Growing Anti-Christian Discrimination

As we warned in the run-up to the passage of the Disrespecting Marriage Act, the growing tide of anti-Christian bigotry will not stop until our representatives stand up and give a full-throated defense of religious liberty. Our friends at The Family Foundation, our sister organization in Virginia, experienced this last week. They had an event scheduled for weeks at a local restaurant, and at the last minute, less than two hours before the event, the restaurant called to tell them they were no longer welcome. When asked, the restaurant’s owner confirmed that it was because of their beliefs.

We stand with The Family Foundation, and highly recommend that you read their breakdown of what happened last week, here.

Also mentioned in their blog post is the fact that their former database company “discontinued [us] as a client” last year; a situation we are very familiar with, as the Indiana Family Institute was also a client of that database company. We were also forced to change platforms, at significant expense.

This level of deplatforming for mainstream Christian organizations is fairly new. The cases people are familiar with, like Jack Phillips and the Masterpiece Cakeshop, where a Christian baker refused to bake a custom wedding cake for a gay wedding, have a level of nuance that is missing from the case of The Family Foundation and the restaurant. The baker didn’t agree to make the cake, before changing his mind the day of the wedding, leaving his clients in the lurch. The baker didn’t even say that the couple couldn’t buy other items from his store; he simply declined to perform artistic work that celebrated something that goes against his beliefs. If you don’t believe designing a wedding cake is an artistic work, talk to any woman in your life who’s ever been a bride and they will disabuse you of this notion.

As our friends at The Family Foundation said, “we believe individuals in private business should not have to violate their convictions, which for some Christians means not celebrating what God has declared sin (Roman 1:32). However, most, if not all, faiths not only allow for the provision of services, like food, to those with whom they disagree, but they also encourage it.”

Here at the Indiana Family Institute, we don’t believe that people should be forced to do business with us, but we believe that this needs to be an even playing field. If secular business owners are allowed not to do business with us because of our beliefs, Christian business owners should be equally free to abstain from doing business with people who do not share their beliefs, at their own discretion.

This looks unlikely to happen, in part because of U.S. Senator Todd Young, who voted for the Disrespecting Marriage Act last week. Sen. Young turned his back on the voters who had just sent him to Washington and is now openly supporting same-sex marriage.

Though times may be harder for Christians in the days to come, remember Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”



URGENT! Tell Senator Young to vote No on the Respect for Marriage Act

The so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” threatens the religious liberty of all Hoosiers. Making this all the more frustrating is that although Senator Todd Young was elected by the people of Indiana because of his strong pro-Family messages; he voted with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to give President Biden a major win before the newly elected Republican Majority in the House takes over in January.

There is still time for Senator Young to make this right. Another vote is coming up that requires the support of 60 Senators, and he could still change his mind.

Only 41% of likely voters in Indiana support the RFMA legislation, according to a new poll by the Heritage Foundation. 47% oppose the bill. That 47% is of the whole electorate, among Republicans it’s even higher.

When it is explained that the bill allows religious organizations and faith-based charities to be targeted for malicious lawsuits and attacks by the Biden Administration, opposition rises sharply, to 70% of Republican voters.

The text in the bill that was added to “protect religious liberty” is written in a flowery and completely ineffective way; allowing bureaucrats and litigious activists to ignore it with no penalties.

It’s not too late for Senator Young to make it up to his voters and take a stand against the Respect for Marriage Act; to defend the religious freedom of Hoosiers and Americans in general.

This bill is likely to be voted on tonight. Call Senator Young’s office now and ask him to vote against this bill.

317-226-6700 – Indianapolis

812-542-4820 – New Albany

202-224-5623 – Washington, DC

If you can’t get through on the phone, write him an email here:



Senator Young, you betrayed us

This week, a bill we’ve been warning about for months, the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act”, was put forward in the Senate. This bill threatens religious liberty, and strips the states of the right to set policy regarding marriage. This bill, if passed, will lead to increased persecution of Christians in America.

There weren’t enough Democrats in the Senate to get the bill to the floor. They needed 60 votes, with only 50 Democrats. They needed 10 Republicans to back the bill, or it would fail. They didn’t get 10, they got 12.

12 Republicans crossed the floor to support this bill, redefining marriage, and removing it from its biblical context at the Federal level. If you pay close attention to the Senate, most of the Senators that crossed the aisle were names you’d expect. Republicans from deep blue states, or with a history of a more libertarian streak on social issues.

The name that shocked everyone was Todd Young.

Back in April, Todd Young won the “True Blue” award from the Family Research Council for his steadfast defense of life, and his unwavering support of the family.

He no longer deserves that award. He has failed Indiana.

He ran for re-election on a Pro-Family message, and just days after securing his seat for the next 6 years, he betrayed his constituents. He went back on his established track record, and voted for a bill that endangers the religious freedom of Hoosiers, and in fact, all Americans.

This is a painful betrayal, because unlike many Senators, Senator Young had actually walked the walk. Even in cases where he wasn’t quite as strong as we would have liked, he always defended the idea that the states have the right to set their own policy on issues like this. He caved on an issue that he knows Hoosiers care deeply about.

He walked across the aisle to stand with Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden, and voted to make Hoosiers more vulnerable to punitive lawsuits while undermining the values that he campaigned on.

When we cut through the language of this bill, what it really does is repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and enshrine same-sex marriage in federal statute. This would be bad enough if it was merely a symbolic gesture…attempting to appease the GLBT activist community by lifting up what the Bible calls “sexual immorality” as a moral model for the nation of what marriage should be.

However, as bad as that is, the damage is much more significant. Why are bakers and florists and creative professionals being attacked and held up in court for years? Why are teachers being fired because they won’t participate in promoting GLBT values? Why do schools feel emboldened to teach kindergartners that their parents lied to them about their gender? Why do so many faith based institutions feel constantly under attack because of their loyalty to biblical principles?

The legal foundation for all of these attacks on free speech and religious liberty started with the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) through the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. DOMA protected marriage as the union exclusively between one man and one woman within federal statute. The Obergefell decision not only overturned DOMA, it also mandated same-sex marriage nationwide.

By creating this newly found right to same-sex marriage within the US Constitution, the US Supreme Court set the stage for attacks on all those who hold a Biblical view of human sexuality.

Justice Alito predicted this in 2014 within his dissent:

“It [the Obergefell decision) will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy….I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

That is exactly what has happened, and more, in the intervening years.

That brings us back to Indiana Senator Todd Young’s vote. Despite the rhetoric you are hearing on this bill, what he actually did (along with 11 Republican colleagues) was to codify the basis for all of these attacks on free speech and religious liberty within federal law. Whenever our liberties are under attack by those who want to shut us down and shut us up, they will use this law as their sword. Obergefell opened the door to persecution, this law will guarantee it. Just like the flowery religious liberty language within the Obergefell decision did nothing to stem the persecution that flowed forth from that decision, persecution is here to stay thanks to Senator Young and this new law. The flowery language voicing protection for religious liberty in this bill will do nothing.

Senator Young has guaranteed that the suffering that people of faith have endured under Obergefell will increase. The Left will be emboldened to attack more people like Baronnelle Stutzman and Jack Phillips simply for attempting to live their lives according to biblical principles.

The final vote on this bill has not yet occurred in the United States Senate. Please encourage Sen. Young to reconsider. If it does pass the Senate a concurrence vote will need to occur in the Nancy Pelosi controlled House.

To let Senator Young know how you feel, click here to send him a message.



Indiana Court of Appeals Deals Major Blow to Parental Rights

The Court of Appeals of Indiana recently affirmed a trial court decision removing a 16-year-old child from the custody of his parents because they could not, in good conscience, affirm his transgender ideology. This is a startling and chilling decision that could affect parental rights throughout Indiana and the country.

The headline result of the decision is this:

If a child in Indiana claims that he or she is transgender and Christian parents decline to affirm that child’s newfound gender, that child can be ripped from their parents and placed in foster care.

The parents in this matter are devout Christians that believe (1) God creates each of us as immutably male or female as an expression of the image and nature of God and (2) that embracing who God has created us to be will lead to our flourishing.

In June of 2021, their son claimed he was transgender and that he was not safe in their home because the parents would not affirm his transgender ideology. The trial court removed the child from the parents over their objections and placed the child in a foster home that affirmed the child’s transgender ideology. The trial court also limited visitation with their child to a few hours one day a week and barred them from speaking about the issue of transgenderism with their child except in a supervised setting.

DCS later entered an agreement with the parents to dismiss the allegations of abuse and neglect against them and to focus the case on the child’s eating disorder. Because all allegations against them were dismissed, the parents had every reason to believe their child would be quickly returned to their home. Instead, DCS and the trial court surprised the parents at the next hearing by stating that the disagreement over their religious beliefs remained an obstacle in returning the child to their home. This directly contradicted the agreement to dismiss the allegations against the parents, and the parents appealed.

To make matters worse, the Court of Appeals recently held that the removal of the child from the parents’ home over the issue of transgenderism did not impose a substantial burden on the parents’ free exercise of religion. Furthermore, in justifying the bar on the parents’ religious speech, the Court of Appeals compared the parents’ speech and beliefs about transgenderism to two parents yelling at or insulting one another in front of their child.

The DCS, the trial court, and the Court of Appeals have, of course, characterized this case as about something other than transgenderism. However, the plain facts of the matter speak for themselves. Despite fully participating in the case plan provided by the state and complying with every order of the trial court, the child remains placed in a transgender-affirming foster home that allowed the child to socially transition without the consent of the parents, the parents are barred by a court order from speaking to their child about their religious beliefs concerning transgenderism except in a supervised setting, the child remains out of their home almost 17 months after removal, and the parents are limited to a few hours of visitation one day per week.

The implications of this case are broad and chilling. If a child claims that he or she is transgender and Christian parents decline to affirm that child’s transgender ideology, the state can now use this case as precedent to remove that child from the parents’ custody, bar the parent from speaking to their child about their religious beliefs, and place the child in a home that teaches principles contrary to the parents’ deeply held religious beliefs.

The Indiana Court of Appeals Judges who ruled against parental rights in this case are: Judges Crone (2004), Viadik (2000) and Altice (2015). Judges Crone and Viakik were appointed by Democrat Governors (Kernan and O’Bannon respectively). Judge Altice was surprisingly appointed by Republican Governor Mike Pence in 2015. Once appointed, a justice or judge within the Indiana Supreme Court or Indiana Court of Appeals must stand for a retention election at the first statewide general election after the justice or judge had served for two full years and, if retained, every 10 years thereafter.

Judge Viadik is currently up for retention throughout Indiana. She will be on your ballot! A vote “No” on her retention would remove her from office and allow Governor Holcomb the opportunity to choose a replacement.

What else can you do?

Contact your State Representative and State Senator and let them know you want parental rights strengthened in Indiana. If the Indiana Courts fail to protect parental rights the Indiana General Assembly must step in. Outside of an in-person meeting, a piece of snail mail is the most impactful. After that would be a phone call or a personalized email. As we get closer to the legislative session we will have action alert emails available to you so you can easily email our legislators.

As tomorrow is election day, we recommend that you make sure you are prepared when you walk into the voting booth. We’ve partnered with iVoterGuide to give you a breakdown of where the candidates in your local races stand on the issues that matter to you and your family.



National abortion laws threaten Indiana’s principles

Hoosiers fought hard this year to protect life, but the abortion lobby hasn’t given up. Knowing they won’t win here, they are trying to push through a national “right to abortion”, and the bill they’re trying to pass is extreme, with no limits.

From the Washington Stand:

The bill he referred to — H.R. 3755, which supporters dub the “Women’s Health Protection” Act — would go well beyond Roe by striking down nearly every pro-life law in all 50 states, including health regulations designed to protect women’s reproductive health, parental consent or notification laws, and laws restricting late-term abortions after the point of viability if an abortionist believes pregnancy would harm the “health” of the mother.

Pro-life leaders highlighted the extreme legislation’s lack of popular support. “President Biden’s desperate attempt to sway voters by pushing painful abortions is clear evidence of how out of touch he is. Ninety percent of Americans reject Biden’s view that abortion should be legal up until birth for any reason — paid for by taxpayers,” said March for Life President Jeanne Mancini. “Our country is facing significant challenges and looking for positive solutions, not more violence and death.”

“Only 8% of Americans agree with Stacey Abrams, Raphael Warnock, Mark Kelly, Katie Hobbs, Catherine Cortez Masto, John Fetterman, and other Democratic candidates who support unlimited abortion, paid for by taxpayers, up to the moment of birth,” agreed Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. “Doubling down on an extreme agenda of abortion on demand until birth won’t stop Democrats from losing Congress, even with the abortion industry spending record sums to elect them.”

We will continue to fight for life in Indiana and oppose national abortion laws that ignore the will of the people in our state. Pray for the soul of our nation, and that the horrors of abortion will be made clear to our pro-choice friends and neighbors.

We have partnered with iVoterGuide to give you insights into the candidates who will be on your ballot next month, click here to see where the candidates in your area stand on the issues that matter to you, your family, and your faith.