Conscious of the great need for the Catholic voice to be articulately spoken in the Public Square, CPS is dedicated to being inspired and to inspiring, to being challenged and to challenging, and to being equipped and to equipping others so as to be instruments for building a civilization of love based on the inherent dignity of every human being. We desire personally to live out our Catholic faith in its fullness, and to share the beauty and richness of this Faith in the public arena through all venues available to us.
To this end, we have been involved in a number of projects. These include:
The People's Override
In October 2003, overriding a supermajority in both the Michigan House and Senate, Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed state legislation which would have defined the point at which human life is to receive legal and civil protection, and would have banned the practice of partial birth abortion in the state of Michigan. Catholics in the Public Square then joined Right to Life of Michigan and other organizations in a petition drive to override Granholm’s veto and bring the Legal Birth Definition Act back before the legislature. CPS volunteers and those from other organizations collected more than 460,000 signatures from state residents for the petition, which was then approved by the Michigan House 74-28 and the Senate 23-12, making a ban on partial birth abortions state law.
Marriage Protection Amendment
Catholics in the Public Square, along with the Michigan Catholic Conference and other pro-family organizations, teamed together on a campaign, Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, chaired by CPS President Marlene Elwell, that succeeded in obtaining the passage of Proposal 2, an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. CPS was instrumental in obtaining many more than the 300,000 signatures required to place the issue on the ballot and in promoting the Marriage Protection Amendment in every county of the state. Michigan voters passed the amendment by a margin of 59 to 41 percent in November 2004.
Children's Internet Safety Campaign
CPS is dedicated to educating the public on the pervasiveness of pornography in order to protect children from being victimized. As a sponsor of the Children’s Internet Safety Campaign, CPS has teamed with the FreedomISP Foundation, a public service organization dedicated to making the Internet safe for children, and Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, a Catholic, to facilitate the reporting of incidents of Internet child abuse. CPS has also worked with legislators at the state and federal levels, including Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Spencer Abraham, to declare “Children’s Internet Safety Month” each year, during which public awareness of the issue is heightened.
IRS Rules & Political Regulations
Catholics in the Public Square wishes to assist churches, religious, the laity and people of good will in public forums across America by providing a clear and simple presentation of the general rules of permissible conduct within a church under IRS rules. To do so, a comprehensive study was made of this area of law. It was found that while a church, often called a 501(c)(3) in IRS language, may not "participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office," and also may not participate in a political campaign by expenditure of its funds, not all political activity is forbidden. This study and these resulting guidelines will help those within the church who wish to speak out on the issues confronting us, to do so with the knowledge that they are acting in accordance with the law.