Governor Holcomb, Safeguard Our Liberties
Governor Holcomb, Safeguard Our Liberties
Dear Governor Eric Holcomb,
Happy New Year to you, and blessings upon the new legislative session. As Christians, we pray for all leaders, and we pray for you by name, Eric.
And yet, there has arisen a serious breach of faith, a difficulty that must be addressed, and that is your persistent advocacy of a new hate-crimes bill. Supposedly, Indiana is on a naughty list for not having one, and it's time, so you say, to do the right thing. While many may have good intentions, it is not the right thing to do.
We are repeatedly told 45 out of 50 states have such a law on their books. Well, now we see the results, and that is all the more reason not to follow them off the cliff. Hate crime (aka bias) legislation, like SOGI laws, tip the scales of justice. Thus they infringe on our 14th amendment rights of equal justice under the law. Our system is built not on special rights, but on the self-evident rights of natural law, the rights that belong to each and every one of us, and that a just government recognizes, but does not and cannot create. Our Indiana laws are already written in such a way that judges can take into account malice and motive, but do so in a way that is fair to all.
Much of this is being advanced in a desire to attract big business. We have seen this before, as in North Carolina where the NCAA bullied the state into not having separate men's and women's bathrooms. We saw it in the so-called RFRA fix where big businesses caused us to reverse a modest law that protected freedom of conscience.
Do you remember how these same people treated now Vice President Pence? Do you remember how he was branded a hater by these very people? Do you remember Memories Pizza? The rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion belong to all of us, and must be jealously guarded from sea to shining sea. Yes, we know where this train is headed, and it is not toward conservatism or liberty. I prefer Hoosier values to those of the corporations who would impose their elitist values upon us. I would rather stand up for the little guy, than let the bullies win. Compassion for all, special rights for no one.
You say that you want to make Indiana a welcoming state, one that truly practices Hoosier hospitality. I doubt that this new law would make Barronelle Stutzman or Jack Phillips feel welcome. I doubt the New Mexico artists, facing jail time for not wishing to violate their Christian conscience would feel welcome. Yes, the secular elites apply to all of them the label of hate. The Southern Poverty Law center typically brands Christian groups, and those who defend them, as hate groups as well. But, of course, it's not about hate, it's about imposing their ideology.
My own views about marriage, moms, dads, male and female - which simply fall in line with natural law - are labeled hate by those pushing such legislation. Jesus' own definition of marriage is branded as hate. St. Paul's understanding of sexuality is branded hate as well. This does not make me feel very welcome.
Or is our hospitality only toward big business and to the secular elites? In politics, money talks, as the Chamber of Commerce reminds us. Pity the lowly florist, baker, clerk or teacher. I don't think that John Kluge, a Brownsburg teacher forced out for not using false pronouns, feels the warmth of our hospitality. Indiana's own superintendent of education recently said that private and parochial schools who do not go along with the new gender ideology should not receive funds (i.e. our taxes, our money) in the form of tuition vouchers. Still not feeling the love. I wonder if a woman who enters the bathroom to find a large male, under the name of gender ideology, feels welcome. Or, how about the male gym teacher reprimanded for not supervising a locker room in which he would be forced to look upon the nakedness of a teenage girl? Or the girl forced to share a room with a boy on a sports travel team?
Will Christian adoption agencies be allowed to do their work, or will they be labeled haters, as they already are, and be forced to shut down? What of counselors who wish to save children from the gender madness that would dress up the little children, even as drag queens, give them puberty blockers, hormone treatment, and then disfiguring surgery? What of doctors and nurses who believe that first we should do no harm? Can we discuss this without be labeled haters? This kind of legislation creates landmines and tripwires meant to silence dissent, and even, strangely enough, to compel speech, as in the case of John Kluge, the orchestra teacher. So also, in places like New York City, where people can be fined for using the wrong pronouns.
Governor Holcomb, there is no need to apologize for Indiana. There is no reason to disparage your fellow Hoosiers. We already are a welcoming state. But the folks pushing this law are not welcoming at all. They are coercive, wishing to silence and punish all who disagree. What we need to ensure the liberty of our people is to fight for a state in which people are free to express their opinions apart from the P.C. police. We need to fight for the rights of conscience against a cultural elite that is totalitarian in its aims, and uses such labels as hate to stifle speech and destroy their enemies. Rather than less free speech, we need more. And speech, like every right, is surely lost if we do not courageously exercise it in the face of pressure, and the threat of loss.
I pray you come around on this, and see the light. So much is at stake. I want the best for our state, and for you. And I am always open to the kind of dialog made possible when we do not pass laws like these.
We know there are many pressures involved. And we know the way the media has falsely framed this issue. We all wish for a better society, one in which neighbors care for one another, and we are welcoming to all. But there is a better way. It is the path that promotes our first amendment freedoms, and lets us engage in dialog that is thoughtful and free, apart from speech codes and coercion.
Therefore, we would petition you to reconsider your position, to turn away from hate crimes bills and SOGI legislation. We urge you to become a champion of a truly open society, one in which diversity includes diversity of opinion, one that respects our First Amendment rights of free speech, the free exercise of religion, as well as our Fourteenth Amendment right of equal protection under the law. Many of us would be glad to join you in this noble endeavor.
Dr. Peter J. Scaer