Tag Archives: Indiana Youth Group

Lock Up Your 12-Year-Olds!

Sometimes, I’m so distracted by how batshit crazy the right-wingers have become that I forget how utterly despicable they can be.

To appropriate an old Henny Youngman joke (google him), “Take Eric Miller. Please. Take him.”

Miller–who makes a comfortable living pretending that bigotry is religion–has a new “Urgent Legislative Alert” that will be distributed Sunday to the network of far-right churches that support his salary (thinly disguised as membership dues to his organization, Advance America).

The “Urgent Alert” has a banner headline: “BMV Approves Pro-Homosexual License Plate!” In only slightly smaller font is “Help Protect Children-Revoke License Plate Now!” This is followed by the usual sanctimony, text piously bemoaning the harm to children that will be caused if the Indiana Youth Group receives the “seal of approval” that issuance of a license plate would imply.  What is truly disgusting is the assertion, which is repeated three times in the text of the flyer, that IYG “targets” children as young as twelve.

Well, yes indeed it does. It has to, thanks to people like Eric Miller.

IYG is an organization that only exists because people like Miller cause so much pain to so many young people who don’t have the wherewithal to fight back, or even understand what the fight is really about. It is an organization that opens its arms to young, vulnerable, hurting kids –too many of whom have been thrown out of their homes by parents who care less for their own flesh and blood than for the illusory security offered by a rigid, punitive, unChristian theology.

IYG “targets” these teenagers by providing them with acceptance, a healing  message and a safe place to figure things out. The message is simple: no matter what hateful people say,  you are a valuable human being who simply happens to love differently. Being different is neither right nor wrong–it’s just different. So don’t hurt yourself, don’t hate yourself, and please don’t kill yourself.

That’s the “pro-homosexual” message Eric Miller finds so offensive.

I could point out that what Miller wants the State to do is unconstitutional–he wants the State to deny IYG the equal protection of the laws–but I’m sure he knows that. He just doesn’t care–just as he doesn’t care if the children he is helping to hound and demean, the children he is targeting, end up physically or emotionally damaged or dead as a result of the attitudes he is promoting.

We certainly should lock up our twelve-year-olds–not to “protect” them from IYG, but to keep them away from heartless bigots like Eric Miller.

Those Hits Keep Coming….

Ummn…how much longer must we endure this “short” legislative session?

And why are Indiana lawmakers so spooked by gay people?

This week alone, we’ve heard how the Girl Scouts are “really” in the business of producing commie feminist lesbians. Yesterday (while even  Brian Bosma was roaming the Statehouse halls passing out Girl Scout cookies and trying to distance himself from that particular bit of crazy), the Roads and Transportation Committee acted to save Indiana motorists from the calamities that would undoubtedly follow should the Bureau of Motor Vehicles allow the Indiana Youth Group to–gasp!–have a specialty license plate. (IYG supports gay youth. Oh, the shame…)

Now, in all fairness, the issuance of specialty license plates has proliferated, and there undoubtedly need to be some standards and controls. But everyone present understood the real target of the measure that would disqualify groups that “advocate for violation of federal or state law, violation of generally accepted ethical standards or societal behavioral standards or fund individual political candidates.” Furthermore, our moral stewards–er, legislators–will henceforth decide whether groups violate those rules. Can’t leave such pressing issues to the bureaucrats at the BMV.

In an effort to cloak the new rule with a veneer of impartiality, the measure requires–as a condition of approval–a burdensome amount of financial information from the petitioning nonprofits, 500 signatures of Indiana residents, and evidence of a “statewide public benefit from the use of the money the group would receive from the sale of license plates.” And each plate would have to be sponsored by a lawmaker and individually approved.

Because our elected officials don’t have anything more important to do than ensure the moral purity and “public benefit” of messages on Indiana’s license plates.

As this morning’s Star noted, “The changes come in the wake of controversy over the granting of a license plate to the Indiana Youth Group, which supports gay youths. That issue, though, was never discussed Wednesday by the House Roads and Transportation Committee.”

In order to prevent the predictable calamity that would occur if license plates bearing the legend “Indiana Youth Group” were allowed to roam freely over Indiana highways, the committee eliminated plates for the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, IU Health, Indiana Soccer, the Zoo, the Marine Foundation and Ducks Unlimited. (Just as well. You can’t ever tell what those ducks might be up to…)

Bottom line to all this foolishness–the legislature wants to pick and choose which organizations’ messages the state will “endorse” by allowing them to sell specialty license plates. The Free Speech clause of that pesky First Amendment says that is exactly what government cannot do. It’s called “content neutrality”–meaning that government can’t allow some messages and disallow others.

If the legislature doesn’t want let IYG operate under the same rules as everybody else, there’s no need for this sort of elaborate kabuki theater.

Just get rid of the whole damn specialty license plate program.