AFA-IN Vote on In-Equality, Middle Class Mobility, Divorce & Men

US House Passes Dangerous In-Equality Act 

As you know, on Friday the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 5 on a vote of 236 to 173.   Every Democrat supported the bill that would punish people of faith who do not bow to the politics of the LGBT movement.    Eight Republican members voted for this legislation, including Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks.

Among other things, H.R. 5 would undermine many legal precedents and exclusions including the Hobby Lobby decision that protected businesses from having to pay for abortion in their health care plans.  H.R. 5 would also force businesses to pay for gender reassignment services in health care plans.   It would also impact Christian school and college employment policies regarding human sexuality.  It would implement affirmative action policies for those who identify as homosexual or transgender.  H.R. 5 would also turn many school sports programs upside down by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sporting events and to use their locker rooms and showers.

The bill was so extreme and punitive that even some supporters of the LGBT movement opposed the bill.   University of Virginia law professor, Douglas Laycock, a supporter of same-sex marriage, told National Review that H.R. 5 would “crush” conscientious objectors. He explained its sinister nature in this way:

“It goes very far to stamp out religious exemptions. . . It regulates religious non-profits, and then it says that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not apply to any claim under the Equality Act.  This would be the first time Congress has limited the reach of RFRA.  This is not a good faith attempt to reconcile competing interests.  It is an attempt by one side to grab all the disputed territory and to crush the other side.”

Not a single Democrat anywhere in the US House stood up for religious freedom in this vote.  Indiana Congressman Peter Visclosky, a co-sponsor of the legislation, told those who called his office that he supported H.R. 5 because he “is strongly opposed to all forms of discrimination.”   Of course, that is a total lie since H.R. 5 blatantly discriminates against millions of people of faith and any ministries, charities, non-profits or businesses run by them.

This confirms a new poll from George Barna on religious freedom which finds deep animosity toward faith, particularly toward Christians, among liberals.  When asked about 20 different religious terms liberals had the most visceral negative reaction to the term “Christianity” and the one of the most positive reactions to the term “humanist.”    Only 38% view the term Christian positively, compared to 77% of those identifying as conservative.  That was the largest gap (39 points) among the differing worldviews in the “terms perceived as positive by respondent’s ideology” segment of the poll.

Hopefully the Senate leadership will reject even considering H.R. 5 as a viable bill.   President Trump has expressed his opposition to the bill, but we will need to be ready to contact Indiana Senators Young and Braun about this legislation.

An Underreported Story of Racial Stereotypes

Some recent Census Bureau data may surprise some who have a certain view of African-American males that is often upheld in the media and pop culture.  Today, more than one-in-two black males in America (57%) have made it into the middle class or higher as adults.  This is up from just 38% in 1960.  The share of black men who are poor has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today.

While economic employment is a key to this success, there are other factors that are often overlooked.   Marriage is one of those keys. Seventy percent of married black men are in the middle class, compared to only 20% of never-married black men. Church is another factor.  Black men who frequently attended church services at a young age are more likely to reach the middle class or higher when they are in their fifties: 53% of those men who attended church as young men made it to that level, compared to 43% who did not.   Military service has a positive impact too. Black men who served in the military are more likely to be in the middle class when they reach mid-life (54% vs. 45%) than those who did not serve.

As for the criminal justice system and black males, only 28% of black men who had contact with the criminal justice system when they were young have moved into the middle or upper class, whereas 52% of black men who had no contact with the criminal justice system at a younger age were in the middle class or higher.

In short, a very significant portion of black men in America are realizing the American Dream, most are not in poverty.  As with all demographic groups, marriage and faith are positive components.

Divorce Hurts . . . Men Too

Many years ago, I wrote an extensive report on the subject of divorce titled “Shattered Dreams.”   I can remember after it’s release spending several hours with a radio show host named Mike Pence discussing the research included in the nearly 40-page booklet.

Even in the 1990s there was a mountain of research on the societal costs of divorce and the impact of no-fault laws.    The impact upon women, men and children has been well documented over the last forty years.   Divorce often leads to negative economic harms for women and educational harms for children.  We have all heard many of those studies and statistics.

A study from Binghampton University in New York looks at an often overlooked negative outcome for men.   The study finds that while many women get hurt and recover, many men get hurt in a divorce and never recover.     The study finds that while women may hurt more emotionally at the time of the breakup, men tend to regret divorce more than women do, and they take much longer to recover.  Some never fully recover, they simply move on.

Most divorces are filed by women. It is likely that women are more divorce minded and farther down the emotional road than the man who may be surprised by the disruption or the sudden reality of the dissolution of the marriage.

One theory is that divorce is a bigger blow to a man’s ego of which his relationship status plays a part as the relationship initiator, breadwinner, etc.  Another theory is that women tend to have a larger emotional support group than their husband and thus they may bounce back faster or better because of this.

Obviously, this study involving 5,705 participants in 96 countries is a general finding.  Many people, male or female, recover from divorce. Yet, it is hard to argue that in most cases, particularly when there is no physical violence involved, easy divorce has been a good thing for society.

In Their Own Words:

“Turning a blind eye to evil, however, doesn’t make it disappear. It allows it to grow. And those who allow evil to grow in order to protect their own convenience will be held accountable for the end results of the evil they facilitate.” — Ben Shapiro

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Alert: Stop Religious Persecution – Call Your Legislator Today!

URGENT ALERT:
Vice President Pence’s Religious Persecution Warning is Already Here!

Hoosiers know that our own Mike Pence is one of the best orators in Washington, DC.  It was no surprise to hear the positive reviews the Vice President received from his commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday.   If you have not read about this, you can watch his outstanding address here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XwJ_xgRliE

The Vice President warned the graduates of America’s largest Christian university that if they live out their faith in a Biblically consistent manner, persecution is to be expected.     This is a truth every discerning Christian should understand today.  As Christ said in John 15:20, “A servant is not greater than his master.  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

Here is one of Pence’s comments:

        “Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs.  So, as you go about your daily life, just be ready.  Because you’re going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith; you’re going to be asked to endorse them.  You’re going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture. . .”

His words are prophetic.   This week, the US House is expected to vote on H.R. 5, the misnamed “Equality Act.”

As my national office has warned, “The deceptive “Equality Act” is a religious liberty wrecking ball.”

It would be hard to imagine a more anti-freedom bill than this one. This legislation would allow the government to discriminate against people of faith, bypassing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and forcing people to violate their consciences or face the full weight of state punishment.  I have often said that LGBT stands for “Let’s Get Behind Tyranny.”   H.R. 5 is proof of where the sexual anarchy agenda is going.

Here are just a few of the many problems H.R. 5 could cause if enacted:

  • H.R. 5 would force Christian schools, ministries and churches to change their employment policies that are aligned with traditional teachings on sex, gender, and human sexuality.

 

  • H.R. 5 would force many faith-based organizations to pay for abortion in their health care plans by creating a right to demand abortion coverage from health care providers.

 

  • H.R. 5 would harm faith-based charities, such as adoption agencies, that believe in natural marriage and strive to place foster or adoptive children with a mother and father.

 

  • H.R. 5 would embolden those in Indiana who have been attempting to destroy our school voucher system by undermining the teachings of Christian schools on sexual behavior that have employment policies consistent with those beliefs.

 

  • H.R. 5 threatens the privacy and safety of women and children by forcing genderless bathrooms and showers upon sporting facilities, parks, rest areas and other public amenities.

        Your US Representative needs to hear from you today.  Here is a list of the Indiana House delegation. Do not assume that your member will vote for or against this dangerous legislation.  Please contact them anyway.  Ask them to protect religious freedom by voting “No” on H.R. 5.

District Name Phone
1st Visclosky, Peter (202) 225-2461
2nd Walorski, Jackie (202) 225-3915
3rd Banks, Jim (202) 225-4436
4th Baird, James (202) 225-5037
5th Brooks, Susan W. (202) 225-2276
6th Pence, Greg (202) 225-3021
7th Carson, André (202) 225-4011
8th Bucshon, Larry (202) 225-4636
9th Hollingsworth, Trey (202) 225-5315

 

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AFA-IN: Mental Health and Church Attendance

Mental Health, Society and Family Breakdown

One of the issues in the recently concluded 2019 Indiana General Assembly surrounded mental health problems in schools.   As you may have read in our many email alerts, there was a heavy push to expand mental health exams, surveys, and outside referrals in schools.  Some proposals would have required all 330,000 high school students to go through a mental health assessment.  Another bill would have set up a massive database, tracking mental health issues and beliefs of all 900,000+ public school students in Indiana from birth through age 22.

AFA of Indiana had concerns with these efforts because the proponents of these measures often seemed to blame the family for all these problems and look to the government for all the solutions.  One legislator boldly stated in her presentation of a bill, that “we (teachers) have to be the parents now.”   

AFA-IN has never denied that there are mental health problems in society.  But we questioned the government’s ability to fix this problem without involving parents, the very cornerstone of healthy families and children. (The government’s track record on fixing any social ill is mediocre, at best.)   Blaming parents for children with mental health issues may undermine the foremost, front-line institution that students most need to succeed.

There is an interesting article on mental illness from the Institute for Family Studies that asks a fascinating question. What if modern society is undermining the very institutions such as marriage, faith and community that have long upheld a healthy citizenry?

Researcher David Lapp writes:

“Mental illness is like any other bodily illness” is a common thing we say—and, in many ways, it’s true.  But what if modern society is also sick, tearing apart organic groups meant to grow and stick together? A mom and dad for a child, an extended family and a community to shelter the nuclear unit, and a web of meaning and support surrounding those core communities. What if there is something about modern life and modern family structures that make our brains more vulnerable to mental illness

You can see Lapp’s research and read his article, “The Mind in a Lonely Age” here:
https://ifstudies.org/blog/the-mind-in-a-lonely-age

Religious Holidays Are Important to Society

AFA-IN supporters are a diverse group in many ways such as age, income, demographic backgrounds, religious and policy beliefs.   One thing that I really count as a blessing is that while there are times that I certainly express strong viewpoints, overall, I seldom receive harsh criticism from actual AFA-IN supporters.

There have been many times that I have hit the send button on these weekly emails wondering if I have doomed our future as an organization, worrying that we will lose donors by the droves after something I have written.  That has never happened, in fact, it seems that when I am angry with our culture or political leaders, many of you are even more upset and thankful that I wrote what you felt.

I certainly get more than my share of hatred from those who hold a liberal worldview regarding the stands we take. That’s just a reflection of our impact and the spiritual battles in which AFA-IN engages.  I take those things in stride.

Yet, I always appreciate hearing where I may be mistaken from our supporters.  Those who have held me accountable or had concerns about, or disagreements with, things I have said, have always been very gracious.  I have learned as much from our supporters as some may have learned from my writings.

I have often told my staff that after years of surveying AFA of Indiana supporters there is only one thing that they all have in common.  Almost every Sunday, they are in church. 

Two weeks ago, Americans celebrated the Easter holidy.  In fact, 80% of Americans celebrated Easter, though not all did so in a religious manner. Recent surveys showed that nearly half of all Americans had planned to attend church on Easter.  According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for Easter, including purchases of apparel, decorations, gifts, candy, food, flowers and more, is more than $16 billion a year.

Clearly this religious holiday has a huge economic impact, but what impact does church attendance have?    Attending a religious service on Easter or Christmas, the two Holidays when churches see the highest attendance, may not be life or society changing by itself, but it is something important to consider.

I recently put together a fact sheet on the importance of church.  I intend to include this resource in a mailing this summer.  (If any pastor, church leader or reader would like a copy of this now, feel free to email me.)

If you have ever wondered how important churches are, and maybe you did after seeing the tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, here are just a few interesting research findings.  These would also apply to regular attendance at temples, synagogues or mosques:

  • Couples who attend church regularly together and are more religious have, on average, higher-quality marriages, which can serve as a buffer against societal breakdown and the social ills connected with it.
  • Individuals who attend church regularly, compared to those who attend only rarely or never, are significantly less likely to engage in violent behavior against their partners.
  • Youth who participate in religious activity, such as prayer or reading or watching religious content, are less likely to display antisocial behavior.

Active faith matters to a healthy society.  It is something to be encouraged rather than denigrated or dismissed.

In Their Own Words:

“Human societies, like human beings, live by faith and die when faith dies.” – Whittaker Chambers

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Legislature Ends this Week – What Happened for Families?

A Mad Dash to the End

The Indiana General Assembly is rushing to end the 2019 session today.   For those who support family values the session was mostly good.   We had several positive things happen, but to use a football analogy, there was a painful fumble on the goal line when a touchdown for families seemed eminent at the end of the fourth quarter, as the clock ran out.

We were fighting hard to protect Hoosier families from having their children given psychological exams in school without parental consent.   This battle for parental rights started when we began to see various bills heavily pushing mental health screenings, exams, and outside psychological counseling through the schools.

One bill that we did stop would have created a massive mental health data-tracking base of all 900,000+ Hoosier students from birth through age 22.   We raised concerns about data security and mislabeling a child for life.  Even editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel mocked this in an outstanding cartoon depicting a child on a psychologist’s couch in school worried about being mislabeled for life.

The Indiana Senate did an excellent job with the leadership of Senators Jeff Raatz, and Dennis Kruse, the chair and former chair of the Education Committee.   Together, they added the best parental rights language I had seen in 20 years into House Bill 1004.   It would simply have made sure that parents are consulted and adequately involved in these sensitive non-academic issues.    Nothing in their language prevented a teacher or guidance counselor from helping a child in a crisis or safety situation.

However, this language brought out into the open some anti-family and big government attitudes in its opponents.   In the final step of passage, the House author and another legislator, both former school administrators, removed this language in what I perceived to be an underhanded, misleading manner.   Many of our pro-family House members were actually led to believe that those actions were a positive step for families.

We had no control over what happened to HB 1004 behind closed doors on Monday and Tuesday.   In addition to the bill being controlled by a big government House Republican, time was also running out.

This was a huge disappointment, but it did bring to light the intentions that many legislators, state agencies, and lobbyists have for schools becoming an agent of psychological and values transformation under the guise of mental health or school safety.    Dozens more legislators now see the need for parental involvement in these efforts. 
Social conservative leaders and legislators will come back to this important issue next year.  Advance America and the Indiana Liberty Coalition were two of several groups that did an outstanding job educating many, and building a movement for this legislation.

At the bottom of this email is a good video from the Pioneer Institute explaining what we ran into this session in numerous bills, and why we wanted parents aware of and involved in these new mental health and values clarification efforts.

On the plus side, we had many legislative wins in the 2019 session.  Although it wasn’t needed due to the longstanding ability of Hoosier judges to enhance a sentence for any victim of a hate crime based upon our 2003 bias crime statute and a 2005 state supreme court ruling, we did prevent the legislature from passing a California-style hate crime law harming free speech or religious liberty.

We also saw the passage of two major pro-life bills, one protecting the rights of conscience for nurses, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists regarding abortion.  The other bill bans the gruesome second-trimester dismemberment abortion procedure.

We also finally passed a bill requiring Indiana high school students to pass the same basic history and civics test that all new US citizens must pass, affirming the importance of civics education for graduates.

There was also a good welfare bill, which we supported, making it easier for the state to coordinate charity needs with churches wanting to help in this arena.

We also successfully protected the religious freedom of private schools through the defeat of efforts to force Christian schools to hire, (or be unable to fire), people embracing homosexual or transsexual lifestyles that contradict with the religious teachings of the school.

In spite of a growing presence of gun control advocates at the state house in the last few years, (backed by some national left-wing billionaires) there were also multiple pro-2nd Amendment bills passed this session.

Your support of AFA of Indiana had some very positive results this year.  Your phone calls and emails to legislators had a huge impact in the passage of many good bills and the blocking of many bad proposals.

As always, if you would like to donate to support the work we do all year long in defense of truth and the principles that support a strong society and a free people, you can see several options for a tax-deductible gift at this link: https://www.afain.net/donation/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=32&v=6RUstt5FAT8

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Copyright © 2019 AFA of Indiana, All rights reserved.

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Alert: Protect Parental Rights in House Bill 1004

Alert:
Protect Parental Rights – House Should Pass HB 1004 As Is

Last week, the Senate passed strong parental rights and student privacy language in House Bill 1004.

HB 1004 is a school safety bill.  It is one of several bills and amendments this session concerning mental health screening of students in Indiana.  It also concerns referrals to outside mental health counselors or agencies.

When a school gets involved in these non-academic matters, parents need to know and give their consent to these mental health matters. The Kruse language added to this bill comprehensively protects parental rights and student privacy.

HB 1004 needs to be approved by the House as is – with no changes.

Regardless of what one thinks of these non-academic efforts, many schools are already involved in these programs.  After this session, more schools will be doing these screenings, tracking and referrals.   That is why HB 1004 needs to be passed as is, with no changes.   A change to HB 1004 now is an attack upon the fundamental rights of parents to be involved in their child’s school life.

Parents need to know of, and give their consent to, any psychological testing of their child in school. No child should be labeled with a mental health problem without the full knowledge and involvement of that child’s parent or parents.

 It is important to remember that nothing in House Bill 1004 prevents a teacher from continuing to be able to talk with a student about problems they are facing, including very serious issues like suicidal thoughts.

       Please call your State Representative and ask them to support HB 1004 as is,with its strong parental rights and student privacy protection language.

       Call your State Representative at: 317-232-9600    

You can find your legislator here:   http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

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Help us Defend Faith, Family
and Freedom in 2019!

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Send a check or money order to: AFA of Indiana P.O. Box 40307 Indianapolis, IN 46240

OR Make a secure donation at https://afain.net/donation

AFA of Indiana: Gun Control in Legislature, Change Does Happen

Gun Control Issues Load Up in Legislature

Last week I mentioned numerous legislative issues we have been watching during this 2019 Indiana General Assembly.  One issue I have not addressed yet this year is the issue of gun control.

AFA of Indiana does not have an official position on this issue, but when we recently surveyed our donors, the issue had risen to a top ten concern for the first time.  Our mission statement does affirm the founding principles of our nation, and the 2ndAmendment was certainly one of those uniquely American values that were necessary to the formation of our nation.   We have often written that the problem of crime rests in what is in someone’s heart, not necessarily the item in their hand. That too, was a core belief of our founders.

In the last few years there has been a growing presence of gun control activists in the statehouse.  Almost every week this year I have noticed a large number of red T-shirt wearing gun control activists in the hallways connected with “Moms Demand Action.”    This group is part of an umbrella group called “Everytown for Gun Safety.”  It is part of a $50 million expenditure by liberal activist, and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Indiana is one of the original 15 states targeted by Bloomberg in 2014 for the passage of “common sense” gun control measures.  The group’s goal is to be a counter to the National Rifle Association.

The group has had an impact in the last couple of legislative sessions by stopping some pro-second amendment bills. One of those was a bill that I mentioned positively.  It would have allowed licensed concealed carry permit holders to exercise that ability in a church that happens to meet on school property on Sunday.  (With the growing bigotry toward Christianity in America, I believe this measure by Senator Jack Sandlin needs to pass.)

The emergence of this group here has made passage of firearms bills more difficult and more politically charged. It has also had the effect of loading up bills.  If only one or two bills on this topic are likely to pass now, they tend to get cluttered with multiple issues.

Most legislators want a “clean” bill with one subject.  Procedural and germaneness rules prefer such bills.  Bills cluttered with a wide variety of issues can tend to make it more difficult for legislators and the public to know exactly what is in a bill. I can also make it more difficult to get a consensus on that proposal.

For example, Senator Jim Tomes has tried for nine years to get a bill through that accurately defines an “assault rifle.”   His concern, which has proven to be true in other states, is that a poor definition of this vague term could lead to the restriction of semi-automatic firearms used by many hunters and the shooting sports for over a century.   His bills have often been amended to address all sorts of other issues, and though those changes were not meant to harm his bill, they made it a bigger target of controversy, and led to their stalling out in the process.

In this session, more pro-2ndAmendment bills have seen action, due in part to the NRA’s national convention coming to Indianapolis in a few weeks. That shouldn’t overshadow the significant emergence of “Mom’s Demand Action.”   The targeting of Indiana by national liberals like Bloomberg is a real political development.  It is something Hoosiers, (who may think we are free from gun control efforts due to our Midwest values), need to consider.

New Study Reveals Weakness of Homosexuality as a Civil Right

There is an extensive new study from the Family Research Council that points out how homosexuality is not a fixed unchangeable trait.  This often documented, but rarely reported fact undermines the movement to equate this behavior with immutable characteristics like race, national origin or gender.  Immutability is a key basis courts have historically used to determine civil rights protections.

Many young people have been indoctrinated into thinking that the gay political agenda is on par with the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s involving skin color, through a “born that way” notion attributed to a sexual lifestyle choice.   I am including the executive summary here, and a link to the full detailed study, which is well worth reading, here:    https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF19C38.pdf

Executive Summary

Many of the advances of the homosexual movement have been based on the claim that sexual orientation is “immutable.” For example, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in the 2015 Supreme Court case that redefined marriage to include same-sex couples rested upon that assertion. Key policy issues still being debated in which the supposed “immutability” of sexual orientation can be an issue include efforts by LGB activists to expand non-discrimination laws to protect sexual orientation (such as the proposed federal “Equality Act”), and efforts to restrict or ban sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), sometimes called “conversion therapy.”

The concept of “sexual orientation” is multi-faceted, involving a combination of attractions, behaviors, and personal identity. Changes in any of these elements (sometimes called “sexual fluidity”), and a lack of “stability” or “exclusivity” in or among them, represents evidence that sexual orientation can change. This paper reports results from four large data sets reflecting longitudinal analysis of the same individuals over time in population-based samples (three from the United States and one from New Zealand). All demonstrate that significant change in each of the elements of sexual orientation is possible. The percentage changing from homosexuality to heterosexuality ranged from 13% to 53%, while the percentage changing from heterosexuality to homosexuality ranged only from 1% to 12%. This suggests that heterosexuality is largely stable, but homosexuality is not. In one survey of “same-sex attracted respondents,” up to 38% of men and 53% of women “changed to heterosexuality” in only a six-year period.

FRC endorses the call by pro-LGB scholars Lisa Diamond and Clifford Rosky to “abandon the immutability argument once and for all.” Diamond, Rosky, and others on the Left argue that a belief in personal freedom should be sufficient support for pro-homosexual policies. However, this amounts to substituting the principles of the sexual revolution for the principles of the civil rights movement. The public would be wise to question instead whether the goals of the homosexual movement can be justified at all.

In Their Own Words: 

“Liberty considers religion as the safeguard of morality, and morality as the best security of law and the surest pledge of the duration of freedom.”  – Alexis de Tocqueville

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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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Alert: Defend Parental Rights in Educational Fad Legislation

Alert:
Latest Education Fad Carries Serious Concerns

You may not have heard of a new fad in education circles known as SELSocial and Emotional Learning, but it’s becoming the center of attention at your Indiana legislature.

A brand new extensive review of Social Emotional Learning from the Pioneer Institute says that measuring a child’s SEL is “mostly hype with little research evidence to back up it’s claims.  Its risks to young children’s psychological health and privacy, however are significant.”

The authors further warn, “It is one thing to direct your own moral, ethical, and emotional development or that of your children, but having a government vendor or unqualified public school officials implement SEL curriculum based on coffee-table psychology is quite another.”

There are multiple bills in the legislature right now pushing SEL upon Indiana schools under the guise of “school safety.”

PARENTS NEED TO KNOW OF, AND GIVE THEIR CONSENT TO, ANY PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING OF THEIR CHILD IN SCHOOL.  

Senator Dennis Kruse has the only acceptable language on parental rights in this matter.  It has actual teeth to protect the rights of parents and families in these non-academic, values-based, assessments.

Please call your State Senator and ask him/her to support the Kruse Amendment to House Bill 1004 which may be heard on Wednesday in the Senate Education Committee.

Legislators need to know that parents’ rights in these sensitive topics are fundamental.  No child should be labeled with a mental health problem without the full knowledge and involvement of that child’s parent or parents.

Call your State Senator at: 317-232-9400 

Ask Your Senator to Support the Kruse parental rights amendment to HB 1004.

You can find your legislator here:   http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

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There are 2 ways to support AFA of Indiana:

Send a check or money order to: AFA of Indiana P.O. Box 40307 Indianapolis, IN 46240

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Understanding the Hate Crime win & Pro-Family Millennials ?

Understanding Our Victory in the Hate Crime Battle 

As you may have read in my Monday evening email, the Indiana House amended Senate Bill 198 to include bias or hate crime language.    In my email I said that this was a victory for equal justice under law.  There has been a little confusion over this.  Here is the amendment language and some reasons why this is still a win for us:

“The person committed the offense with bias due to the victim’s or the group’s real or perceived characteristic, trait, belief, practice, association, or other attribute the court chooses to consider, including but not limited to an attribute described in IC 10-13-3-1.31”

• The amendment does not create new language that limits judges to a politically preferred victim list.

• Unlike the bill supported by the Governor and Senate liberals with a confining or exclusive list, this language covers everyone.  ( The original California style hate crime version of SB 12 had a list of 14 categories, but they removed three of them – belief, police and military victims, revealing that they wanted justice for some, but not all.)

•  The code citing contains a list in the definition of bias crime, but this list has been Indiana code since 2003. Due to the 2005 Witmer Indiana Supreme Court ruling, that list is superfluous. It does not limit a judge to sentencing enhancements only for certain victims.

• The amendment reiterates a judge’s broad sentencing ability in the Witmer ruling with the words “including but not limited to” as well as “other attribute the court chooses to consider.”

• This amendment is essentially just a restatement of current practice judges have employed since the 2005 Witmer ruling.    One could argue that this bill is not needed, and I would agree. It changes nothing. It simply is “doing something” to appease the business groups claiming that Indiana is on some activist group’s faulty list of states without a hate crime statute.

• Unlike other proposals, this language focuses far more on victims than it does on the motives or thoughts of the perpetrator.

Some have looked at this and concluded that, with the code citing, it does “include a list.”   We had put out the message repeatedly that we do not want a government referenced victim list.  I would have preferred that there be no reference to any list, whether it mean anything or not.  The Senate could still change this language if they choose to do so, and reaffirm what they did without a list in the amended version of Senate Bill 12, which the House has chosen to bypass through this change to SB 198.

Our attorney reviewed this language and explained it to me this way.  It is like a paint store advertising “we sell paint, including yellow, green and blue.”  But they also sell red, grey, orange, and all other colors.

Our number one concern in the battle over hate crimes was protecting equal justice under law and protecting speech and beliefs.  This amendment protects those values.

Addressing the Importance of Civics Knowledge in a Self-Governing Republic

I am at the statehouse today.  This morning I will be observing the House Education Committee as it is expected to pass Senate Bill 132, which requires Indiana high school students to pass the same basic history and civics test that we require all new citizens to pass.

AFA of Indiana has pushed for this legislation, authored by Senator Dennis Kruse, for several years.  I am very pleased that it will finally reach the House floor for a vote, and hopefully pass on to the Governor’s desk for his signature next month.   If you would like to take the test and see how you do, here it is:  https://joefossinstitute.org/civics-curriculum/us-citizenship-test/

You Mean Millennials Want What Other Generations Wanted Too?

There has been a great deal of political and cultural obsession with the views and values of the young, millennial generation.  Far too many politicians and business groups have catered to this group and their more liberal views.  The previous mayor of Indianapolis practically made all his economic decisions based upon what this group supposedly wanted.

However, a new study from the Brookings Institute actually finds that, as this group ages, they tend to want what similar groups wanted and still want now.  It finds that contrary to many economic and political theories, young millennials are not flocking to dense cities for their cultural opportunities, bike paths, mass transit or liberal social policies.  Rather than moving toward the large liberal cities, they are actually moving away from them.

According to demographer Bill Frey, the 2013 to 2017 American Community Survey shows that New York now suffers the largest net annual out-migration of post-college millennials (ages 25 to 34) of any metro area followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Diego. New York’s losses are 75 percent higher than during the previous five-year period.

The media frequently exaggerates millennial growth in the urban areas. In reality, nearly 80 percent of millennial population growth since 2010 has been in the suburbs where most families live.

Dense, high-priced cities attract young people straight from college, but many aren’t staying there. Some of the “best and brightest” still migrate to “superstar” cities, but they don’t stay long. The average resident in the downtown areas, so popular with post-college millennials, has lived in the same house for about 2.4 years, compared with seven or more years for those in the suburbs.

It seems that as life progresses, millennials are wanting what most others want, family-friendly, affordable housing and the family-centered amenities of the suburbs.

The study also finds that the cities that are seeing growth of post-college millennials and retaining them are in more conservative states including places like Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Worth, Texas where family housing can cost one-third less than many liberal states’ cities.

In Their Own Words

“In a world which furnishes so many employments which are useful, so many which are amusing, it is our own fault if we ever know what ennui [weariness; heaviness] is, or if we are ever driven to the miserable resources of gaming, which corrupts our dispositions, and teaches us a habit of hostility against all mankind.” – Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Martha Jefferson, 1787

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