Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Latham Invites Curt Smith To Lunch

If you needed any further evidence that the Rev. Michael Latham's role as FSSA's chaplain is all about politics, you need look no further than who he's invited to lunch with FSSA's employees to discuss families. Taking Down Words notes this internal announcement:

From: Office of the Secretary
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 9:25 AM
To: #FSSA Central Office
Subject: Lunch with the Chaplain

It's time for FSSA's monthly "Lunch with the Chaplain." Today's guest speaker will be Mr. Curt Smith from the Indiana Family Institute. Mr. Smith will talk about how we can strengthen our families by enjoying various summer events.

Please join us for this event. Bring your lunch and a friend.

When: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 Time: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm Where: Conference
Room 22, first floor IGC-South

Smith runs the Indiana Family Action PAC, in addition to his role as executive director of the Indiana Family Institute. Smith's PAC is backing religious right candidates for mayor in Fort Wayne and South Bend this year. It endorsed only one local candidate in last year's election, Ken Fries, who opposed an openly lesbian candidate for Allen Co. Sheriff. Smith has devoted a considerable amount of his time the past several years lobbying state lawmakers to enact a constitutional amendment which discriminates against Indiana's gay and lesbian citizens. He also was very vocal in his opposition to the enactment of Indianapolis' HRO and opposed Gov. Daniels' EEO policy of non-discrimination towards gays and lesbians as well.

Can someone explain to me why Latham would see a benefit in asking a divisive, anti-gay advocate like Smith to address FSSA employees on a subject as sensitive as families? Does he not understand how offensive Smith's presence would be to employees who don't share his narrow, intolerant and ideological views? How much more damage will Gov. Daniels permit Latham to do to the credibility of his administration before he pulls the plug on the little self-dealing gig he's got going on for himself?

UPDATE: TDW reported that Rev. Latham was a no-show at today's FSSA luncheon with Smith, which was sparsely attended according to the account.


Anonymous said...

RE: "Does he [FSSA Chaplain Rev. Michael Latham] not understand how offensive [IFI President Curt] Smith's presence would be to employees who don't share his narrow, intolerant and ideological views?"

AI, the lunch invitation sounds optional to me, not required attendance. Wouldn't such employees just opt out, and carry on with their normal lunch time routine?

Furthermore, what's your problem with narrowism, intolerance and ideologicalism/dogmatism? Those home grown values has helped us combat child porn as well as ban slavery and dueling. If only we could narrow, intelorate and ideologicalize more like the old days.

Furthermore, do people have to agree with each other on 100% on an issue before the Governor permits their freedom of association? Or are you proposing that Governor Daniels step in and prevent such an assembly of free citizens? Sounds to me like your intimating the creation of a Ministry of Civilian Affairs for the state of Indiana? Ewe, gives me goosebumps; I hope I've misunderstood your point.

Furthermore, are you free for lunch? My treat. If it helps your conscience, I've cleared it with the Governor.


Chris Mann

Gary R. Welsh said...

The announcement comes from Secretary Roob's office--otherwise known as the top boss at the agency. Does it compel attendance? No. Does it send a message to employees regardless of whether they choose to attend? Yes. Is the message one with which many employees would be comfortable? Probably not. Should the chaplain's work involve asking lobbyist/political activists to participate in official agency functions? Absolutely not.

Anonymous said...

And will Indiana Equality, or Greater Indianapolis Fairness Alliance or Human Rights Campaign -Indiana or any noumber of other family-oriented political groups be featured next week? Or is there just one opinion at the FSSA? Is there just one morality and one brand of Christianity allowed in the government offices of Indiana?

Anonymous said...

"Does it send a message to employees regardless of whether they choose to attend? Yes."


a) So what.

...hence the beauty and burden of democracy. Whoever is at the helm as the full authority to govern in this or that direction. You haven't said as much, but this seems to be the clear subtext: You believe Roob is saying, "attend if you want to keep your job or otherwise a incur a frowny face which may someday amount to getting fired."

b) Welcome to politics.

If you don't like the pro's/con's of this, go shop for a different and more palatable arrangement of pro's/con's somewhere else. Especially if your skin is this thin and you don't have the social graces to attend and respectfully articulate disagreement with this or that.

AI, you're assuming these people are something like social infants, incapable of mustering the social graces necessary to endure some (very modest) discomfort by attending something to learn something. Yes we can separate five year olds who always get in a fight, but if twenty years later they still have problems articulating and debating differences, then there is a larger issue at hand than somebody's lunch invitation.

Anonymous said...

“Is the message one with which many employees would be comfortable? Probably not.”

Again, so what.

These people have a right to not be sexually harassed, enslaved, or racially profiled, but their employment agreement doesn’t include anything about ensuring their beliefs and assumptions about X remains unchallenged. If anything, it's a great opportunity to stretch their minds and consider another point of view, which is the very expression and exercise of tolerance.

…Isn’t it your people who came up with the idea of ordering people to sensitivity training classes? Or, you don’t mind ordering people to report to a classroom from 8-5 for a couple weeks to expound on a “message with which many emplyees would be uncomfortable” but you’re really upset about an optional lunch?

As well, regardless of the majority/minority consideration, the point is irrelevant. Roob isn't ethically bound to take a poll on whether he should schedule a lunch appointment, no matter how many people support or oppose the meeting.

Anonymous said...

"Should the chaplain's work involve asking lobbyist/political activists to participate in official agency functions? Absolutely not."


Actually, absolutely right.

Your straining, hope against hope, to paint this as an "official agency function" yet you've already conceded above that this was optional and during a lunch break. I doubt there is a figurative or actual working definition of "official agency function" (I might be wrong? not absolutely sure) but I don't see how you can possibly hope that Roob's luncheon is "official", especially after you just conceded that it was optional.

Lobbyists are citizens, and "political activists" are usually the same. Surely you're just shooting from the hip here, and not trying to make the case that people who are involved in the political process ("political activists") somehow must be ostracized, even experience a measure of disenfranchisement, from the political process because they are part of the political process? You’re really arguing that you, me, or Curt Smith should be legally or otherwise formally tagged as “political activists” and therefore barred from certain kinds of meetings? I know you are not, but consider the logical implications of your question.

Anonymous said...

Now, about lunch. I really meant this, and probably should apologize for the comment about getting clearance from the Gov. A bit to sarcastic.

But, I am curious to know if you are open minded and tolerant enough to let a conservative treat you to lunch. I'm actually a pretty nice person and I think we'd both enjoy the time.


Anonymous said...

Good god - this was nothing more than an effort by Daniels' administration to pander to the right wing moral/Taliban in Indiana.

The good news is that no one showed up (maybe 6 people), not even the Chaplain!

People are tired of the same old crap of bible-banging. And it sure does not belong in Government buildings!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, God is good, but we're talking about politics and I thought you would uphold a strict separation of church and existence. I'm mistaken?

Now, about lunch. This will be a good thing.