Comprehensive or a big mess?
Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly voted for the “comprehensive immigration reform” bill that moved out of the U.S. Senate last week, saying it “provides undocumented immigrants a lengthy path to citizenship only after the border security measures are under way.” Republican Sen. Dan Coats voted against it, saying the bill “only requires the government to promise increased security measures,” not actually prove it has delivered them.
And so it goes. That same difference of opinion runs throughout the political landscape. Sometimes you can even hear it from the same person. Here is Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: Immigration reform is important for the Indiana agricultural community, but it needs to be achieved “in a way that confirms our commitment to border security and the rule of law.”
What goes online never goes away
We keep telling these kids today to be careful what they put online – cool it with the sexting and the silly videos of your tats and piercings and the obscene comments. What you put out there will be there forever, and one of these days it could come back to haunt you. They don’t listen, of course.
Maybe we can get them to take a lesson from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who can tell them a thing or two about things never going away.
Someone from the governor’s staff deleted hundreds of the comments, ostensibly because they contained “profane, inflammatory or uncivil comments” rather than mere criticisms. But it turns out that not all the deleted comments contained insults. We know this because somebody put up a Facebook page called pencership.com that posted them online.
New twist on gay marriage
Much has been written about the unanswered questions arising from the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied same-sex couples the federal benefits available to those in a heterosexual marriage. What about couples who married in a state such as New York where gay marriage is legal but live in a state such as Indiana where it is not? Do companies with operations in several states have to offer benefits in one jurisdiction but not another? When does the equal protection clause apply and when does it not?
Now there’s a new twist from right here in Indiana: How about divorce? A Hoosier man who married his same-sex partner in Massachusetts has filed a divorce petition here despite the state’s refusal to recognize such unions. Can or should the state grant his wish?
Celebrating our values
Never before in our history have so many Americans been so uncomfortable celebrating Independence Day. America, its detractors say, has been racist and sexist and oppressive, has not applied its noble goals to everyone, has not lived up to its high ideals. Why celebrate being “American”?
Never before in our history has there been such a need to celebrate Independence Day. We are drifting apart into warring tribes, picking at and inflaming the things that set us apart instead of celebrating the things we have in common. We are in danger of losing even the notion of a common culture.
America was founded on the most powerful set of ideas the world has ever known: People have “inalienable rights” just because they are human. Government exists primarily to guard those rights.
Line between church and state
It was 1989 when the Supreme Court decreed that a Nativity scene inside a government building violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and 1948 when it said religious instruction in a public school was a violation. To this day, we’re can’t decide exactly where to draw that line separating church from state.
We seem particularly confused in Indiana, as two cases illustrate.
At Ball State University, instructor Eric Hedin is accused of teaching a class that is religion disguised as science. Called “Boundaries of Science,” it explores the nature of the universe. In Evansville, some businesses have offered alternative spots for 30 life-sized crosses after a lawsuit was filed against the city’s plan to allow the display on public land along the Ohio River.