Statehouse Update: Hate Crime Battle Ends, Conscience Rights & Racism

Big Issues on AFA-IN Agenda Headed Toward Governor’s Desk

I have some good news. First of all, the civics bill that we have supported for several years was not really watered down, like some headlines implied.   Senate Bill 132 changed the basic civics and history test required of new citizens from a graduation test to a test required to pass high school government, but that class is required to graduate.    We were fine with this change.  Yesterday, SB 132 passed the House by an overwhelming 93-3 vote.    The Senate will almost certainly agree to the House changes and send it on to the Governor, for his signature.

Second, last night, after a long debate and some unfortunate innuendo that those who supported SB 198 language covering everyone are virtual racists, the Senate “concurred” with the House changes to SB 198 involving bias crimes, on a 34-14 vote. This move avoided a conference committee on the subject of bias crimes.  The bill is on its way to the governor’s desk.

When all is said and done, Indiana avoided a California style, left-wing, hate crime bill based on identity politics that could have threatened freedom of speech or provided justice for only a select few.  What the legislature passed keeps this issue in the hands of judges, giving them the broadest possible means of sentencing for these crimes, just as they have had since 2005. 

Freedom of Conscience Victory in Legislature

Yesterday, the Indiana Senate approved Senate Bill 201 on a 38-3 vote and sent it on to the Governor.  The House approved this measure on a 69-25 vote.  This bill extends the rights of conscience currently granted to doctors in our code.  It protects nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists who do not want to participate in an abortion procedure if these individuals object due to moral, ethical, or religious reasons.

Gun Issues Fire Up In the Legislature

I hope to cover several bills and battles regarding gun rights and gun control in this email next week.

Marriage Is a Key Part of Student Success

There is an interesting article from the Institute for Family Studies looking at recent information from the U.S. Census Bureau. It affirms a key part parents play in education.  They looked at school suspension rates and school activity rates and found an inverse outcome.

Students with two married parents had the lowest percentage of students being suspended from school (5.3%) whereas the highest rates of suspension were observed in children living with only a guardian (13.8%).    The rate of student activity in extra curricular clubs was highest among students with two married parents (33.7%) and the lowest among those not living with married parents.  (Children living with two unmarried parents had the lowest participation rate at 18.7%.  Those living with a guardian were at 20.1%.  Children living with one parent had a 25.7% participation rate.)

The Tragedy of Seeing Racism in Every Word 

I don’t think about race very often.  As a Christian, there is really only one race created by God in the beginning with Adam and Eve.  This is the human race from which we are all descendants.  When I do think of race, it’s usually due to the liberal media or liberal activists constantly making it an issue.

I made a comment about the hate crimes debate this legislative session often bordering on allegations that if one does not support a certain approach, then there is some kind of racist reason for it.   The line of argument was that if certain words were not part of a victim list, and someone supported that broader approach, then they may be racially motivated or lack of racial sensitivity.

I don’t like the idea of impugning people based upon words that are not unequivocally racist because of the seriousness of the sin of racism.  Tragically today so many on the far left seem to instantly label anyone with whom they disagree as a racist.

Yet, it reminded me of a study from Yale University last fall. Researchers looked at the words used by candidates and politicians speaking to differing audiences over a 25-year period.  What they found was that white Democrats, who are more liberal, used different words than white Republicans did when they spoke to minority groups.

The research team found that Democratic presidential candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences.  “It was really surprising to see that for nearly three decades, Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in this predicted behavior.”

The researchers found that liberal individuals were less likely to use words that would make them appear highly competent when the person they were addressing was presumed to be black rather than white.

No significant differences were seen in the word selection of conservatives based on the presumed race of their audience.

“It was kind of an unpleasant surprise to see this subtle but persistent effect,” researcher Cydney Dupree said. “Even if it’s ultimately well-intentioned, it could be seen as patronizing.”  She said that it is possible, “this is happening because people are using stereotypes in an effort to get along.”

Why would a liberal change words, talk down, or dumb down their speech to African Americans or Latinos, just to get along?  Don’t all politicians really need to speak equally with their words?

In Their Own Words:

“It must be felt that there is no national security, but in the nation’s humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence.”  – President Franklin Pierce,  Inaugural address, March 4, 1853

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