Pence, Pre-school and the Right-Wing Base

By Sheila Kennedy

[Originally published at SheilaKennedy.net on October 24, 2014]

In case you were wondering why on earth Indiana’s Governor would refuse to apply for 80 million dollars in federal funds for preschool development, I point you to the most recent newsletter from the Indiana Family Association’s Micah Clark.
 
After urging his readers to “thank Governor Pence” for refusing that terrible, intrusive federal government support, Clark wrote
I disagree with the Governor and many others who support state preschool programs. I have yet to be convinced from the research that any benefits from the expensive programs attempted in other states are lasting and, therefore, the best use of Hoosier’s tax dollars. However, I completely agree with Governor Pence telling the federal government “no thanks.” 
Here’s a key point. If the government offers “free” preschool only to those it approves, then churches, homes, and private alternatives are crowded out of the market. Over time, parents could actually have fewer choices. 
As I heard one inner city pastor say, “the governor saved our preschool with this move.” AFA of Indiana supports parents having as many choices as possible, not just a one-size-fits-all. government dictated option.
It doesn’t take a lot of skill to read between those lines. Just follow the money.
 
We’ve seen this movie before. Every time the state legislature tries to pass minimum health and safety standards for daycare and preschools–usually, after a tragic accident at some unregulated, unsafe facility– conservative churches mount a hysterical assault on “big government,” and claim a religious right to be free of pesky (too-expensive) rules about nutrition, fire safety, minimum ratio of caregivers to infants and the like.
 
Churches operating daycare and preschool operations that don’t want to comply with health and safety standards are a big part of Governor Pence’s base. Those churches clearly didn’t want federal money funding safer competitors, and the Governor just as clearly got the message.
 
If poor Hoosier families lose out, so be it.
 
Ironically, the usual message of AFA of Indiana is: we don’t need no stinking preschool. Mothers should be home (preferably barefoot and pregnant) taking care of their own children, like God intended.
 
But if some mothers absolutely must work, and really have to leave their kids somewhere, it needs to be in a “bible-believing” facility that makes us money. If accepting federal dollars might threaten that business model, Indiana should refuse those dollars.
 
It’s always instructive to follow the money.
 
In this case, you can follow it to the other states whose children will benefit from 80 million dollars that our bible-belt state was too “pure and independent” to accept. 



Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana's ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI's Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at www.sheilakennedy.net. For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

Tucker Carlson: Alison Lundergan Grimes "Seems Like A Sweet Person But She's Obviously Not Qualified To Be Room Mother"


Tucker Carlson: Alison Lundergan Grimes "Seems Like A Sweet Person But She's Obviously Not Qualified To Be Room Mother"

For the record, a "room mother" is "a female volunteer, often the mother of a student, who assists an elementary-school teacher, as by working with students who need extra help."
 
From the October 24 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends courtesy of Media Matters:



Seattle-Area High School Shooting: Multiple Students Involved


Marysville-Pilchuck High School (near Seattle, Washington) became the site of the latest in a string of violent school shootings this afternoon. The altercation - which began in the school's cafeteria - apparently ended when the shooter took his own life.
 
A gunman believed to have opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday morning is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to two law-enforcement sources. 
Police have not released details, but there are reports of as many as seven other people shot about 10:45 a.m. 
Three of the injured were taken by ambulance to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, including one with a head wound.
CNN added that "Marysville-Pilchuck High School is on lockdown 'due to an emergency situation,' the school district said in a statement, according to KIRO." At least two students have been airlifted from the scene according to several media sources on the ground at the school.

About Tim Peacock:

For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he's dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging - he's been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

You can find Tim online at his personal website. He additionally guest contributes at Blue Nation Review. You can find him on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter as @timsimms


Idaho Anti-LGBT Venue Free to Discriminate as a Religious Entity (Not as a Business)


Idaho Anti-LGBT Vemue Free to Discrimimate as a Religious Entity (Not as a Business)
In an update to the ongoing story of a wedding business in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, the city has announced that the Hitching Post - the secular business who recently filed paperwork to officially become a religious-only entity (just before filing a lawsuit) - may discriminate against LGBT freely as long as they remain locked in their current religious business model. Should they revert back to any of their previous secular/civil marriage services, they would once again become subject to the city's anti-discrimination public accommodation ordinance.
 
Initially, the city said its anti-discrimination law did apply to the Hitching Post, since it is a commercial business. Earlier this week, Coeur d'Alene city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to the Knapps’ attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom saying the Hitching Post would have to become a not-for-profit to be exempt. 
But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit. 
“After we've looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation,” Gridley explained.
That doesn't give the Hitching Post carte blanche to offer whatever services they please without penalty though; they must retain that religious designation without offering any of the previous services that would be considered secular business (such as civil ceremonies). Leo Morales from ACLU of Idaho explained, "However, if they do non-religious ceremonies as well, they would be violating the anti-discrimination ordinance,” Morales said. “It's the religious activity that's being protected."
 
It appears that the hyperbolic war on Christianity conservatives like Todd Starnes like to screech about just didn't materialize in this case - a case those on the far right have been setting up since May 2014 (long before LGBT marriage equality was law in Idaho).
 
While the city of Coeur d'Alene and the owners of the Hitching Post may all be satisfied with the current outcome, those on the far right who have been beating the war drum - the ADF, NOM, and a host of other anti-gay far right organizations and Fox News personalities - now have to find another business owner to profit from in their ongoing effort to manufacture religious outrage.

About Tim Peacock:

For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he's dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging - he's been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

You can find Tim online at his personal website. He additionally guest contributes at Blue Nation Review. You can find him on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter as @timsimms