AFA-IN: Youth Don’t Hear this About Success, Legislative Update

Week # 2 at Your Indiana Legislature

Yesterday, I was at the statehouse testifying in regard to a bill directing schools to work with outside mental health centers.  (I had some questions about the role parents play and the rights they have if their child is referred for outside counseling.)

Going into the statehouse, one of the big issues that had exploded on social media the night before involved a Democrat-authored bill to allow illegal aliens in Indiana to get drivers permits and licenses.  I do not expect House Bill 1083 to get a hearing, but I would like to know where the Governor and the legislature stand on this controversial issue.

Late last week, there seemed to be a lot of attention surrounding a sweeping gun control bill that would make Virginia Governor Ralph Northam happy.  I do not expect Senate Bill 203 to get a committee hearing either.

It is interesting that most Democrats have no problem pushing a liberal agenda, but most Republicans seem to want to hide from conservative legislation.  Several conservative bills are still waiting a committee assignment or have been assigned to committees where they will never get a favorable hearing.

On Monday, AFA-IN and our national office, sent out an alert on House Bill 1088, the Fair Play for Female Sports Act, authored by Rep. Christy Stutzman.  Some who have called the statehouse have been told this bill does not exist.  It is not on the statehouse web page yet, because it too, is being held up for a committee assignment, but it does exist.  I have seen it printed in bill format and have met with the author.

The Indiana Family Institute has set up a page on their web site with their take on HB 1088.  You can read it by clicking this link:

Advance America has produced a legislative update that can be viewed with links to legislation, or printed out, and circulated by clicking here:

Marriage and the “Success Sequence”

We hear politicians talk a lot about pathways to success, or methods to improve economic outcomes, but one factor almost never mentioned is marriage.  In fact, traditional marriage is generally looked down upon in American culture today.

A record 55% of Millennial parents (ages 28-34) have put childbearing before marriage, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, a majority of Baby Boomers (67%) had entered into family life at the same age by marrying first. A much smaller share of Boomers had children before marrying (20%)
Compared with the path of having a baby first, marrying before children more than doubles young adults’ odds of being in the middle or top income tier after adjusting for education, childhood family income, employment status, race/ethnicity and sex.

In fact, an incredible, 97% of Millennials who follow what has been called the “success sequence”— that is, who get at least a high school degree, work, and then marry before having any children, in that order – are not poor by the time they reach their prime young adult years.

This pattern holds true for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as young adults from lower-income families. For instance, 76% of African American and 81% of Hispanic young adults who married first are in the middle or upper third of the income distribution, as are 87% of whites. Likewise, 71% of Millennials who grew up in the bottom third of the income distribution and married before having a baby have moved up to the middle or upper third of the distribution as young adults.

In general, young people who marry first are more likely to be on track to realizing the American Dream than those who put childbearing first.    To read more about research on this click here: https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/IFS-MillennialSuccessSequence-Final.pdf

No Surprise, the Media Hates Trump

Another study has found that the mainstream media is overwhelmingly slanted in its coverage of the President.   One could argue that Donald Trump is a very different kind of politician who’s off the cuff, rough and tumble, shoot from the hip, clunky speaking style makes him an easy target, compared to previous presidents.   Yet, when nearly all of the news coverage is found to be negative, objectivity and fairness are missing.

In the first 100 days since House Democrats began their impeachment push on September 24, ABC, CBS and NBC have aggressively aided the effort. A Media Research Center analysis of 1,053 comments and stories finds the three primary network evening newscasts have battered the President with 93% negative coverage and promoted impeachment at the expense of nearly all other Trump news.

At the same time, the broadcast networks donated at least 124 hours of wall-to-wall live coverage as they pre-empted regular programming in favor of House Democrat-led impeachment activities.   The analysis also found that the media has spent twice the amount of coverage on impeaching Trump through the Ukraine probe as it did the Russia probe, which was also overwhelmingly negative coverage.

It seems increasingly obvious that anything positive President Trump does in regard to the economy, foreign policy, or other areas are not going to get much interest, much less any positive coverage from the media.

In Their Own Words:

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings.  The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”  – Winston Churchill

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Alert: “It’s About Fairness”

It’s About Fairness

In 1972 the US Congress passed an education bill known as Title IX (“Title 9”).  It is an anti-discrimination bill focused largely upon women in education.   It has since been remembered for its impact upon female sports in schools.

Today, a radical movement threatens the gains made by this historic act.

One would think that common sense does not need a scientific study if it truly is common.  Recently, a study published by three New Zealand scholars in the Journal of Medical Ethics, reached the obvious conclusion that biological males possess physiological and performance advantages over biological females in sports.

This is why Indiana State Representative Christy Stutzman has authored House Bill 1088 – The Fair Play for Female Athletes Act.

This legislation simply states that no one born a male may compete in school-sponsored competitive girls’ sports.   It’s a simple bill about preserving fair competition for 500,000 female students in Indiana’s K-12 schools.

Recently, tennis superstar, Martina Navratilova, also a homosexual activist, wrote in The London Times“Letting men compete as women simply if they change their name and take hormones is unfair. . . To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and it’s cheating . . . It would not be fair.”

We agree.  It isn’t fair.  It doesn’t belong in Indiana K-12 schools.  That is why HB 1088 needs your support.  Please call your State Representative at 317-232-9600 and ask them to support Indiana House Bill 1088.

You can find who your legislator is, and also email him or her here:   http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

Call your member of the Indiana House at 317-232-9600 in support of HB 1088.

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AFA-IN: The Legislature Begins, What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

The 2020 Indiana General Assembly is Underway!

The short session of the 121st Indiana General Assembly began on Monday.   This is known as the short session because it is not a budget year and there is a primary election occurring, therefore legislators will end their session in March.   Even so, over 1,000 bills will be filed for consideration.

At this point fewer than a third of these bills have been made public.  Here are some we are watching:

 

Senate Bill 40 – Legislation can range from very serious or highly complex issues to ones that are merely one short sentence making a minor change to existing code.   SB 40 is an example of what I would call a novelty bill.  It simply designates basketball as the official state sport of Indiana.    I list it, not because AFA-IN has a position on it, but as an example.

Senate Bill 42 – One may ask how necessary it is to have over 1,000 bills filed each year, and if it only serves to grow government.   This bill, by Senator Jim Buck, would eliminate this short session of the legislature, taking Indiana back to where it was prior to the early 1970’s when it met every other year.   SB 42 might make the late judge, lawyer, and newspaper editor, Gideon Tucker, happy.  In 1866 he observed, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

Senate Bill 57 – This bill by Senator Jean Leising has been filed numerous times and passed the Indiana Senate before.  It has never made it to the Governor’s desk.   (A bill must be voted upon by both chambers before it goes to the governor for his signature or veto.)   SB 57 requires schools in Indiana to teach cursive writing.  Opponents of this legislation believe that cursive writing is no longer necessary.  Supporters believe that cursive writing is still an important discipline, and it matters when reading historic documents.

Senate Bill 74 – This legislation, authored by Senator Jim Tomes, would eliminate the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles proposal to create a genderless driver’s license allowing a person to claim “Gender X” in the sex designation of our state’s highest form of identification.   The BMV proposed rule raises several concerns for law enforcement.  It also raised the question if our driver’s licenses succumb to political correctness rather than biological truth.   (Note: In our January printed newsletter, which should begin arriving in mailboxes later this week, I mistakenly wrote this as SB 78.)

Senate Bill 131 – Later this afternoon I will be testifying on this legislation authored by Senator Dennis Kruse.  This bill requires Indiana schools to post the national motto, “In God We Trust.”  It also requires that schools have the US and Indiana state flags displayed somewhere in the school.  Seventeen states have a law regarding posting the national motto in schools.

House Bill 1031 – Representative Tom Saunders’ bill eliminates straight-ticket voting involving one action, such as pushing a straight-ticket button, in the voting booth.   The bill does not prohibit a person from voting for all Democrats, or all Republicans, but to do so, one must look at every race and choose that party’s candidate.   The thought behind this is rather than simply pressing one button that automatically casts a party vote for every office, one should see each office and each person for whom they are voting in order to cast a more informed ballot.

      House Bill 1088 – This bill, authored by Representative Christy Stutzman, protects fairness and competition in school sponsored K12 sports by prohibiting a male from competing as a female.

In quite the paradox, there are several bills further prohibiting the sale of tobacco and restricting various vaping products this session, but there are also numerous bills promoting marijuana use.   On Monday there were some demonstrators who got a lot of media attention for calling for the legalization of recreational use of the narcotic in Indiana.

If you would like to contact your Senator about any Senate bills you can call and leave a message about your support or opposition at 317-232-9400.  You can call your House member at 317-232-9600 about House Bills.    You can find out who your state Senator and Representative is, at this link:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

Standing Up for Life

The Indiana March for Life, sponsored by Right to Life of Indianapolis, is Wednesday, January 22nd.   The day begins with a memorial service at 10:30 at the Indiana Convention Center.  It will be followed by a March to the Statehouse at noon, and a rally at 12:30.   You can learn more details about this event, parking, and how to register to participate here:  https://rtlindy.org/home/indiana-march-for-life/

What is Your New Year’s Resolution?

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that many people make is to take better care of their health.  This may include eating better or exercising.   Many people consider joining a fitness club.

I’d like to recommend a fitness center chain in central Indiana called LiveRite Fitness.   LiveRite is a local company that connects physical fitness with spiritual fitness.   They make an effort to ensure that their environment is professional, welcoming, family-friendly and (if desired) spiritually affirming.

I recently toured the brand new LiveRite center in Fishers and met with the owner about his vision for the company.  I noticed that the facility was playing Christian music, (at a moderate volume), and often had Bible verses on posters in a subtle, refined way.   In addition to weights, cardio machines, a pool, a basketball court, aerobic classes, and much more, this LiveRite center hosted an evening Bible study for those interested.

Many people believe that there is a connection between spiritual health, mental health and physical health.  There is even quite a bit of scientific research looking at the connection between these three things.

LiveRite has centers in Indianapolis, Fishers, Noblesville and Anderson.  You can learn more about this family friendly local company here:   https://www.livritefitness.com

Just the Facts:

Are the medical claims about marijuana so often seen on the Internet, or heard in advertisements, backed by good science?    Click here for our fact sheet “Up in Smoke.”   https://tinyurl.com/yey3d9t8

In Their Own Words:

“I believe that one reason why the church of God, at this present moment, has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.”  – Charles Spurgeon
 

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More conservative judges approved despite Planned Parenthood

“Extreme and unfit to judge.”

That’s what abortion giant Planned Parenthood said about Sarah Pitlyk.

But Senate Republicans ignored the propaganda and, minutes ago, confirmed Sarah Pitlyk 49 to 44 to serve on the federal bench.

Confirming judicial nominees is CatholicVote’s #1 priority. Help us keep winning!

Obviously, the most important recent judicial nominations were Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.

But the Senate has also confirmed Amy Coney Barrett and Brian Buescher to the federal bench.

You might remember Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s infamous anti-Catholic slur against Judge Barrett. Feinstein said she worried the “dogma lives loudly” in Barrett. And don’t forget Brian Buescher’s nomination. Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Mazie Hirono made the ridiculous assertion that he shouldn’t serve in the judiciary … because of his membership in the Knights of Columbus!

It’s now clear that Senate Democrats believe no faithful Catholic can serve as a federal judge.

And we all know why: radical abortion zealotry, plain and simple.

No wonder they did everything they could to stop Sarah Pitlyk. Look at her record:

    • Pitlyk serves as Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, a pro-life public interest law firm that is defending pro-life investigator David Daleiden.
    • She represented the plaintiffs who successfully defeated St. Louis’s unconstitutional “abortion sanctuary city” ordinance that (among many horrible things) tried to force pro-life organizations to hire or rent property to supporters of abortion.
    • She filed a legal brief in support of the Trump administration’s pro-life reform of Title X — which resulted in a reduction of taxpayer funding given to Planned Parenthood.
  • While in law school, she started Yale Law Students for Life.


In fact, her record is so strong on pro-life and religious freedom issues that even a typical timid Beltway Republican would run for the hills.

But President Trump loves a fight. And in 2016, he pledged to appoint pro-life judges. He certainly kept his promise with Sarah Pitlyk.

BIG PROGRESS: With the confirmation of Pitlyk, President Trump and the Republican Senate have placed 169 judicial nominees on the federal bench. That’s better than Bill Clinton (166) and George W. Bush (167). And they did that over 8 years. Trump has accomplished this in barely 3 years!

Imagine how much more could be done if President Trump is able to serve eight years as president!

And let’s not forget about the Supreme Court, where the President has already successfully appointed two justices. A second Trump term could involve another two justices serving lifetime appointments.

INTERESTING FACT: The average federal judge serves for over 25 years. That’s over 6 presidential election cycles! 2020 is more than just a single election. It about shaping our nation’s laws for the next quarter century.

This is why elections matter! And I need your help to make sure every Catholic voter knows about the importance of sterling judicial nominees like Sarah Pitlyk.

Giving Tuesday is over…

But there’s plenty of room on Wednesday to help us keep up the fight.

Brian

AFA-IN: Polling Differences w Trump; Are Conservatives Happier?

The Mixed Bag that is President Trump

We are in an era where polling results are often used to make news, and to influence views.  A case in point are the polls about support for President Trump in an era when the news about him is constantly negative.

Donald Trump is clearly the most unusual and unorthodox president of my lifetime, if not in all of US History.   He routinely says things, and does things, that probably give election and political advisors severe heartburn.   Whether his rhetoric and demeanor still connect with a majority of voters remains to be seen.  (His large rallies seem to indicate that there is a significant base of voters who do support this.)

Gallup has an interesting poll this month that reveals something the mainstream media will likely not ever tell its readers or viewers.  Donald Trump is not as popular as President Trump.   When pollsters ask if Donald Trump is popular, they get one result, and it isn’t very good.  Yet, if they dig further and ask if his presidential policies are supported, there is a very different polling outcome.

Americans are significantly more likely to approve of President Trump’s policies than they are of Donald Trump himself.   The point spread ranges from +6 to + 11 for his policies and agenda over Trump the individual.

For example, according to Gallup, 76% of Republicans support Donald Trump the man. However, 87% approve of Donald Trump’s job performance.   People who attend church weekly have a similarly large gap – 44% approve of Trump the person, whereas 54% approve of the job Trump is doing as President.   There is only one inversion in the poll.  Democrats support for Trump the person is 6% . . . their approval of him as President is 5%.    According to Gallup, (other polls have higher numbers) overall, 40% of Americans support the job Trump is doing, with only 34% approving of him personally.

Do Conservatives Have Happier Families?

More than half of all those who identify as “conservative” have happy family lives, compared to just 4 in 10 who identify as “liberal” or “moderate” according to the American Family Study conducted by YouGov.   At the same time, conservatives are more concerned about the condition of the family in America overall than are their moderate or liberal counterparts.

More than 4 in 10 conservatives report that marriages in America are weaker now than they were just two years ago. In contrast, a much smaller share of liberals (23%) say this is the case.

A vast majority (80%) of American conservatives believe that marriage is needed to create strong families, while only 1 in 3 liberals and half of moderates agree. Not surprisingly, conservatives (62%) are much more likely than liberals (39%) or moderates (46%) to be married.

Conservatives’ higher family satisfaction can be partly attributed to the fact that they are more likely than others to be married. (Married people are generally more satisfied with their family life.) Other factors, such as religion, also play a role. The study found that in a model that includes religious service attendance, family income, marital status, age, education, and race/ethnicity, being a conservative (vs. a non-conservative) increases the odds of being “completely satisfied with family life” by 23%.

Random Statistic on the Marriage Penalty

A report from American Enterprise Institute found in 2016 that more than four in ten American families receive some kind of means tested financial assistance from the Government such as Medicaid or food stamps.

One third of Americans aged 18 to 60 reported that they personally knew of someone who had not married for fear of losing a government welfare benefit.

Indiana’s Attorney General and His Accusers 

This week, Attorney General Curtis Hill and his accusers are testifying before the Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission regarding allegations that the AG inappropriately touched a Democrat legislator, and three legislative staff members, at a legislative party in March of 2018.

This is the first time that Hill’s accusers have been cross examined by Hill’s legal defense team.

News reports detailing the accusations of those testifying seem to break down to questions of whether certain actions occurred, and if so, were they actually sexual touches or misinterpreted contact in a crowded bar.

Hill’s team is expected to call witnesses, perhaps, today.  One would assume Hill will himself also testify on what he did or did not do.

At the end of the hearing, former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby will hand down a finding that may or may not include sanctions.  The highest sanction would be the disbarment of the AG, which would remove him from office and ruin his future legal career.   Previous reviews have not been conclusive or found the AG guilty of sexual misconduct.

In Their Own Words:

 “This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives’, have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.” – US Attorney General William Barr, speaking at Notre Dame University, October 11, 2019

Just the Facts:

Here is AFA-IN Fact Sheet from some years ago titled: “Let’s Just Live Together: Does Cohabitation Insulate Couples from Divorce?
https://tinyurl.com/y5bapffk

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AFA-IN: Two Kinds of Choice: Abortion and Vouchers

A Special Kind of Sickness
 
         The corrupting nature of abortion is something almost no one in the media, and no one in the political arena supportive of the procedure, dare discuss.   If there is anything positive at all about the bizarre story of Dr. Ulrich Klopfer it is that it pulls the sanitary veil off this horrible industry.   
 
         On Friday, 165 more bodies of aborted babies were found in a Mercedes Benz owned by the late abortionist who operated clinics in Gary, Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana.   These bodies were all from abortions that occurred in 2002.   The image of an abortionist keeping thousands of fetal remains at his home is sick enough, but driving around in his car with nearly 200 more is a special kind of sickness.   
 
         That sickness must be contagious.  An abortionist to our north, in Michigan, pleaded “no contest” two years ago to multiple felony charges that included having 14 aborted babies in his car.         
 
         Two years prior to the conviction of abortionist Michael Roth, about the same time he was arrested, another abortionist in Michigan, speaking to the National Abortion Federation callously told her audience of her suggestion about what to do with fetal remains.    Renee Chelian was caught on videosaying, “We thought we’ll give it [the fetal remains] to everybody in a gift bag, they can take it home, figure out what to do with it. It’s their pregnancy – why is this our problem? And I’m saying that in all seriousness.”
 
         The total known number of unborn children Klopfer kept for years is now up to 2,411. 
 
 

Do Those on the Left Only Support “Choice” When it Harms Children?
 
         Last week a candidate for Indiana Governor proposed ending Indiana’s school voucher program and giving the money used for vouchers to public schools to boost teacher salaries.   Democrat Josh Owens, a 34-year-old Butler University professor, also suggested using another $300 million in state reserves for teacher salaries. 
 
         Indiana is home to one of the nation’s largest school voucher programs. About 3% of Indiana students (35,000) use vouchers.  The program is designed for low-income families, giving them the ability to choose a private school that otherwise would not be an option for them. 
 
         I don’t know what Owens’ view of abortion is, but pro-life Democrats running for office are extremely rare.  (Can you name even one?)  Those who do support abortion strongly tend to also support government funding for low income women wanting to abort their child.  Yet, a low-income, single mom in Indiana wanting to choose what she believes will improve the life of her child . . . well that’s just too bad.
 
         EdChoice, a national school choice advocacy organization based in Indianapolis, said the conversation about K-12 education in Indiana should focus on finding “more options for students, not fewer.” 
 
        “Hard-working Hoosier families shouldn’t be tossed around like a political football for trying to find the right schooling option for their kids,” said Jennifer Wagner, an EdChoice spokeswoman. “Our state has a robust choice environment … That’s a thing we should celebrate, not disparage, especially when so many families are utilizing choice beyond the voucher program.”
 
        Wagner is right . . . but political footballs are now the name of the game in election politics today. . . pitting one group against another for political gain is all many candidates now know when it comes to campaigning. 
 

In Their Own Words:
 
        “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” – John C. Maxwell 
 
 
 
 
         
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AFA-IN: Religion & Addiction, Marriage Inequality, Court Case

Class Warfare is Real . . . but Not How You Might Think
 
         Those on the political left often like to participate in class warfare arguments dividing the rich and the poor.  When it comes to outcomes for children there may actually be some class division going on, but the divide is not so much based upon race, or even on income, as it is based upon marriage
 
       The reason for this, according to a new study that was presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference in August, is that family structure significantly impacts the investment in time and money parents spend on children. 
 
         In recent years marriage formation has declined among the lower and middle classes, but it has stabilized among upper classes. While, 84% of children whose mothers have a bachelor’s degree or higher-level education live with married parents, only 58% of children whose mothers have a high school degree or less do so. And while 75% of white children live with married parents, just 38% of black children do so.
 
      This family structure inequality may have real consequences for children’s chances in life. Compared with children who grow up in cohabiting or single-parent families, those who grow up with stable married parents generally have better health and behavior in childhood, are more likely to complete high school and have higher incomes as adults.
 
        Families with different structures parent differently – and that can perpetuate inequality across generations. Children in the U.S. are growing up in an era of “intensive parenting,” with many childhoods filled with piano lessons and private tutors, traveling sports teams and summer camps. While costly, these activities become a form of investment by parents that can improve their children’s grades, chances of getting into a selective university and future job opportunities.
 
You can read this study here:  https://ifstudies.org/blog/a-quarter-of-us-parents-are-unmarriedand-that-changes-how-much-they-invest-in-their-kids
 
 

The Decline in Religious Faith is Having a Role in Nation’s Drug Crisis
 
         In the latest Gallup survey, only 46% of Americans think that religion can answer today’s problems, but the reality is that religion provides answers for one of today’s biggest problems—addiction.   This finding should not be a surprise.  With fewer Americans, particularly the young, affiliated with religion today, there is less experience with faith and its positive impacts. 
 
      Various research shows that youth who are spiritually active, participate in a faith community, and invest in a prayerful relationship with their God, are less likely to use or abuse drugs and alcohol. By contrast, teens who do not consider religious belief important are almost three times more likely to smoke, five times more likely to binge on alcohol, and almost eight times more likely to use marijuana.    Teens who never attended religious services at least weekly, compared with teens who regularly attended services, were two time more likely to drink, two times more likely to smoke, and more than three times more likely to use marijuana or binge on alcohol, and four times more likely to use illicit drugs.
 
        Adolescents who frequently attend religious services, who are involved in faith-based activities, and who place a high value on spirituality exhibit greater resilience when facing the stressors that can lead to the use of drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
 
        The decline in religious activity, particularly among the young, is a remedy to those who are at the highest risk for a substance disorder.  
 
Read more about this here:  https://ifstudies.org/blog/faith-an-overlooked-tool-in-substance-abuse-prevention-and-recovery
 
 

The 5th Congressional Race Keeps Changing
 
         There is a news story stating that former State Representative Steve Braun is dropping out of the race for the Indiana Congressional seat being vacated by Susan Brooks.  The brother of US Senator Mike Braun is a top tier, formidable, candidate due to his last name, his personal experience and his financial ability.  However, an annual physical has revealed something that will, at least for a few months, sideline his campaign. 
 
         Three other names have recently emerged on the side running for the Republican nomination. Kent Abernathy is a former Commissioner of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Chuck Dietzen is a doctor in Zionsville. Danny Niederberger is an accountant in Indianapolis.
 
         Two others have already announced for the race, State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and Micah Beckwith of Noblesville. 
 
          Former Indianapolis State Representative Christina Hale, 2018 nominee Dee Thornton, and chemist Jennifer Christie are seeking the Democratic nomination.
 

Coming to Work in a Dress
 
         There was an interesting case argued before the US Supreme Court yesterday.  It involves an ACLU lawsuit against the owner of a Michigan funeral home operated by the owner’s family for a century.   
 
         The funeral home is understandably focused on a certain kind of decorum and atmosphere for families enduring the loss of a loved one.  As such, one of the requirements is that the employees dress in a proper manner.  
 
          Harris Funeral Homes had a male employee who had worked there for six years.  One day the employee gave the director a letter announcing that he, would now be wearing a dress to work identifying as a she.   The owner refused to go along with this, noting that the businesses code of conduct and dress is in place to allow its customers to focus on their grieving process and to not have employees distract from this in any way. 
 
        The owner’s refusal to allow his employee to act out in this way during his time on the job made him a target for punishment and a lawsuit.    The case has become a legal battering ram in an effort to redefine sex to include the broad and vague category of gender identity as a specially protected class under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.   Many people are watching this case as it could have wide-ranging implications for schools, businesses, athletics, and many other entities. 
 

In Their Own Words:
 
      “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” – Robert Frost  (Quote has also been attributed to G.K. Chesterton.)
 
 

Just the Facts:
 
         Thoughts on talking to your children about marijuana:  
https://tinyurl.com/yytk48mh
 
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AFA-IN: What happened in Court Today on Religious Freedom?

What Happened in Court Today?
 
            As you know from yesterday’s email, we were in the Hamilton County Superior Court to argue the constitutionality of the “RFRA fix” and several city “human rights” ordinances that can punish people of faith for their peaceably held views on marriage and sexual morality. 
 
            It is difficult for a non-attorney to explain what happened, but here are my quick observations.   
 
            The hearing began with 30 minutes of oral arguments.  Our attorney, Jim Bopp, Jr., who has argued more than a dozen times before the US Supreme Court on various free speech cases, did a very good job explaining our concerns.  He noted that the RFRA fix added to the original RFRA law one week after it was signed due to historic economic and media pressure, moved RFRA from a law that protected everyone, as a balancing test for religious freedom conflicts, to one that predetermined who would automatically lose or who could not use RFRA as a defense.  (That would be people of faith who hold to traditional values and teachings like the plaintiffs – AFA of Indiana and the Indiana Family Institute.)  Doing this violated the equal protections clause of the Indiana Constitution and raised several First Amendment problems. 
 
            He also noted how various city ordinances allowed for the government to discriminate against people of faith based solely upon our views.   
 
            He also explained how the defendant’s arguments largely rested upon a claim that we do not have standing, or a reason for a case, because we have not (yet) been punished by these laws.  He noted that those laws have had a chilling effect, limiting things we wanted to do or may do in the future in terms of events or programs in certain cities.  
 
            One note of importance is that one reason it took four years for us to have our day in court is because of those arguments on standing which we had to fight to even get to argue the merits of our concerns today.   This involved two court hearings at this level and the appellate level.  In both those, a trial and a higher review, the courts said we do have standing to proceed.  
            
            When it came to the time for the cities and the state to defend the RFRA fix and their city ordinances, each attorney was given 30 minutes.  This meant that it was a 30-minute verses a 3-hour debate.   That was difficult to endure because there were many things said which were not accurate about IFI, AFA-IN and our case in general.
 
            During their three hours, more than half of their time was spent rearguing standing claims that we should not have a case because we have not been punished by these ordinances.   (Bopp noted that one election can change the entire attitude of a government against us, or anyone.)   

           There were also arguments that several recent major cases in favor of religious freedom that we cited involving, for example, Catholic adoption agencies, wedding photographers, and Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker, were not applicable to our case. 

            When their time was done, the judge simply ended the hearing saying that he would review the documents and filings and hand down a ruling.  I certainly pray that he does look at the legal arguments made in this case affirming religious liberty and free speech, even though it is more than 300 pages. 
 
            My guess is that we will have a ruling on this in a month or two.  
 
            I want to thank all those who prayed for the hearing today, please continue to pray for the judge in this case and that the founding principles of freedom prevail in his opinion. 
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Send a check or money order to: AFA of Indiana P.O. Box 40307 Indianapolis, IN 46240

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