U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Cake Baker in Religious Liberty Case

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Jack Phillips, the cake baker in Colorado who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony. In a 7-2 decision, the court found that the Colorado Human Rights Commission that imposed sanctions against Phillips for his actions showed open hostility to his religious objections, denying him the kind of even-handed treatment required under the Equal Protection Clause.  

This hostility, the court reasoned, was sufficient to justify reversing the Commission’s decision.  Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy wrote that “religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.” These views cannot be ignored in an arbitrary and openly hostile manner. As a result of this ruling, sanctions imposed against Phillips by the Colorado Commission won’t be enforced.

Though the ruling didn’t go as far as religious liberty advocates would have liked, the decision is an important one for affirming the place of religion in society. It is hoped going forward that state and local governments, when protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community, will find a way to protect the religious rights of both individuals and communities of faith to continue to participate in public life, both commercially and through acts of charity.  

Read the USCCB statement on the decision here.

New Governor Takes the Reins

Governor Mike Parson began his term as the 57th governor of Missouri this week. He met with cabinet members and announced he will be keeping the previously appointed heads of statewide agencies in place. He also met with local political leaders. Pray for Governor Parson in his new role.

Governor Greitens Signs Bills Before Leaving Office

Governor Greitens signed 77 pieces of legislation before leaving office on Friday, June 1. Among the list were several bills that the MCC advocated for during the 2018 legislative session: a bill expanding postpartum care for new mothers struggling with addiction, extension of the tax credit to organizations that provided life-saving help to children at risk of neglect or abuse, raising the age of juvenile certification from 17 to 18, and a prohibition on shackling of pregnant offenders.

Governor Greitens did not sign a reduction in the state individual tax rate or any of the budget bills that allocate funds for state government. A decision on those items will be up to new Governor Mike Parson. We will keep you up to date on the new governor’s decisions.

Governor Greitens’ Departure Leaves Death Penalty Case in Limbo

Governor Greitens left office before he could decide the fate of death row prisoner Marcellus Williams.  Williams was set to die last August for the death of Lisha Gayle, but the governor stopped the process and appointed a board of inquiry to review the case and recommend life or death.

The board of inquiry, which comprised of five retired judges, was scheduled to meet Tuesday, but the meeting was canceled. Former U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson, who is chairing the panel, said the board did not want to assume that Gov. Parson wanted the process to continue. Governor Parson’s spokesperson indicated the governor has not yet decided what he will do. The panel has met twice since it was formed to review transcripts of the trials and information on DNA testing.

Pro-Life Women’s Conference Held in STL in June

This summer, the Third Annual Pro-Life Women’s Conference will be held at the St. Charles Convention Center from June 22-24. The three-day event, called “Pro-Life is Pro-Love”, is organized by and for women. But, it’s open to everyone; men are also encouraged to attend!

The weekend event includes many prominent pro-life speakers, including Abby Johnson, Sr. Veronica Mary (Sisters of Life), Bethany Bomberger (The Radiance Foundation), Serrin Foster (Feminists for Life), and Pat Layton (Life Impact Network).

Until June 15you can sign up for the event, which includes a dinner Friday with Keynote Speaker Serrin M. Foster, two lunches on Saturday and Sunday, a goody bag and, of course, the rest of the seminars from June 22 through Sunday, June 24, at a special discounted rate of $119.00.  The rate will increase to $189.00 June 15. To lock in the discounted rate, use the code SPONSOR2018.

Catholic Priest Competes on American Ninja Warrior

The popular series American Ninja Warrior welcomed a new contestant, Fr. Stephen Gadberry of the Diocese of Little Rock, this season. The program follows competitors as they tackle a series of challenging obstacle courses around the country. Surprised? So was Fr. Gadberry, at first, but he was delighted to find a new and active way to evangelize the faith. Read more about why Fr. Gadberry chose to compete and watch his run here!

MCC Executive Director Mike Hoey Retires After Nearly 40 Years

After nearly 40 years of dedicated work serving the Catholic Church in the public policy arena, Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) Executive Director Mike Hoey has retired.

Throughout his long career with the MCC, Mike Hoey stood up for the most vulnerable among us: the poor, the sick, the unborn, immigrants, and refugees, and embraced Catholic teaching to advocate for the common good. His work alongside legislators and others has garnered many victories for the people, and has protected Catholic values and ideals.

He worked tirelessly, but never forgot to have fun along the way. His boisterous laugh and sense of humor will be missed within the office and around the Capitol. Mike plans to enjoy spending time with family, landscaping his backyard (aptly named “Hoey Henge”) and traveling. We wish you the best, Mike, as you embark on your journey into retirement!

Missouri Catholic Conference Welcomes New Executive Director

The Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) is excited to announce the appointment of its new Executive Director, Deacon Tyler McClay. Deacon Tyler joined the MCC in January 2010 as General Counsel; he is an attorney and a registered lobbyist. Before joining the MCC he practiced law, representing physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice cases and health care litigation. Tyler will continue to serve as the MCC’s General Counsel, advising Missouri’s bishops on legal matters pertaining to public policy and representing the MCC before government agencies. Congratulations, Deacon Tyler, and welcome to your new role within the MCC!

Governor Greitens Resigns

During a brief press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Governor Eric Greitens announced his resignation.  The move follows intense scrutiny over an affair he had before taking office and after a Cole County judge ruled that Greitens’ nonprofit organization “A New Missouri” and his political PAC “Greitens for Missouri” must hand over documents to a House investigatory committee. Greitens will step down at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Upon Greitens’ departure, Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson will be sworn in as the 57th Governor of the State of Missouri. Parson is a former Sheriff and a former member of the Missouri General Assembly, having served as both a State Senator and State Representative from Bolivar, Mo., north of Springfield. He is known as a consensus builder and is expected to work cooperatively with legislators at the Capitol as he fills the remainder of Greitens’ term.