By Brian Howey
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Nov 02, 2012, 04:53 PM EDT
For evangelical Republicans, the apex of political power and influence is within their grasp.
The likely ascension of "Gov. Mike Pence" will deliver them from the economic dominance of the Grand Old Party, giving the "true believers" not only the most socially conservative governor in modern Indiana history, but potentially presiding over super majorities in both houses of the Indiana General Assembly, where House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long provide not only lengthy tenures, but impeccable pro-life credentials.
This evangelical move into unprecedented political power comes as church attendance and affiliation is dropping in Indiana as well as the United States. A report issued in May by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies revealed that church membership is down 5 percent in Indiana over the past decade, 9 percent in conservative Northeastern Indiana, and 2 percent nationally.
There have been pro-life governors in modern Indiana politics. Democrats Evan Bayh and Frank O'Bannon possessed such credentials, though they were not activist about it. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law not only the defunding of Planned Parenthood, but also other abortion restrictions despite his vow to maintain a "truce of social issues." Daniels did not initiate such legislation, but once it arrived on his desk he willingly signed.
Thus the stars align with Pence, Long and Bosma in ways they never have before in modern Hoosier governance. From the administration of Republican Gov. Robert Orr (who was personally pro-choice and both he and First Lady Josie Orr were members of Planned Parenthood), through the first two years of Daniels, there were pro-choice Republican legislative leaders in former Speaker Paul Mannweiler, Senate President Pro Tempore Robert D. Garton and Senate Finance Chairman Larry Borst. At one point, the pro-life roles were flipped in the House with pro-choice Mannweiler leading the GOP while pro-life John Gregg led the Democrats.
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