Priority bills for Gov. Holcomb to sign

Last week, the Indiana legislature passed the following bills in both the House and the Senate: HB 1041, HB 1190, HB 1217, and SB 11. Indiana Family Institute has been working to support them and are excited to share this news with you all.

But our work is not yet complete. The bills are heading to Governor Holcomb’s desk and must be signed before they are put into law. We need your help to contact Holcomb and ask him to support these critical pieces of legislation.

HB 1041 protects the existence of female-only sports and the opportunities for female athletes in Indiana. With the new reality of biological males posing as females and competing in women’s sports, girls are forced to compete against those who carry an unfair biological advantage. Many other states in the U.S. have passed similar legislation, and we are honored to support the rights of female athletes and help save women’s sports.

HB 1190 requires colleges in Indiana to protect the free speech rights of their students and requires universities to publish standards and rules regarding freedom of speech for all student organizations. Our constitution guarantees freedom of speech in the First Amendment, but there are some that would rather promote censorship and dictate what can and cannot be said. A free society cannot flourish without liberty, especially when it comes to speech, and we must ensure that students are not censored by their institution of learning.

HB 1217 penalizes those who coerce a woman into having an abortion and results in a felony. Women seeking an abortion must be informed that coerced abortions are illegal, and abortion clinics are required to report instances of coercion to law enforcement. Planned Parenthood has spoken out on its opposition to this bill claiming that it harms more women than helps, but studies show that not to be the case. Every life has value, and no woman should ever feel the need to end her child’s life out of fear or desperation.

SB 11 allows significant historical and educational documents containing religious language to be displayed on state property. Documents such as the Declaration of Independence and Washington’s Farewell Address chronicle our nation’s history and the men and women who came before us, honoring the sacrifices that led to the rights and privileges we enjoy today. Displaying historical documents is important for the education of all Hoosiers and it allows us to encourage, embrace, and be proud of our national heritage.

Please visit the attached links and tell Governor Holcomb to sign these bills into law. With your help, we can save women’s sports, protect free speech, end coerced abortions, and display our nation’s history all across our beautiful state.



Coach Kennedy amicus brief

Earlier this week, Indiana Family Institute filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Coach Joseph Kennedy, who was fired from a public school in Washington State after he prayed briefly at the 50-yard line.

Kennedy began saying a brief prayer following games years ago. Initially he did so alone, but some students were curious about what he was doing. When they asked if they could join, he responded, “This is a free country,” and “You can do what you want.” Shortly after, more and more students joined in until almost half the team participated.

When the school learned what he was doing, they told him he could no longer pray publicly. Despite initially obeying the order, Kennedy believed it violated his freedoms of speech and religion. He felt responsible to thank God for the games in that way. So, he continued to pray, and as a result, lost his job.

Following his termination, Kennedy appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where he was subsequently denied. The U.S. Court of Appeals suggested that Coach Kennedy was a bad example to the students when he prayed. Treating such prayers with contempt conflicts with the religion clauses of our Constitution, which protect our religious diversity.

At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the First Amendment speech and religious rights protect Kennedy’s brief prayer following games, and whether the Establishment Clause justifies his dismissal.

The Supreme Court’s modern Establishment Clause cases discuss fostering neutrality towards religion. But when all kinds of controversial speech by teachers is permitted and only religious speech is silenced, it sends a message not of neutrality but of hostility. A short prayer following a game, joined in only by those who wish to join, hardly amounts to an establishment of religion, particularly when the school was clear that it had nothing to do with Kennedy’s activities.

We all suffer when our First Amendment freedoms are violated. A free society should not single out a person’s religious speech for unfavorable treatment.

Coach Kennedy’s story reminds us of Daniel from the Bible. When a wicked law was put into place, Daniel continued to pray despite knowing what consequences lay before him. He obeyed God rather than man and (with some faith-testing bumps along the way) the Lord used him to change the heart of a king. A king! Imagine what God can do with people like Coach Kennedy.

Please pray for Coach Kennedy and his family for strength and peace as their case goes before the Supreme Court. Indiana Family Institute is proud to stand alongside him.

May the Lord grant him favor in the eyes of the Justices and cause them to deliver a fair ruling. And may Coach Kennedy’s godly testimony be used to win souls for Christ.



Hoosier Leadership Series

The Indiana Family Institute is now accepting applications to our 2022 Hoosier Leadership Series (HLS)!

This challenging program offers professionals the unique opportunity to interact with top state and national leaders, subject matter experts, and other conservative leaders from around the state of Indiana. HLS has trained over 300 leaders to impact culture throughout Indiana, with more than 30 leaders going through the series in 2021.

The purpose of the Hoosier Leadership Series is to create a movement of high-caliber, committed leaders from across the professional spectrum who are grounded in a principled conservative philosophy and oriented toward thoughtful cultural engagement and service to the people of Indiana and beyond. Mission wise, the Hoosier Leadership Series is designed to pursue three related objectives:

  1. To identify, educate, and connect conservative leaders from around Indiana
  2. To equip those conservative leaders to utilize their respective platforms of influence to advance a conservative worldview in their life and leadership
  3. To mobilize those conservative leaders as a part of an ongoing movement to collectively impact the social, cultural, political, and spiritual landscape of Indiana.

The monthly day-long sessions offer leadership skills training, critical thinking, and in-depth engagement on today’s hottest topics in the public and private sectors. With a special “who’s who” of speakers and subject matter experts, combined with a trip to Washington, D.C., the Hoosier Leadership Series seeks to educate Indiana leaders on policy and culture. If you want to make a difference, then join the movement!

The series will take place from May 2022 to November 2022 and consists of monthly, day-long sessions as listed above. You can apply to the Hoosier Leadership Series here.

If you are unable to attend HLS but would still love to be involved, please prayerfully consider donating or sponsoring a student. Your gift allows other Hoosiers to make a difference in their community and beyond.

Apply soon – the deadline for applications is April 5th!