Please pass this information along to your pastor and other key lay leaders in your church
June 21, 2013
Name a topic, – alcohol and drugs, sex education, gambling, human trafficking, marriage and parenting, religious freedom, sanctity of human life – and rest assured that a bill has been filed on it in your state government. More than 1,700 have been filed this year.
Without camping out at the General Assembly, how can Christians hope to keep pace with what’s proposed, much less influence the legislative landscape?
Enter the Christian Action League of North Carolina (CAL).
Formed in 1937 by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), this non-profit organization is proclaiming the gospel in the state capital to lawmakers and bringing the Christian worldview to bear on the legislation they consider.
Initially formed by the BSC to address alcohol policy, the Interdenominational Allied Church League broadened its focus to become CAL in 1958. Since then it has addressed virtually every critical social issue imaginable.
For Mark Creech, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and the organization’s executive director for the past 14 years, the challenge is often about making connections.
“We research issues to connect lawmakers with information that will help them make better decisions,” he said. “At the same time, we help believers across the state connect with those who represent them to make sure their voices are heard.”
“Our nation is in peril today because there is a disconnect between the principles of Christianity and the principles of civil government,” he added, lamenting that some Christians have abandoned the public square, mistakenly believing that they shouldn’t be involved in politics.
He said believers should neglect neither the call to evangelize nor the admonition to be “salt” in the culture as the commands go hand in hand.
In addition to monitoring bills that are filed, – researching potential positive or negative effects and measuring how proposed laws line up with biblical principles – CAL produces informational handouts for lawmakers, and Creech testifies before committees in both the N.C. House and Senate, as well as working one-on-one with lawmakers about the merits of a bill.
“I call on [CAL] regularly for background information on bills and issues that come before the House,” said Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake). “CAL’s expertise is helpful in identifying the issues and the players.”
A typical day may find Creech racing from one committee meeting to another to promote a pro-life bill or to squelch the latest proposal to expand gambling. In between, he’s likely penning a newspaper editorial, networking with another non-profit on an issue of mutual concern or putting together a weekly email update to make sure Christians know what’s happening in their state capital and how they can have an impact.
In the midst of it all, he’s still ministering, making connections that he hopes lead lawmakers and others at the Capitol building closer to Christ.
“Rev. Creech seems to arrive just when we need him most,” said Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union). “Sometimes he stops by the office, but most often I see him in the hallways, traversing the bridge between the two legislative buildings, or he stops to chat in one of the atrium lobbies – always with a smile, a warm handshake and a much-needed friendly look.
While the halls of the legislative buildings are full of highly-paid lobbyists from the gambling and alcohol industries, abortion promoters and other businesses all trying to bend the ears of lawmakers, CAL provides a unique voice calling for decisions to be made based on God’s Word. Governed by a volunteer board of directors and with just two full-time staff members, CAL relies on some part-time and contract help to accomplish its goals.
Although the organization receives $10,000 a year from the BSC, the majority of funding comes through donations from churches and individuals, and CAL struggles to meet its monthly budget.
“The challenge is that we can’t be at the Legislature making a real difference and out soliciting financial help at the same time,” said Creech.
“We try to balance these duties as best we can, but sometimes we feel like [CAL] is a well-kept secret. It’s time people knew what we’re about and why we exist.
“We’re your lobbyist, your public policy organization, advocating for those eternal values that are important to you.”
He said if each Baptist church in N.C. would give just $100 a year, it would more than fund CAL’s current needs and secure its future. “In this difficult economy, we are now suffering for funds and deep in debt by more than $17,000 and need that $100 contribution right away.
“Otherwise, God forbid, this great work could fail. There is nowhere else we can cut our budget. We’re at a tipping point and it’s either we hear from our friends or we sink,” Creech said.
“Sending that $100 check and then putting the CAL in your budget for just the same amount the next year would certainly make us much more effective because we wouldn’t have to spend so much time fundraising. Our efforts could be focused entirely on impacting legislators and legislation for Christ, while also engaging the public from a strong Christian worldview about the significant social issues of our time.” he added.
To find out more about the Christian Action League and how you can make an impact in Raleigh and beyond, log onto www.christianactionleague.org. Donations can also be made via the organization’s website. You may also reach them at (919) 787-0606 or email email@example.com. To write or send a contribution to CAL by mail, write to: Christian Action League of North Carolina, 809 Spring Forest Road, Suite 1000, Raleigh, NC 27609.