a great job connecting with elected officials and employees in Frankfort, helping to create a better spiritual climate in our government. Rev. Tom Troth is also proving to be a tremendous help for the causes of justice and righteousness as he lobbies on behalf of Kentucky Baptists. These brothers, along with the reporting of the Western Recorder and Kentucky Today, are not only helping us stay better informed on the issues, they are helping us use our voice to make a huge impact on issues that matter to people of faith.
You can access the Western Recorder (www.westernrecorder.org) and Kentucky Today (www.kentuckytoday.com) online. Be sure to take advantage of these immensely helpful resources.