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Seeing public policy everywhere

Before I jump into my column, I want to take a moment to remind you about the Bishops’ Pro-Life Banquet and Conference. I’ll save you the full details as I’ve previously written about them, and you can also find them at But I’ll at least offer a snippet right now.

The banquet takes place Friday evening, Sept. 17. The conference is Saturday, Sept. 18. This year’s theme is “A People of Life & For Life: The Next 25 Years of Evangelium Vitae.” Our keynote speaker is Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who serves as Archbishop of Kansas City, Kan., and is also chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. The banquet will be a great evening of solidarity and celebration with your favorite pro-life leaders and friends from across the state. The conference will most certainly be an edifying experience for deepening our pro-life knowledge and resolve. Don’t miss out—register at or call our office (402.477.7517). The deadline to register is Sept. 10, which is right around the corner—act now!

And, now, for the main attraction: 500 more rambling words from yours truly!

A true sign of becoming a specialist in any given field of experience is that you begin to see almost everything around you through that specialty. To a certain extent, you cannot unsee the world from the angle of your specialty.

When I was a younger man with less gray hair and worked several summers for a professional lawn care company, I would notice nearly every yard I drove by and how well it was maintained. I would notice the length of the grass, the width of the mower deck that cut it, the types of passes that were made by the mower, and any other number of characteristics about the lawn.

As a dad to young children, I now see the world as a series of accidents waiting to happen. If I don’t move this out of the way, somebody is bound to trip over it and get a boo-boo. If I don’t hide this hard, round object, my 3-year old will inevitably chuck it across the room, only to end up hitting her 4-month old brother in the head. Even the sound of silence is no longer a grace to be experienced, it’s a sign that something is secretly being destroyed. And so on and so forth through the day.

Ever since law school, I’ve come to see the world around me as an ongoing, interconnected web of laws and public policy. I look at a building and wonder how many laws it took to regulate the construction of it. I hear about somebody experiencing a difficult time dealing with a government agency and immediately wonder what public policy could remedy their problem. And so on and so forth.

The difference, though, between lawns, being a dad, and the world as a web of public policy, is that the last one seems to actually be most true. Lawns aren’t ubiquitous or even all that important to pay attention to them all. While I have a duty as a dad to protect my kids, the world really isn’t a giant obstacle to work around for the safety of my children—it’s much more than that. But, as for the law, well, the law seems to truly be everywhere. You cannot step anywhere in the world and not be affected somehow by public policy.

Just reflecting on the last week, I think about nearly everything major that has come into the public limelight and realize it is all ultimately influenced by public policy. There is the situation in Afghanistan. Vaccine and mask mandates. Sex education standards in schools. Housing shortages. U.S. Census and redistricting political district boundaries. Even the fate of Coach Scott Frost has serious public policy implications related to the University and funding of the football program.

Anyhow, this is not to say that the law and public policy are a sort of be-all-end-all within society. They are not. There are ultimately bigger things in life than the law, like, for example, Jesus. But my point is that the law and public policy are practically in the air you breathe, and this is something we cannot take for granted. This is why, as Catholics, we must pay attention to the law. It is constantly influencing the direction of life. The question is whether it is influencing it in the direction of the common or toward some otherwise adverse end.

Remain vigilant and alert, and apply the truths of our Faith to ebbs and flow of public policy.

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