Indiana’s Senate just passed legislation that would allow state funding to go to organizations that discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion.
Senate Bill 127, sponsored by State Sen. Travis Holdman (below), comes in response to money being rescinded from a state university because of its employment standards:
… Indiana Wesleyan University — which insists its employees only be Christian and follow a lifestyle mandate barring smoking, drinking, homosexuality, adultery, gossip, pornography, gambling and most dancing — recently lost a state workforce training grant for violating Indiana’s prohibition on religious discrimination by state contractors.
But that’s exactly as it should be. Private Christian schools have every right to exist, but the government shouldn’t be giving them taxpayer-funded handouts when there’s discrimination at play. It’s the same sort of reasoning that let Kentucky officials to rescind its tax rebate from Ken Ham‘s Ark Encounter. They wanted state money to support their theme park while only hiring other Christians. Kentucky finally realized this was illegal, though Answers is Genesis is now suing over the matter.
If this bill in Indiana passes through the Republican-controlled House and gets signed into law by the Republican governor, it would open the door to all sorts of additional state-sponsored discrimination:
For example, [Sen. Karen] Tallian said most of Northwest Indiana’s hospitals are Catholic-run — will the doctors and nurses and janitors be made to attend church? What about eating meat on Friday? What about using birth control?
“And then, who decides when a person has conformed to the tenets of the religion? A board at the hospital? The Diocese of Gary? The Spanish Inquisition?” Tallian asked.
“Who is going to be the person that makes this decision? And how are these prospective employees supposed to decide, or even know, what they have to conform to?”
Everyone is better off if there’s a separation between church and state.
If you live in Indiana, now would be a good time to contact your legislators and raise hell over this bill.
(Thanks to Emily for the link)