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Fall Dinner Recap

10/23/23

Thank you to everyone who attended for our Fall Dinner last Saturday. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, learning, and honoring our faithful legislators.  Here’s what attendees had to say about the event: 

“Thank you to Chairman Curt Smith and the Indiana Family Institute for their dedication to God honoring public policy. It’s more important now than ever. The Fall Dinner with Governor Brownback was very encouraging!” 

“Another Indiana Family Institute annual dinner is in the books! Always great to have Carissa join me for this event, and encouraging to see so many legislators and supporters in attendance. Former Ambassador Sam Brownback gave a hopeful and compelling keynote.” 

“100% scorecard with The Indiana Family Institute! Grateful to have been recognized for my 100% scorecard at last night’s IFI dinner! Ambassador Sam Brownback‘s powerful speech on religious freedom was also a highlight of the evening.” 

This year, we welcomed the largest group of legislators we’ve ever hosted at a Fall Dinner, and we were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to honor them for their commitment to protecting conservative values in the legislature. 

We also heard from Ambassador Sam Brownback, former governor of Kansas, who shared about the importance of never giving up and holding strong to our faith, even through difficulty, because our best days are yet to come. He discussed his own personal experiences, and how God tends to show up and do mighty things even when His people are greatly outnumbered and disadvantaged, which we see countless times throughout the Bible, such as with Gideon and the 300 soldiers. He encouraged us to stay strong and continue the good fight, because the values and principles we advocate for at IFI are of pivotal importance to the Kingdom of God.

It’s not too late to support IFI’s goals for the next year. Our work to protect your religious liberty and family values is not possible without generous contributions from our faithful members.

As always, we’d like to extend a special thanks to our Fall Dinner sponsors: Capital AdhesivesAdler Law FirmMister Ice, Living Stones FellowshipApprentice UniversityTim Smith for IndianaSamaritan Ministries, State Representative Mike Speedy, Cornerstone Bible ChurchIndiana Right to LifeRight to Life of Northeast Indiana, and IMG.

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Important Update: Indiana Parents Appeal to SCOTUS

9/23/23

On Monday, IFI’s General Counsel Josh Hershberger filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to review the removal of a child from Indiana parents due to their beliefs about sex and gender.

You may recall hearing about this case from us in past years. Mary and Jeremy Cox are devout Christians, and here is a video of them explaining their beliefs and the removal of their child from their home in June of 2021:

The Indiana Department of Child Services initiated an investigation of their home because they were not referring to their child (a biological male) with a cross-gender name and pronouns and generally affirming their child’s self-identification as a girl. And DCS made the following argument for removal from their home at the initial hearing:

“We just feel that at this point in time this child needs to be in a home that’s not going to teach her that trans, like everything about transgender… tell her how she should think and how she should feel. However, she should be in a home where she is excepted [sic][accepted] for who she is.”

The trial court then removed the child from the Mary and Jeremy’s home—and never returned the child to their custody—even after DCS voluntarily dismissed all allegations of neglect and abuse against them (including false allegations that they were using vulgar language and not treating an eating disorder). The trial court also barred Mary and Jeremy from speaking to their own child about the entire topic of sex and gender while placing their child in a home with a specific qualification: that home must verbally affirm the child’s self-identification as a girl contrary to the parents’ religious beliefs and best judgment. The parents were also limited to a few hours of visitation with their child one day a week. The trial court never returned the child to their home, and he aged out of the foster care system while out of their custody.

Despite acknowledging that Mary and Jeremy did not abuse or neglect their child in any way, the Indiana Court of Appeals astonishingly (1) upheld the removal of the child from the parents’ home and (2) determined that the trial court’s orders barring the parents’ religious instruction to their own child in their own home was permissible because their speech was undeserving of heightened protection under the Indiana and federal constitutions.

The Indiana Supreme Court declined to review this case, so the parents are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene on behalf of the bedrock constitutional principles of parental rights, free speech, and the free exercise of religion.

Indiana Family Institute is committed to seeing this case through, which is why our General Counsel Josh Hershberger filed the Petition this past Monday. It is critical that the US Supreme Court correct this horrendous judicial wrong or else the rights of parents everywhere in the United States are at risk due to this case.

As Mary and Jeremy conclude in their Petition, “No other fit parent should lose custody of their child or face a government muzzle on their deeply held religious beliefs and best judgment. M.C. and J.C. have exhausted every other remedy and are gravely concerned that the state of Indiana will come for their other children. This Court’s intervention is needed.”

Please pray with us that the U.S. Supreme Court will intervene in this matter and for our efforts next legislative session to strengthen parental rights in Indiana. The right and responsibility of parents—and not the state—to raise their children according to their beliefs is a Biblical, pre-political principle that must be protected in Indiana law. (Ephesians 6:4.)

Thanks to your partnership with us, IFI is here to support parents like Mary and Jeremy and to protect all parents in Indiana from similar interference in their homes.

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Apply to Apprentice U today!

11/14/23

Like you, IFI is sick of seeing woke politics take over our education system and attack anyone who will not bend the knee. Thankfully, we have a great opportunity here in Indiana called Apprentice University.

Apprentice U is an innovative institution dedicated to developing the next generation of God-honoring leaders. AU offers a post-secondary education that combines real-world skills, a Christian worldview, and a commitment to making a positive impact. AU understands the importance of instilling values, ethics, and a sense of purpose in the next generation of leaders. Students excel in the areas of digital storytelling, marketing, entrepreneurship, IT administration, professional sales, and project management.

Apprentice U students are:

  1. Grounded in Christian principles. AU’s community fosters a values-driven approach to leadership and service.
  2. Well-prepared for the workforce. No matter their chosen career path, academics, soft skills, and relevant technical skill development are critical to AU’s foundational curriculum.
  3. Prepared to be future leaders. Through mentorship and networking, graduates are enabled and equipped to contribute to any organization they work in.
  4. Employable. With over 3,000 hours of on-the-job training in addition to a resume chock-full of experience, AU graduates are in high demand.

If you know of a family member or student who may be looking for a faith-based, affordable experience with a pathway to a fulfilling future, you can reach out to Apprentice University here

Additionally, Apprentice U has committed to donating $500 to IFI for every new student you refer! 

This is an excellent opportunity to benefit students and families in your community, a growing Christian university, and IFI. 

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Alliance Defending Freedom Conference

11/8/23

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and meet with fellow Family Policy Councils from around the nation, as well as many other socially conservative organizations, in order to strategize with Alliance Defending Freedom.

While there, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Lori Smith, owner of 303 Creative, who found herself at the center of a US Supreme Court case which scored a major victory for conservative Christians and their religious liberties. 

After realizing that a Colorado law would force her to create products through her graphic design business that violated her religious beliefs about marriage, Lori challenged the statute in court. She faced immense scrutiny during her legal battle, but ultimately the Supreme Court ruled in favor of 303 Creative and the First Amendment rights of every Christian in America. We are incredibly proud of Lori for her courage in speaking up against the unlawful Colorado statute, and we are thankful to have been part of her journey through our close partnership with ADF, who did a phenomenal job of seeing this case through to victory.

ADF attorneys Matt Sharp and Kellie Fiedorek, pictured above, have helped us put numerous pro-family policies into law in Indiana and protect free speech and religious liberty here in the Hoosier state, and we are incredibly grateful for their ongoing support.

Our network of 43 Family Policy Councils across the nation is committed to working closely with ADF to push back against the darkness and the chaos that is creeping into our land and building a nation and state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished through strategic action in each of our states. We look forward to all we will accomplish in the upcoming year!

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REGISTER NOW: The Indiana Family Institute 2023 Fall Dinner

9/14/23

IFI’s annual Fall Dinner is just around the corner, and we hope you’ll consider joining us for a memorable evening spent with Ambassador Sam Brownback and members of Indiana’s legislature.

We’re excited to welcome over a dozen pro-family state legislators and their spouses at the event, where we will honor them for their 100% score on the 2023 Legislative Scorecard. We hope you’ll embrace this opportunity to thank them in person for their excellent service to Hoosier citizens and the Kingdom of God.

We look forward to hearing from Ambassador Sam Brownback, who has spent his career fighting for religious freedom here in America and abroad. Late last year, his own religious freedom nonprofit, the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF), was targeted by JPMorgan Chase Bank for its religious affiliations. The nonprofit’s account was closed without explanation and Chase demanded a list of donors and political candidates they intended to endorse as a condition of having the account reinstated. NCRF is not the only conservative organization to experience a targeted financial attack like this one, and the phenomenon has recently been termed “debanking.”

“We are concerned that religious institutions, houses of worship, and people of all faiths are at risk of having their business, credit, or even personal or private bank accounts terminated for any or no reason at all,” Brownback wrote in a letter to Chase’s CEO.

Brownback shared that dozens of other conservative organizations have experienced similar cancellations by their providers, including several Family Policy Councils from around the country. Despite all of this, Brownback will present a timely message of hope for the future of our nation, including fighting corporations who discriminate against people of faith and winning.

I’d love for you to join us in hearing from Ambassador Brownback on October 14th, and consider sponsoring a table for this exciting event. Your sponsorship helps generously support the work of Indiana Family Institute.

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