Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), who gained national notoriety by demanding people of faith must be able to follow the dictates of their conscience, recently urged the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Indiana to stop
following the dictates of its conscience. It turns out, that didn't go well.
The Republican governor met with church officials last week, made his case against the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in Indiana, and asked the Archdiocese not to assist a struggling family fleeing violence. The local Archbishop listened to Pence's concerns, before deciding to ignore him
Catholic Charities moved forward with its plans to settle Syrian refugees in the state on Monday, despite calls from Gov. Mike Pence (R) to keep refugees from Syria out of the state, the Indianapolis Star reported. Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin announced in a Tuesday statement that the family arrived in Indianapolis on Monday night.
Note, the Syrian family in question has already undergone two years of screening and security checks, and also already has family members living in Indianapolis. Pence not only hoped to block the family, he also hoped the Catholic Church would follow his lead.
Looking ahead, the Republican governor could intensify his efforts, but the Indianapolis Star reports
that Pence appears to be retreating.
Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday he will not block a Syrian refugee family from receiving state aid such as food stamps and health care, even as he continues to oppose its relocation to Indiana. [...] Now that the Syrian family is here, Pence could have directed state agencies to deny the family food stamps and health care, but it would have been a path almost certain to draw legal challenges given such benefits are offered to people from other countries. On that issue, Pence said: "I have no intention of interfering with the ordinary administration of state government relative to people who are legally within the state of Indiana."
The governor, incidentally, is up for re-election next year. Some polling
from earlier this year suggests the race could be competitive, despite the Republican Party's traditional dominance in Indiana.