Rose French writes about religious and spiritual matters for the Star Tribune. Before arriving in the Twin Cities this fall, she covered religion for the Associated Press in Tennessee, where she wrote about the Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Gideons and other religious groups and issues.
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Faith leaders and religious advocates plan to converge on the Capitol today to observe Minnesota’s Statehood Day with an Interfaith Vigil, hosted by the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition.
They're calling for elected officials to a “more just and compassionate public stewardship and budget solution,” said Brian Rusche, JRLC’s executive director.
“Everybody should kind of pause and think about what it means to belong to something bigger than themselves,” he said Wednesday. “We’re a democracy and we get to govern ourselves and can do good through government. It can be a force for good, and we tend to forget that.”
Participants will gather at 2 p.m. at the Floyd B. Olson Statue, southwest of the Capitol’s front door, where Minnesota historian, Professor Hy Berman will offer a “teach-in” on Gov. Floyd B. Olson's successful efforts during the Great Depression to raise an income tax in the face of an oppositional legislature.
Following the “teach-in,” participants will march to the rotunda for the interfaith vigil beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Rusche said the group is responding to the “proposed economic hardship and service reductions impacting our most vulnerable neighbors.”
“The faith communities of Minnesota will pray for our elected officials: that they may find a better way of governing with greater compassion; that they might work toward the common good of all Minnesotans; and that they would be called to a more generous and balanced public stewardship of the state budget."
JRLC is an interfaith coalition representing the Minnesota Catholic Conference, Minnesota Council of Churches, Islamic Center of Minnesota and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.