AFAIN: Shock Poll Govs Race a Toss-Up? Clueless Christians

Political Earthquake in Indiana
         There is a new poll out that surely must have rocked Indiana’s political insiders.  The poll is from Indy Politics/Change Research.    
          The Sept 3-7th statewide poll has a respectable sample of over 1,033 likely Hoosier voters.  This is consistent with that same entity’s poll in mid-April showing Governor Eric Holcomb with a huge 20-point lead (45%-25%-8%).   That was at the front end of the Corona virus crisis.  Things have changed dramatically
           The new poll finds that the Governor’s lead has collapsed to:
             Eric Holcomb (R)  36%
             Dr. Woody Myers (D) 30%
             Donald Rainwater (L) 24%
             Undecided 10%
            That an incumbent Republican Governor could poll below 40% this close to the election, with a relatively unknown Democrat opponent, no major scandals, and the mainstream media almost never criticizing him, is beyond shocking.  
             However, the Governor has taken the conservative base of his party for granted since day one of his administration.  (I have a mental image of his advisors telling him that our concerns don’t matter, avoid controversy, he doesn’t need us, where else can we go on election day?)
             Many people have told me that they intend to skip the Governor’s race when they vote.  The issues he advocates mean little to them, and the issues they care about are seldom mentioned by him.  Also, the Covid crisis could be wearing thin with Hoosiers who are frustrated with mask mandates and an economic downturn.  Whatever the reasons, I am still surprised by these polling numbers.    
              The Governor has a mountain of campaign money and while the Libertarian is cutting into his base through some conservative issues, Donald Rainwater also has the baggage of that party with his support of recreational marijuana, euthanasia, and allowing alcohol and tobacco sales at age 18. Holcomb will also have the Trump lead in Indiana that should tend to help his governor’s race. Additionally, the Democrat has an oddly low amount of financial support from his party. Many core groups like the teachers’ unions, that tend to energize Hoosier Democrats, are not very committed to the race. (Could that commitment change if the Dems now think Dr. Myers could win?
              Nevertheless, this race appears much closer than many people would have ever guessed just a few weeks ago. 

The Race for Attorney General
         This same poll found that former Congressman Todd Rokita (R) is leading former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel (49-34%) with few people knowing Weinzapfel in the race for Attorney General.
         When asked about Black Lives Matter, 56% of Hoosiers disapprove of the Marxist organization.  Moreover, 71% of Hoosiers support their local police

Christians Who Place Culture Above the Bible
          A new study from Lifeway Research has found that 22%, or 1-in-5, of U.S. Evangelicals appear to reject the Bible’s teaching that the gender of a person as male or female is given by God (Mark 10:6, Genesis 5:2) and instead believe in “gender fluidity.”
         Attending religious service matters.  The study found that Americans who attend a service at least once or twice a month are more likely to disagree with the pop-culture view that gender identity is a choice. 
         Last week, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that half of Christians say sex between consenting adults who are in a committed dating relationship is sometimes or always acceptable.  (That is not what the Bible teaches.)

We Fought the Good Fight of Faith and Freedom
         I am disappointed to report that our long court battle over several city “human rights” ordinances and the “RFRA fix” has ended before it ever really got off the ground.   We battled for several years over the ability to even be heard.   
         Our original judge gave us standing for our case.  Had he not retired, we would surely have had a case based on our concerns regarding these government policies undermining religious freedom as recognized in numerous federal cases as well as Article 1 Sec 3 of the Indiana Constitution.  (“No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.”)  We believe that a city ordinance punishing a group or ministry for its beliefs on marriage violates these cases and principles.  
         However, in the middle of our case our judge changed.  The new judge sided with the cities claim that we had no right to be heard, or lacked standing, because we had not been punished by the cities.  We argued that these policies have a chilling effect on our speech or actions in those cities. 
         That is basically how the case ended last week.  We never got to significantly debate these policies in light of several rulings across the nation, (like Masterpiece Cake Shop in CO), that helped our claims.   Still, we feel that we put the cities on notice with our effort.  Should an Indiana city target people of faith for their views on marriage or human sexuality, we are potentially ready to return to court.  

         I want to thank our co-plaintiff the Indiana Family Institute and the outstanding legal team at The Bopp Law Firm.  It was an honor to stand with them. 
Another Victim of Covid . . . Family Stability
         There have been a few studies and reports looking at the social costs of the Covid-19 crisis and secondary effects of shutdowns.   They have found things like increases in alcohol use, anxiety, mental illness, and even increased suicides and domestic violence.   These more serious problems are likely a combination of pandemic stress and economic struggles such as unemployment.
         A report appearing in the UK Mail Online finds that during the first three months after most states in the US locked down, (March-June) marriages also took a hit.  There was a 34% increase in divorce filings compared to the same timeframe in 2019.  
          “This uptick could coincide with what health and human services professionals refer to as the ‘disillusionment phase’ of the Phases of Disaster– the time when optimism turns to discouragement, stress heightens, and negative reactions often occur,” according to the group Legal Templates, which collected the data.
            They speculate that this kind of stressor may be why 20% of those who sought divorce had only been married five months or less.  They may have been less able to weather the storm than more established couples. 

In Their Own Words
         “I’m always speaking out against these people, especially LeBron James.  I mean, this is a man that lives in a forty-million-dollar mansion in Bel Aire . . . He’s got a white gardener, a white chef, various white people that work for him. A white driver. . . So, if that’s systemic racism, LeBron, please share some of that with the rest of us.”   – Conservative black activist, Candace Owens
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