Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
The Connecticut bishops are doing great work opposing the bill that would act like a miter box for bishops’ miters, carving up bishops’ authority. A letter from Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell was read at Masses today.
The Family Institute of Connecticut offers other important action items.
FIC backs the bishops’ urging to go to the March 11 Wednesday hearing and adds three action items (in addition to supporting FIC, also a noble action):
1) Don’t just contact the chairmen of the Judiciary Committee—hostile men who won’t much care what you tell them. Reach the WHOLE committee.
Says FIC: “Use our Grassroots Action Center to send an e-mail directly to the Judiciary Committee by clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. ... Let our legislators know that you support religious liberty and you want R.B. 1098 stopped!”
2) Don’t just show up at the hearing on Wednesday. TESTIFY at the hearing.
Says FIC: “Please testify at the public hearing on RB 1098 THIS WEDNESDAY, March 11th. The Judiciary Committee will hold the hearing at 12:00 P. M. in Room 2C of the LOB. Please submit 45 copies of written testimony to Committee staff at least two hours prior to the start of the hearing in Room 2500 of the LOB. Testimony submitted after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 10: 00 A. M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Sign-up will conclude 30 minutes before the start of the hearing. Speaker order will be decided by a lottery system. Anyone wishing to testify after the drawing is closed will be placed at the end of the list. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for public officials. Speakers will be limited to 3 minutes of testimony.”
Peter Wolfgang explained to me how this works:
“Write a one-page address that you would give to the Judiciary Committee,” he said. “Start it: ‘Good afternoon Chairman Lawlor and Chairman McDonald and members of the Judiciary Committee, I am here to oppose Raised Bill 1098. Let me explain why.’ If you are called upon to speak, you don’t need to stick slavishly to your text. You will be given three minutes to speak. Keep your testimony polite and professional. Just state your First Amendment reasons matter-of-factly.”
Then, he added: “When your three minutes are up, that’s when it gets interesting.”
“The Judiciary Committee can go on to the next person,” said Wolfgang, “or they can ask you a series of questions. Depending on who you are, they may try to rattle you and lead you down a certain path. We want as many people as possible to testify, but people should understand that they can make you look silly and try to make you the poster child for how weak (or extreme) they want your side of the argument to look.”
3) “Forward this message to every like-minded Connecticut resident you know and ask them to do likewise. And watch for more information on FIC Action’s 2009 Rally and Lobby Day for Religious Liberty.”
Here’s the URL to help:
Here’s our post about how one state senator says payback over the homosexual marriage fight is behind the bill: