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Invitation to Colson Center National Conference and Updates on Important Bills

Invitation to Colson Center National Conference:

As a valued supporter of our organization, we wanted to extend a special invitation to you to attend the upcoming Colson Center National Conference in Indianapolis from May 19-21, 2023. Our friends at the Colson Center are doing incredible work, and we believe this conference will be a valuable opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the intersection of faith, culture, and the public square.

The conference will feature a fantastic lineup of speakers, including Dr. Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute, Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom, and Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation. They will be addressing critical topics such as science, law, creativity, and much more. You can explore the full schedule and speaker lineup on the conference website.

We are pleased to offer you a special discount code for 15% off conference ticket prices (excluding the Wilberforce Award dinner on Saturday evening). Simply use the code local23 at checkout to take advantage of this offer. We encourage you to act quickly, as space is limited, and we expect this event to sell out soon.

We believe that the conference theme, “Seeing God in the Everyday,” is incredibly relevant for our times. The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote that “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes.” At this conference, you will have the opportunity to develop eyes to see the glories of God at every turn.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to reach out to the Colson Center events team at events@colsoncenter.org.

We hope to see you in Indianapolis!

Important Bill Updates:

I also wanted to update you on the status of three important bills that are currently being considered in the Indiana state legislature:

House Bill 1608: This bill would make changes related to education, specifically prohibiting schools from providing instruction on human sexuality to students in prekindergarten through grade 3. Additionally, the bill would require schools to notify at least one parent if a student requests a change in their name, pronoun, title, or word to identify themselves. Especially at this young age, parents bear the responsibility of guiding their children in personal matters and passing on their convictions. Teachers should not interfere in this territory, but should focus on the core subjects that elementary school children need to learn. While IFI would support a prohibition on sexuality and gender instruction all the way up to 12th grade, this legislation is an important step in that direction. The bill has passed the House and the Senate. Next step is for the House to concur or dissent on Senate changes. Read our full policy brief on HB 1608 here.

House Bill 1569: This bill would restrict the provision of gender therapy to offender patients in the Department of Correction. Specifically, it would prohibit the Department from using state or federal money to provide or facilitate sexual reassignment surgery. Other states are allowing taxpayer dollars to fund these medically unnecessary surgeries, and Hoosiers should be protected from that. The bill has been signed by the Speaker and Pro Temp and is on the way to the Governor. Read our full policy brief on HB 1569 here.

Senate Bill 350: This bill would protect the rights of counseling services to operate freely and shield them from regulation by political subdivisions. This is crucial for protecting religious liberty in counseling, ensuring that Hoosiers can access guidance from faith-based organizations without fear of government interference. SB 350 helps solve a problem we have worked with folks in West Lafayette on. The city council there was trying to ban any Christian counseling (even from unlicensed counsels like pastors, lay leaders and even parents) helping minors work through unwanted same-sex attraction. Luckily, that effort failed, but it’s clear we need statewide legislation to address the issue. The bill has been signed by the Pro Temp and awaiting signature from the Speaker. Read our full policy brief on SB 350 here.

We will continue to closely monitor the progress of these bills and provide updates as they become available. Thank you for your support in advocating for policies that promote the health, well-being, and religious freedom of all Hoosiers.

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Updates and Upcoming Events at IFI: Hoosier Leadership Series, John Kluge Update, and Parent Group Training

We wanted to touch base with you regarding some important updates and upcoming events that we have here at IFI. 

Hoosier Leadership Series 

The Hoosier Leadership Series, IFI’s signature leadership training program, is set to begin on April 27th. This program offers professionals like you the unique opportunity to interact with top state and national leaders, subject matter experts, and other conservative leaders from around the state 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 and sign up here

John Kluge update 

In addition, I wanted to update you on a recent development in our ongoing fight for the rights of Christian teachers. Unfortunately, John Kluge lost his appeal in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. John was a music teacher in Brownsburg, Indiana, who refused to use preferred pronouns for students identifying as transgender. He was fired for this refusal, and we have been fighting for his right to freedom of speech and conscience through our 5 Freedoms Project ever since. 

During the initial stages of Brownsburg’s decision to encourage students with gender confusion to transition, IFI took proactive steps to support concerned parents, conservative school board candidates, and teachers such as John Kluge. Through the 5 Freedoms Project, we equipped and organized parents to oppose the school district’s policy and provided education and training to conservative school board candidates to aid them in their campaigns to preserve traditional values. Furthermore, we closely collaborated with John Kluge, providing him with PR training and advice to navigate the public attention that came with his decision to stand against the school district’s policy. In addition, we secured legal representation for John through our 5 Freedoms Project for his state case and later through our national legal partners at ADF for his federal case. 

We are deeply disappointed by the 7th Circuit’s decision, but we remain committed to fighting for the rights of Christian teachers like John. We hope that the US Supreme Court will eventually address the issue of government coercion of speech to safeguard the rights of conscience for Christian teachers. IFI has partnered with ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) on the Kluge case, and you can read more about it in this article.
 

Attention, Parents: join us for this training! 

Finally, I want to inform you about an upcoming event that may interest you. IFI is hosting a parent group training to help parents, teachers, and others committed to their local school districts push back on the politicization of local schools. This training is for those who are ready to take action and make a difference in their local communities. You will have a chance to collaborate and network with other conservatives from around Indiana and be offered resources to help you start and/or grow your group. 

The details for the training are: 

WHAT: Parent Group Training  

WHEN: Friday, May 12th from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM  

WHERE: The Balmoral House (10101 Hamilton Hills Lane, Fishers IN 46038) 

COST: $15 which includes a catered lunch. Parking is free and on site. 

If you are interested in attending the training, register at this link. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you for your support of IFI and our mission to protect and defend traditional family values in Indiana. 

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Help, Not Harm Bill Heads To The Governor’s Desk!

We have some good news to share with you today. The Help, Not Harm bill (SB 480) has passed the Indiana House of Representatives and should soon be headed to the governor’s desk.  Rather than helping to heal the minds of young people struggling with gender confusion, medical activists in Indiana are destroying their bodies. This bill would protect minors from these gruesome and dangers practices and help parents who are bullied into consenting. 

When most Hoosiers think of the Hippocratic Oath, they think of their medical providers vowing to “First, do no harm”. However, activists in gender “healthcare” right here in Indiana have forgotten this core principle. In Indiana, Planned Parenthood, three major hospitals (including Riley Children’s Hospital), and other medical providers offer puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or surgeries to minors.  They bully parents into consenting by falsely claiming that their children will commit suicide if these harmful and expensive procedures are refused. 

Our heart is to protect kids. Gender dysphoria is a rising issue even in conservative states, with some studies saying that referrals to gender clinics tripled between 2017 and 2021. Minors who are often struggling with unresolved trauma and mental illness, are being sterilized and having irreversible damage done to their bodies by medical activists who should know better.

The Help, Not Harm bill would protect children from these lifelong harms, punish medical activists who try to take advantage of these kids, and provide these young people and their parents with the ability to hold those who harm them accountable in a court of law. 

By selecting the March 21st hearing at this link, you can watch the testimony for this particular bill. IFI plays a critical role in organizing and advocating for bills like the Help, not Harm bill during each legislative session. Through our efforts, we ensure that the voices of Hoosier citizens are heard throughout the legislative process.

You can help support these efforts by urging the Governor to sign the bill into law. Please, take a moment and reach out to let him know you want him to sign the Help, Not Harm bill into law. If you click here, we have made it easy.

Your support and action are crucial to ensuring that this bill becomes law and protects the health and wellbeing of Indiana’s children.

Thank you for your continued support of this vital legislation.

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We’re halfway there! 2023 Mid-Session Recap

As we reach the halfway point of the 2023 Legislative Session in Indiana, we are proud to continue representing you and advocating for our shared values. Thanks to your unwavering support, we’ve already achieved significant victories in our efforts to protect Hoosier families. Our team has testified on several crucial bills, and we would like to share an update on three that we have been closely monitoring.

First, the Help, Not Harm Bill (SB 480), has passed its third reading in the Senate and is now on its way to the House. If passed, this bill will prohibit doctors from performing gender-affirming procedures such as hormone therapy or surgery on minors.

We don’t want to lose the incredible momentum we have right now! It is a critical time in our ability to represent you, and we need your support more than ever. Please, take a moment and reach out to your representatives and let them know you want them to vote YES on theHelp,NotHarmbill. If you click here, we have made it easy.

HB 1407 has also passed its third reading, but in the House. It is now on its way to the Senate. This bill strengthens parental rights by clearly stating that they are fundamental and that parents cannot have their children removed from their care simply because they refuse to affirm their child as anything other than their biological sex.

If we do not take legislative action, episodes that call into question the importance of the natural family and its authority will repeat and worsen over time. This billis incredibly important to help solve this problem. You can reach out to your representatives and let them know you want them to vote YES on HB 1407 here.

Lastly, HB 1608, which prohibits teaching human sexuality topics to students in kindergarten through third grade passed its third reading in the House and is on its way to the Senate. HB 1346, which includes provisions that prohibit schools from requiring teachers to use pronouns or titles that do not align with a student’s biological sex, was amended into the bill. If you would like to learn more, you can listen to our testimony in favor of this bill here. Select the February 20th meeting and IFI testimony is at 3:28:45.

We will continue to monitor these bills and keep you updated on developments. If you’re interested in reviewing the roll call votes for any of the discussed bills, you can find that information below:

HB 480: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2023/bills/senate/480#document-92147f92

HB 1407: https://iga.in.gov/documents/639ca24c

HB 1608: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2023/bills/house/1608#document-e73988c5

We are deeply grateful for your prayers, commitment to responding to our Action Alerts, and your generous financial support of our organization. As we enter the second half of this legislative session, we are filled with hope and optimism knowing that we are working together towards meaningful change in our communities. Thank you again for being an essential part of this mission.

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WINS for Indiana families!

We wanted to provide an update on the legislative items that IFI has been working on in the Indiana General Assembly. We’re happy to report that we have made progress on several important bills that we believe will have a positive impact on our community.

First, we are thrilled to announce that HB 1608, which prohibits teaching human sexuality topics to students in kindergarten through third grade, passed out of committee on Monday. Additionally, HB 1346, which includes provisions that prohibit schools from requiring teachers to use pronouns or titles that do not align with a student’s biological sex, was amended into the bill.

If you would like to learn more, you can listen to our organization testimony in favor of this bill by clicking here and selecting Monday, Feb. 20th from the archived video dropdown menu. The testimony is at 3:28:45. It includes results from our recent survey which found that of 80% of respondents believe that LGBT issues should not be introduced to students in K-12 public schools. This highlights the importance of protecting parental rights and ensuring that children are not exposed to controversial or sensitive topics without parental consent.

We are also excited to share that HB 1407 has passed out of the Indiana House and is now headed to the Senate.This bill strengthens parental rights by clearly stating that they are fundamental and that parents cannot have their children removed from their care simply because they refuse to affirm their child as anything other than their biological sex.

According to a non-scientific but randomized poll of Hoosiers who identify as center-right, 90.03% of respondents believe that courts should not allow children to be taken away from their parents and placed in foster care because they won’t affirm their child as the opposite sex. The survey was conducted with over 2,000 respondents from all over the state, with no connection to the IFI database.

We are encouraged by this progress and are now shifting our focus to the Senate where our team is working hard to ensure that this important measure is passed into law.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to watch and share our video on HB 1407, which explains why this bill is so important for families in our community.

The Help, Not Harm Bill (SB 480) passed out of the Senate Health Committee with a vote of 8-3. This bill prohibits physicians and other practitioners from providing permanent life-altering medical interventions to children before they are old enough to understand what they are agreeing to.

The Help, Not Harm Bill has garnered support from most center-right individuals in Indiana, with 96.26% of survey respondents stating that minor-aged children should not be allowed to give their own legal consent to life-altering medical procedures such as permanent cosmetic surgery without parent or guardian consent.

The bill has also received tremendous support from the de-transitioner community. Many of these brave individuals came out and testified in its favor. You can listen to those testimonies here by selecting the February 22nd archived video in the dropdown menu.

Finally, if you’re interested in reviewing the roll call votes for any of the discussed bills, you can find that information below:

HB 480: https://iga.in.gov/documents/9c21e16e

HB 1407: https://iga.in.gov/documents/639ca24c

HB 1608: https://iga.in.gov/documents/c801af56

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all who have worked tirelessly with us to advance each of these bills. Your dedication and support have been invaluable, and we could not have come this far without your help.If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.Thank you for your support as we work to protect families in Indiana.

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