Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who's Afraid of Virginia Cain?

She is a Republican Indianapolis city-county councilor, representing the far northeastern part of the city, which includes the upscale neighborhoods surrounding Geist Reservoir where some of the city's most affluent and influential residents live. Her name is Virginia Cain, and her views towards gays and lesbians could not be more bigoted and hate-filled. When a gay Indianapolis resident e-mailed Councilor Cain to urge her to support Proposal 68, which would have outlawed discrimination against Indianapolis residents on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity, he could not have imagined receiving any response let alone the one he got from her. What he received was one of the most hate-filled and bigoted e-mails I've ever seen coming from anyone, let alone an elected public official like Cain.

In a reply e-mail to Seth Kreigh dated April 22, 2005, Cain said, "I will never support something that is meant for destruction of human beings and our civilization." Cain's e-mail described homosexuality as "an addiction to unhealthy sexual behavior", which "can be overcome with proper treatment." Kreigh, who has been active in launching the Indiana Action Network, received a lecture from Cain on how "unhealthy" homosexuality is, how homosexuals have a shorter life span and are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS and how they experience "serious bouts of depression" leading to suicide. According to Cain, "[t]he Bible is clear that sex was created and intended within the confines of heterosexual marriage." Cain continued, "Who would want to pervert that? Satan...the author of sin."

Where does someone like Virginia Cain learn these bigoted views? According to her biography on the City's website Cain is a former staffer for United States Senators Richard Lugar and Dan Coats in constituent services overseeing the areas of housing, veterans and post office issues. She then went on to be Assistant State Director for Senator Coats where her duties included travelling the middle 33 counties of Indiana on his behalf as well as being a member of the projects staff. Cain, who is a law school graduate and a full-time mom, says she is active in her church, East 91st Street Christian Church.

Did Cain learn these views while working for Senators Lugar and Coats? I hope not. While Cain relies on the Bible to support her bigoted views towards gays and lesbians, her own church, the Christian Church, has an entirely different view than she takes in her e-mail. In 1997 the Christian Church, also known as the Disciples of Christ, adopted a policy statement which urged support for "legislation on local, state and national levels which will end the denial of civil rights and the violation of civil liberties for reasons of sexual orientation." The resolution specifically recognized that "the church, among other elements of society, has contributed to the persecution and suffering of homosexuals, and it is its culpability in this regard which provides one reason for seeking a more enlightened understanding." I think it unlikely Virginia Cain acquired these bigoted views from the church she attends. I am curious, however, whether she aspoused these beliefs prior to her election to the city-county council, particularly during the time she spent working on the staffs of Senators Lugar and Coats, respectively. If her views were known, then it worries me that the Marion County Republican Party is bringing a new generation of leaders into the party like Cain who hold such intolerant and non-inclusive views.

It is my hope that her views are not shared by the leadership of the Marion County Republican Party. State Representative Mike Murphy currently serves as the chairman of the Marion County Republican Party. When he is not workng as a state representative, he works as a business executive for WellPoint, a health care giant based in Indianapolis. WellPoint has been lauded for favorable employment practices towards gays and lesbians. The company's employment policy specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and it offers benefits to same sex couples. If Murphy were to make the kind of statements Cain made towards a gay or lesbian employee at WellPoint, he would be subject to serious disciplinary action, including termination, under the company's policies. As a legislator, Representative Murphy voted for SJR 7, which would amend the Indiana Constitution to prohibit same sex marriages and civil unions. He has also shown no interest to date in supporting state legislative efforts to amend the State's Civil Rights Act to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. Notwithstanding those positions, as the leader of the Marion County Republican Party, I would hope that Rep. Murphy will denounce Cain's bigoted statements and make it clear that they are not reflected by a majority of Republicans. If he and other Republican leaders in Marion County remain silent, I can only conclude that they subscribe to her statements. And that would be an even greater outrage than Cain herself.

The full text of Cain's e-mail can be found below:

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2005 4:51 PM
To: Kreigh, Seth
Subject: Re: Proposal #68

It is never helpful to condone and justify someone's unhealthy chosen addiction.Homosexuality is an addiction to unhealthy sexual behavior.It can be overcome with proper treatment. Check out Exodus International for confirmation of this.Homosexuality is very unhealthy.Homosexuals have a shorter life span, are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS, experience serious bouts of depression and even suicide.The Bible is clear that sex was created and intended within the confines of heterosexual marriage.It is meant to mirror our relationship to our Creator.Who would want to pervert that? Satan...the author of sin.Jesus came to overcome sin's power over us so that we can live and live abundantly! He came to rescue us...not condemn us. Thus, we need to help those who are entrapped in any kind of unhealthy lifestyle.I will never support something that is meant for destruction of human beings and our civilization.


Ginny Cain
CCC - Dist. 5


paula said...

A friend of mine passed that email along to me awhile back - shortly after it was received, I think.

I decided to look up what kind of person who, as an elected official would respond in this manner. I found her bio on the indianapolis city council site, then googled her full name (Virginia Alig Cain). The person who would respond sounding more like a pastor than an elected representative is listed in the Summer Class Notes of Northwestern University 2002 immediately before Stephen Colbert, the guy on The Daily Show who does the "This Week in God" bit skewering the hypocrisy of the religious fanatics. Coincidence? Irony?? Got me, but at least it made me laugh. I needed that!

Summer Class Notes Northwestern University 2002:
Virginia Alig Cain (S87) of Indianapolis directed a theater production for the East 91st Street Christian Church in December. Last fall she chaired the family film event for Heartland Film Festival and in spring 2001 directed Neil Simon’s play, Rumors, at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre.

Stephen Colbert (S87) of Montclair, N.J., is a writer and correspondent for the "Daily Show," a Comedy Central television program. He also wrote, produced and performed in "Strangers with Candy" on Comedy Central, and his book Wigfield (Hyperion, 2002) is scheduled to be published in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Not to split hairs...but did you verify that East 91st Christian Church is associated with Disciples of Christ? The reason I ask is that there are two (very separate) factions of the Christian Church - Disciples of Christ and Independant. I am a member of the Independant Christian church and have attended East 91st before and I believe they fall under the independent faction. If so, I don't know what their official view of homosexuality is but as a lifelong member, and knowing their beliefs, it can't be good.

Also, as involved as Ginny claims to be in the theatre, you would think she would have a sliver of tolerance. That industry couldn't be more gay.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paula--That is too funny of a coincidence. Maybe you should pass the item on to Stephen Colbert to use in his "This Week in God" bit--he'd get a big laugh out of it for sure.

Kevin--I don't know you may be right--if she wants to explain that she belongs to a fringe group rather than the mainline denomination, then she can have at it.

paula said...

I'm a very bad detective, I couldn't find an email address for him, but if you have better contacts, feel free :)

Eidolon said...

My response to Ginny Cain's letter can be found at

Anonymous said...

"Sodomy is still an abomination"-God
Virginia Cain stands on firm ground. My hat is off to her!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ginny "Alig" Cain should ask her father to help her with her addiction to bigotry. But alas, her hypocrisy would prevent her and him from engaging in such self-reflection. Good luck in life Ginny. I'm just sad that her children have to have her as their mother.