Friday, June 15, 2007

Clark And Miller Lament Session Defeats

The AFA's Micah Clark has been advocating the "pro-family" agenda for 17 years at the State House, but he's never been more disappointed than he was by this year's legislative outcome. "Pro-family groups have never worked harder and came up with less," he tells WGNR, a Christian radio station which recently interviewed Clark and Eric Miller, the founder of Advance America. Miller is equally alarmed by the current state of Indiana's legislative affairs. "Down there at the State House the pro-family people are outmaneuvered and outgunned probably 100-1 just in terms of sheer numbers of paid lobbyists for the abortion industry, gays and lesbians and lots of other business interests."

As always, Clark and Miller pause for a public service announcement to assure folks they represent "non-profit, non-partisan" organizations to safeguard their treasured tax-exempt status. But then the two just can't help themselves from invoking their socially conservative, Republican leanings. Miller says SJR 7, the constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage and bar rights for unmarried couples lost in the House "because of the political maneuvering of the leadership of the House and Speaker Pat Bauer." You hear that folks. We have to return the House to Republican control so Brian Bosma can become Speaker again and insure the safe passage of a constitutional amendment to discriminate against gays, unmarried couples and whatever other groups they have a hankering to relegate to second-class citizenship.

Clark is even more direct with his partisanship than Miller is. He makes it clear that Rep. Terri Austin (D) is to blame for the failure of SJR-7, and that she must be voted out of office. She "broke a promise" she made weeks earlier to support SJR-7 as "the swing vote on the committee" based on "weak and false arguments." "I hope the voters will remember [her vote]," he adds. Clark had the audacity to claim opponents of SJR-7 were guilty of using "scare tactics" to defeat it. Excuse me, but who has been falsely telling lawmakers for the past several years there was a real danger that Indiana courts would force same-sex marriage on the state, even though the only litigated case in this state came up snake eyes for proponents of same-sex marriages, and there is absolutely no case law to support such an outcome in Indiana constitutional jurisprudence?

Clark and Miller also spend a lot of time complaining about the expansion of gaming to fund a property tax rebate program. Miller unsuccessfully sought an outright repeal of the property tax this session. If Clark and Miller had devoted half the time they devoted to the successful defeat of a hate crimes bill in the House this year, the two might have had a little success at stopping the gambling expansion. By all accounts, the two did little more than offer lip service to the effort to stop slots at the race tracks at the same time they were mounting a grassroots effort to inundate lawmakers with homo-bigoted attacks on the hate crimes legislation.

While Clark and Miller made no mention of their work on the hate crimes legislation during their interview, Miller had plenty to say about it in a legislative update to his members following the session. Miller wrote about the legislation:

Fortunately, House Bill 1459 did not pass the legislature creating special protection for homosexuals and cross dressers. This bill would have established a very dangerous precedent because it would create two classes of victims and punish someone more because of their alleged thoughts. The bill represented a step in the wrong direction with regard to free speech. Would the next step have been to prohibit speech that someone views as hateful? For example will legislation be introduced in the future to prohibit pastors from speaking out against the homosexual lifestyle?

Perhaps during the interview with the Christian audience the two were mindful that one of the worst hate crimes in recent Indiana memory happened just weeks after they were blasting e-mails to places like Jackson County, Indiana laced with homo-bigoted talk. Believe me, if anyone in this state doesn't want national media attention drawn to the hate crime killing of Aaron Hall of Crothersville, it's these two. God forbid this horrific crime be the impetus for ending Indiana's embarrassing distinction as one of only 5 states in the country without a hate crimes law, along with Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and Wyoming.

I would be remiss if I didn't also share with you the completely false line of crap Miller writes in his legislative update about efforts to force him and groups like his to more fully and honestly report the extent of their lobbying efforts. Groups like Advance America report less than 10% of the actual amount of money they spend lobbying the government in pursuit of their religious agenda. Miller wants you to think it's an attack on free speech rights of ministers and churches:

Under the provisions of the original version of House Bill 1551, if a pastor were to speak out in the community or in the church, on issues such as abortion, homosexual marriages, crime and gambling, then the church could have been required to be registered with the state as a Public Advocacy Organization. This would have also impacted other organizations like a Crisis Pregnancy Center, Christian school or rescue mission. Fortunately the bill was amended to protect churches and pastors and these other organizations.

Two other bills that threatened churches were Senate Bill 186 and Senate Bill 399. These bills were identical and would have made it against the law for anyone including a church or private citizen to spend $500 to “inform the general public” about an issue or “urge the general public to take any action” concerning a legislative issue unless they register with the state as a lobbyist! This means a pastor and church would be breaking the law if they spoke out on abortion, homosexuality, gambling or some other Biblical issue in the church or in the community; or urge
people to contact their Representative or Senator and someone alleges they spent more than $500. Fortunately both of these bills died.

Would the IRS please do its job and immediately revoke the tax-exempt status of Advance America and the American Family Association of Indiana? I don't know how much more evidence could possibly be oferred than what has been written on this blog and elsewhere about their total abuse of their tax-exempt status.


Wilson46201 said...

After "our" victory in Massachusetts in blocking the referendum against marriage, I began to wonder if us Hoosiers need to give ourselves greater appreciation. Considering the horribly backward reputation our state has, the fact that we stopped (if only for a while) the relentless drive of the reactionaries against LGBT folk is quite amazing.

Gnash your fangs and writhe in defeat, Eric and Micah. Kudos to us!

Anonymous said...

Yaaaawwwwwnnnnnn.........Next topic

Anonymous said...

6:05, try to get over your bad 'ole self.

Anonymous said...

Pity party for Eric and Micah...Greg's......10 pm tonight!

Fair warning No. 1: while IE and others pat themselves on the back, this crowd is not done. The Amendment will be back next January. Much work needs to be done this summer and fall on key legislators.

Fair warning No. 2: we ought to flood Rep. Austin with contributions now. She's got a huge bulls-eye on her back. Which she doesn't deserve.