- Topics & Settings
- Browse Sites
Joint Religious Legislative Coalition
Authored by Alison Block
Founded in 1971, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) represents 3/4 of religious people in Minnesota, mobilizing religious communities to influence public policy in the state. It is the first interfaith public policy organization of its kind in the U.S.
JRLC is comprised of four member organizations representing Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim communities in Minnesota, as well as a statewide network of activists from their respective faith traditions. Combined, membership in these organizations totals to over 2.2 million congregants across the state with members in every Senate district, something that, according to JRLC’s 2019 community organizer Katie Powell, is a point of pride: "Every corner of Minnesota contributes to the vision and the goals that the JRLC works towards. And so, not only do we have a commitment to interfaith work, but we are also bridging divides between metro areas and greater Minnesota and trying to get a really comprehensive view of how we can work towards social justice and a vision of the common good that fits as many people as possible.”1
JRLC has played a key role in shaping the religious and political landscape of Minnesota. An example is JRLC's lead role in organizing support for Minnesota's Hate Crimes statute.
Aside from its success in passing legislation, the JRLC provides an important service to the Minnesota citizens. Reaching across considerable divides, JRLC models commitment to find common ground and to work with others in spite of significant disagreements. As longtime former executive director Brian Rusche put it, this makes JRLC "really an important part of Minnesota’s commitment to public life and democracy.” In general, JRLC approaches political advocacy from a moral, “people-based perspective.” We wouldn’t exist except for the real humans that are in Minnesota," says Katie Powell. "We are a very people-oriented group because faith communities are very people-oriented groups."
K.E. Knutson, Interfaith advocacy: The Role of Religious Coalitions in the Political Process (Routledge, 2015).↩
"We wouldn’t exist except for the real humans that are in Minnesota. We are a very people-oriented group because faith communities are very people-oriented groups." -Katie Powell, JRLC Statewide Organizer 2019