Alex Blaze

Rightwing Christian Organization Gets Federal Money

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 31, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Christian beliefs, homophobic behavior, indiana family institute, secularism

The Indiana Family Institute, an off-shoot of Focus on the Family, is receiving federal money, healthy-families.pngThe American Independent reports:

The anti-gay, politically influential Christian organization the Indiana Family Institute (IFI) has been endorsed by the State of Indiana as "collaborative partner" in administering the state's federally funded Healthy Marriage program since 2008. This arrangement provides IFI with federal support through the Indiana Department of Child Services through 2013.

The group, a state affiliate of Colorado-based Focus on the Family that has been the leading political force behind the anti-same sex marriage amendment -- House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6) -- that passed the Indiana Senate this week, got a $50,000 grant from a subsidiary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services called the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in 2005.

The Indiana Family Institute was the lead organization pushing for the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana that passed the senate this week. It's a fundamentalist Protestant organization that operates on a statement of faith that excludes most Christians, as well as all other religions and people without religion:

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential and that this salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and not as a result of good works.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life and to perform good works.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The money they're receiving is supposed to go to services that benefit everyone regardless of faith or sexual orientation. The funds are part of the state's Healthy Marriage program, which diverts Medicaid funding in order to strengthen marriages using methods that have not been proven to be effective.

The American Independent says that the partnership with the state has been set up to run through 2013. While a $50,000 grant was approved for the organization this week, it is unknown how much federal money the group is taking in as they don't break down various sources of grant money on their 990.

It's also unknown if that money is what is required to put on the several workshops the organization has planned for this year. But like most state services that have effectively been privatized, the grant money is given, some semblance of service is provided, and the difference is pocketed by a private interest that'll be sure to support certain politicians' career ambitions. From the military to construction to social services, this is what conservative politicians mean when they say private contractors are more efficient than state workers at getting the job done.

Personally, I don't think the government should be involved in people's relationships in the first place. While there's nothing wrong with social skills-type classes in school, these sorts of workshops are based on several faulty ideas: 1) that longevity is the best/only way to measure the value of a marriage or relationship; 2) that married relationships are better than unmarried relationships because of that magical sheet of paper; 3) that marriages fall apart only for reasons that can be blamed on the people in the relationship and not, say, a highly punitive criminal justice system that breaks up families for long periods of time or a high unemployment rate politicians don't want to decrease that increases stress on working families; and 4) that only monogamous, sexual relationships promote stability in families, while lovers and friends and extended family are amusing but not essential.

There's a couples' class at the Wayne Library on Girls School Road in Indianapolis scheduled for April 9th, if a gay or lesbian couple out there feels they need help with their relationship. The workshops are free and federal money isn't supposed to discriminate along the lines of sexual orientation when it comes to services provided (employment is another matter). Since their website is vague and the websites for the materials reek of quackery, I'm curious as to what goes on at such a workshop.

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Rick Sutton | March 31, 2011 2:49 PM

They're not only faulty ideas, Alex. They're dangerous.

If you send schoolkids into the world with only that kind of relationship information, you're setting them up for trouble. It's annoyingly naive.

The good folks at the "Family Institute" don't care. And a good chunk of our legislature seems to agree.

We've got some work to do.

Starting with: demanding that the Inspector General investigate the potential co-mingling of funds, and seek appropriate refunds/apologies. Now.

Except: in Indiana, the IG is a paper tiger, who has investigated and found exactly **zero** corruption or misdeeds in the administration of his annointing governor.

Ain't it grand?

california panda | March 31, 2011 2:55 PM

Just another reason not to move to, or live in, Indiana. The list of states that support gender and sexual equality is getting slimmer by the day. These bible beaters may just do what "The Confederacy" could not -- get bigotry and hatred hammered into our Constitution. I'm beginning to believe that the Pink Pistols have the right idea.

No religious institution should ever receive government money for any reason. The "Office of Faith Based Initiatives" is one terrible idea. And I say this as a person of faith whose little church could use the dough.

And IFI isn't the only religious right group getting state/federal dollars in the state. They just rammed through legislation that would require counceling for any couple who wants to get married. If you don't do it, the cost of your marriage liscense goes from like $15 to $100!