What do the Election Results Mean?

What do the Election Results Mean?

© GLOW IMAGES

The following is a blog from the Committee on Publication Federal Office that was posted on its website November 13, 2012

Generally speaking, the Nov 6. election will not drastically alter the Federal Office’s efforts with health care reform. The results of the election will continue the balance of power that has existed before:

  • Barack Obama was reelected U.S. President
  • Democrats retained control of the Senate
  • Republicans stayed atop the House of Representatives

This electoral outcome makes a full repeal of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) not possible next session, though the implementation of the law will likely be debated by both parties for some time.

At the Federal Office, we feel we are well-positioned to work within this political context, given the strong bipartisan support we’ve received over the past several years. Our issue is one that has uniquely brought together representatives from both sides of the aisle. We feel we are closer now than we ever have been before to achieving our objectives.

So, we’ll keep moving forward: actively seeking solutions to the ACA’s fundamental inequity to Christian Scientists—namely, that the required health insurance does not yet include the type of care we use, nor does the ACA provide for a religious exemption that meets our needs. Accordingly, we’ll continue our efforts in two significant approaches: (1) requesting that federal and state governments include coverage of Christian Science practitioner and nursing services in the benefits that will be offered by health insurance plans in the new state exchanges; and (2) seeking a legislative solution with Congress that would allow anyone with a “sincerely held religious belief” against purchasing the mandated health insurance to be exempted from the requirement.

We are grateful for the incredible support we’ve received from church members all across the country as we forge ahead. Keep abreast of the Church’s progress by visiting our website and making sure we have your correct mailing address so we can send you specific alerts about your state’s officials.

The RNC and Healthy Politics

The RNC and Healthy Politics

photo illustrated by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue

A guest post by Robert B. Clark, Committee on Publication for Florida

Even though I live closer to the beach than the bay, Tampa’s hosting of the Republican National Convention (RNC) is already starting to impact my life. As soon as the last Olympic medal is awarded, the RNC will take center stage here in the Bay area. Then it gets serious.

There’s great potential for the RNC to be a healthy event for everybody. Healthy politics? Really? What would that even look like? How would we get there from here?

I was pondering those questions recently from a Biblical perspective. I have a great Bible search engine that allows me to keep looking until I find some Biblical wisdom on any given topic. I often find a story that illustrates the power of divine wisdom where human ability or judgment fall short. Entering the word “judge” yielded this gem from the book of Isaiah:

 “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.”  Isaiah 33:22

From what I can tell, the political situation in the prophet Isaiah’s neighborhood was pretty grim when he wrote those words. There’s talk in the rest of Chapter 33 of “treachery” and “tumult,” “languishing” and “hypocrisy.” Sound familiar? Is it possible that not much has changed in the intervening millennia?

Well, some things never change. Divine justice, divine law, and divine leadership are just as available now as they were then. That hasn’t changed. And as it turned out, Isaiah was right about a lot of things, including what he said about the arrival of the Messiah, still eight centuries away.  What if he was also right about government having a divine basis ?

Our American government is in fact based on those three elements Isaiah mentions: judicial, legislative, and executive. What if we were willing to consider the idea that any genuine and lasting power that judges, lawmakers, or chief executives wield has a divine impulse that redeems and uplifts the human element? Would that make a difference? I think so.

Another Biblical character, Solomon, whose name is synonymous with wisdom, seems to have been all three in one: judge, lawgiver, and king. A tough act to be sure, since times were probably not any easier then. But he was known for his wisdom, wealth, and power. And although he was not perfect, his forty-year reign was marked by unity and peace.

Early in his reign, Solomon had a dream in which God asked him what he really wanted. His reply? Wisdom. This humble answer, in contrast to other potential requests—Destroy my enemies, give me plenty of personal power—made Solomon a greatly revered judge/lawgiver/king. God granted him humility, and he used it wisely to judge, legislate, and rule.

And what exactly does that have to do with healthy politics today?  Well, here are some questions to consider. Why would humility be any less important or in shorter supply today than several thousand years ago? Why shouldn’t we expect it of our leaders today? And what about another humble world leader’s words, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”?

So can we have a healthy RNC and healthier politics in general?

I think so. But I’m pretty sure it has to begin with us. We can access a divine source for wisdom and humility, just like Isaiah and Solomon. And we too can use it to listen humbly and sort through confusing and conflicting reports about our government and those we elect to run it.

Yes, we can have healthy politics, marked by true wisdom and genuine humility, which have always had a divine not a human source. And it can start now…with us.

Link to Bob Clark’s blog

U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling

U.S. Supreme Court's Ruling

U.S. Supreme Court – Photo illustrated by Rob Crawley

Wondering what the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care reform law will mean? A live online town hall audio chat about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care reform law is planned at  7:30pm EDT or 4:30pm PDT on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

Learn more about the July 12 online forum.

This just in from the Christian Science Press Room!

The United States Supreme Court has ruled on the health care reform law

By Christian Science Press Room

- June 28, 2012

This morning, June 28,  the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the health care reform law (the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), ruling that the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax.  Therefore, beginning in 2014, many Americans (including many Christian Scientists) will be required to buy health insurance, or pay a penalty for noncompliance.  Currently, Christian Scientists are neither accommodated in nor exempted by this law.  However, we are actively working to find appropriate solutions for Christian Scientists as we continue engaging with representatives of federal and state governments.  We are encouraged by the strong bipartisan support we have seen for ensuring that the needs of Christian Scientists are considered in health care legislation and are very grateful for it.

Moses and the Supreme Court

Moses and the Supreme Court


Moses by Michelangelo, Tomb of Pope Julius II – photo by Turinboy

A guest post written by Robert B. Clark, Committee on Publication for Florida

Whatever ruling the Supreme Court hands down in regard to the Affordable Care Act and its “individual mandate” our lawmakers will have to continue their monumental struggle to find common ground if health care reform is to move forward. How can we help?

On a recent trip to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Florida’s Congressional delegation, I found myself in the House Chamber gallery, courtesy of Congressman Crenshaw of Florida’s 4th District. We were in his office when a vote came up on the House floor. He graciously moved us to the House gallery and in the few minutes he had before the vote, he pointed out some features of that imposing space.

The one feature that grabbed my attention and has inspired me since, is the historic gallery of the world’s great lawmakers presented around the upper perimeter of the chamber. These twenty-three marble relief portraits depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law. We have Solon, the ancient Greek lawmaker, Hammurabi the Babylonian, Sulieman the Ottoman, and the Romans, Gaius and Justinian I. We have Sir William Gladstone representing Great Britain, and our own Americans, George Mason and Thomas Jefferson.

The feature that really fascinated and inspired me was this. Twenty-two of the twenty-three sculptures are profiles. Moses is the only full frontal sculpture and he looks directly down at the speaker’s podium. His full face watches over all the proceedings, all the voting, and all the State of the Union addresses. He sees it all.

So why does Moses get the privileged seat and all other lawmakers have to settle for a partial view? Well, he was the only one to transform a wandering people into a nation for one thing. And how was he able to do that? By fully and humbly acknowledging the divine source of law. We call it Mosaic law; Moses called it God’s law. From that humble perspective of subservience to divine power, he became the most revered lawmaker of all, worthy of watching over the lawmaking of the most powerful nation on earth.

Individual beliefs differ, but Gallup polls continue to show that over 90% of Americans believe in God. I find that comforting. And I’m glad that Moses, God’s humble servant, continues to watch over American law-making, reminding us that there is always a higher source of law.

How a Bill Becomes Law

 

How a Bill Becomes Law

California Statehouse – Photo by Jim Bowen

Want to better understand how our legislature works? Check out the official site for California legislative information. Here is a sample of what it has to offer.

Overview of Legislative Process

The process of government by which bills are considered and laws enacted by the California State Legislature is commonly referred to as the legislative process. The California State Legislature is made up of two houses: the Senate and the Assembly. There are 40 Senators and 80 Assembly Members representing the people of the State of California. The Legislature maintains a legislative calendar governing the introduction and processing of the legislative measures during its two-year regular session.

Idea
All legislation begins as an idea or concept. Ideas and concepts can come from a variety of sources. The process begins when a Senator or Assembly Member decides to author a bill.

The Author
A legislator sends the idea for the bill to the Office of the Legislative Counsel, where it is drafted into bill form. The draft of the bill is returned to the legislator for introduction. If the author is a Senator, the bill is introduced in the Senate. If the author is an Assembly Member, the bill is introduced in the Assembly.

First Reading/Introduction
A bill is introduced or read the first time when the bill number, the name of the author, and the descriptive title of the bill are read on the floor of the house. The bill is then sent to the Office of State Publishing. No bill except the Budget Bill may be acted upon until 30 days have passed from the date of its introduction.

Committee Hearings
After introduction, a bill goes to the rules committee of the house, where it is a assigned to the appropriate policy committee for its first hearing. Bills are assigned to policy committees according to subject area. For example, a Senate bill dealing with health care facilities would first be assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for policy review. Bills that require the expenditure of funds must also be heard in the fiscal committees, Senate Appropriations and Assembly Appropriations. Each committee is made up of a specified number of Senators or Assembly Members.

During the committee hearing the author presents the bill to the committee, and testimony may be heard in support or opposition to the bill. The committee then votes on whether to pass the bill out of committee, or that it be passed as amended. Bills may be amended several times. It takes a majority vote of the committee membership for a bill to be passed and sent to the next committee or to the floor.

Each house maintains a schedule of legislative committee hearings. Prior to a bill’s hearing, a bill analysis is prepared that explains the intended effect of the bill on current law, together with background information. Typically the analysis also lists organizations that support or oppose the bill.

Second and Third Reading
Bills passed by committees are read a second time on the floor in the house of origin and then assigned to third reading. Bill analyses are also prepared prior to third reading. When a bill is read the third time it is explained by the author, discussed by the Members, and voted on by a roll call vote. Bills that require an appropriation, or that take effect immediately, ordinarily require 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly to be passed. Other bills generally require 21 votes in the Senate and 41 votes in the Assembly. If a bill is defeated, the Member may seek reconsideration and another vote.

Repeat Process in Other House
Once the bill has been approved by the house of origin it proceeds to the other house where the procedure described above is repeated.

Resolution of Differences
If a bill is amended in the second house, it must go back to the house of origin for concurrence, meaning agreement on those amendments. If the house of origin does not concur in those amendments, the bill is referred to a two-house conference committee to resolve the differences. Three members of the committee are from the Senate and three are from the Assembly. If a compromise is reached, the bill is returned to both houses for a vote.

Governor
If both houses approve a bill, it goes to the Governor. The Governor has three choices: sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without his or her signature, or veto it. A governor’s veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both houses. Most enacted bills go into effect on the first day of January of the next year. Urgency bills, and certain other measures, take effect immediately after they are enacted into law.

California Law
Each bill that is passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor is assigned a chapter number by the Secretary of State. These chaptered bills are statutes, and ordinarily become part of the California Codes. The California Codes are a comprehensive collection of laws grouped by subject matter.

The California Constitution sets forth the fundamental laws by which the State of California is governed. All amendments to the California Constitution come about as a result of constitutional amendments approved by the voters at a statewide election.

Let’s Reason Together

Let's Reason together

Photo illustrated by Josh Mock

A guest post by Marsha Cunningham, originally posted December 10, 2010

Question: How can anything calling itself Christian be considered science?

Answer: The Bible advises us, “Come, let us reason together” Isaiah 1:18.  God, as creator knows His creation thoroughly, understanding and maintaining it precisely.  So God, to start with, must be the supreme Scientist and taught His Divine Science to Christ Jesus who overthrew the material sciences in his healing work and ministry.Continue Reading