TIME States

What You Need to Know About Indiana’s Controversial Religious Objections Law

Mike Pence
Michael Conroy—AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, March 26, 2015.

A guide to the law, signed by Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday, that critics say allows discrimination against LGBT people

A controversial Indiana law signed by Gov. Mike Pence last week has brought nationwide scrutiny to the Midwestern state — but what’s it all about?

The so-called “religious objections” law has sparked high-profile allegations that it opens the door to legal discrimination against gay people. Meanwhile, Gov. Pence has stood by his position, arguing on Sunday that the law “is not about discrimination.” Here’s a guide to the law, and the controversy:

So what exactly is this law?

The legislation, officially termed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SEA 101), prohibits any state law that would “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. It was signed by Gov. Pence in a private ceremony on Thursday, as he explained, “to ensure religious liberty is fully protected under [Indiana] law.” Scheduled to take effect in July, the law boils down to the following clause (full text available here):

A [state] governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s [defined as an individual, business, religious institution or association] exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

While the law’s full text defines “substantially burden,” in practice the law remains vague and up to the courts’ interpretation. Gov. Pence has denied accusations that the law is discriminatory, though he has dodged questions concerning whether the law would permit such a scenario.

Why is it considered discriminatory?

Critics argue it would theoretically allow businesses such as hotels or restaurants to deny service to gay customers due to their moral or religious convictions. When a Colorado bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple and a New Mexico photographer refused to take photos of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony, state governments sided against the businesses. That has prompted some lawmakers, including in Indiana, to push for legal support for religious objections.

Others have warned that the bill could permit discrimination more broadly, on religious grounds. The Human Rights Campaign argued in a report last year that bills like that passed in Indiana could empower any individual to sue the government to attempt to end enforcement of a non-discrimination law:

The evangelical owner of a business providing a secular service can sue claiming that their personal faith empowers them to refuse to hire Jews, divorcees, or LGBT people. A landlord could claim the right to refuse to rent an apartment to a Muslim or a transgender person.

Who has criticized the bill?

A broad coalition of people from Democrats and liberal groups, to some high-profile businesses and organizations. The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, has expressed concern over Indiana’s law as it prepares to host the Final Four next week in the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement last week, “we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

Elsewhere, high-profile leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook and presumptive 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton have criticized the bill. The CEO of business-rating site Angie’s List withdrew an expansion project in Indiana in response to the law, while and CEO of cloud computing company Salesforce said all Indiana-based events and travel responsibilities would be cancelled.

Hollywood has chimed in, too, including social media posts from Miley Cyrus and Ashton Kutcher as the hashtag #boycottindiana gains steam on Twitter.

Do religious groups support Indiana’s law?

Most have been somewhat silent surrounding Gov. Pence’s decision, the Indianapolis Star reported Friday, after surveying several local institutions. Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter, for example, said the group supports for the law for its “to provide greater protections for pro-life businesses and ministries in Indiana.”

Still, others groups including the Indianapolis-based Christian Church and a bishop from the Indiana area United Methodist Church said they were hesitant to support the law, according to the Star. “Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry,” said Todd Adam, associate general minister of the Christian Church.

Is this the first state law of its kind?

No. Indiana—while the first to enact such as a law this year—is actually the 20th U.S. state to pass such a law, the Associated Press reported this weekend. And others have similar legislation on the books, including North Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas. The latter bill has already passed the State Senate and State House of Representatives, and received a nod of approval by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson this weekend, who said he plans to sign it.

These laws are modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed the House and Senate in 1993 before being signed by former Democratic president Bill Clinton. At that time, the RFRA was not understood to legalize discrimination against gay Americans—in fact, its origins lay in Oregon v. Smith (1990), in which two Native Americans who were fired after taking part in a religious ceremony. As a result, the RFRA established a balancing test to determine whether there was indeed a breach of religious liberty. Its definition of “substantially burden” is the same one used in Indiana’s law.

If a federal religious freedom law already exists, why do states need their own versions?

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal act was not applicable to state and local laws. Since then, states including Texas, Florida, Connecticut and Illinois have passed their own versions of the religious freedom restoration act.

But in passing these laws, UVA law professor Douglas Laycock told the Washington Post last year, most states did not have the issue of gay rights on their minds. “There were cases about Amish buggies, hunting moose for native Alaskan funeral rituals, an attempt to take a church building by eminent domain, landmark laws that prohibited churches from modifying their buildings—all sorts of diverse conflicts between religious practice and pervasive regulation.”

More recently, though, some states have introduced bills explicitly tackling the topic of marriage. In Oklahoma, for example, a proposed bill states that businesses aren’t required “to participate in any marriage ceremony, celebration, or other related activity or to provide items or services for such purposes against the person’s religious beliefs.”

What motivated the Indiana state legislature to pass the bill?

It was partly inspired by the landmark Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014), which used an interpretation of the federal RFRA to rule that businesses may refuse to pay for employee contraceptive coverage required by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act on religious grounds.

Republican Indiana State Sen. Scott Schneider, who introduced Indiana’s “religious objections” bill last December, said in a statement that the Hobby Lobby case motivated the bill: “In reviewing that court ruling, it became clear that Indiana’s laws were not reflective of federal law. This bill, which I plan to author this session, would match federal law in the state of Indiana.”

The legal case for the bill was also set out in an Indianapolis Star article by Indiana University law professor Daniel Conkle. In it, he wrote:

The bill would establish a general legal standard, the “compelling interest” test, for evaluating laws and governmental practices that impose substantial burdens on the exercise of religion.

Is it possible for the bill to be reversed?

Gov. Pence isn’t interested: “We’re not going to change this law,” Pence said on Sunday. However, the Indiana governor added that he welcomes a clarification bill, which is expected arrive later this week: “If the General Assembly … sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what it has been for the last 20 years, then I’m open to that.”

While Gov. Pence did not disclose what specific clarifications would be included, he told the Star that the legal protection of gay and lesbian Indiana residents is “not on my agenda.”

TIME LGBT

Hundreds Rally Against Indiana’s Religious Objections Law

Protesters
Doug McSchooler—AP Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation, March 28, 2015.

"No hate in our state"

(INDIANAPOLIS)—Hundreds of people gathered outside of the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, some carrying “no hate in our state” signs, to rally against a new law that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people.

The law’s supporters, however, contend the discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds.

Since Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law Thursday, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the country, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana. Local officials and business groups around the state hope to stem the fallout, though consumer review service Angie’s List said Saturday that it is suspending a planned expansion in Indianapolis because of the new law.

The measure, which takes effect in July, prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations. It will take effect in July.

Saturday’s crowd, for which police didn’t have an exact estimate, stretched across the south steps and lawn of the Statehouse building. At one point, they chanted “Pence must go,” and many held signs like “I’m pretty sure God doesn’t hate anyone” and “No hate in our state.”

Zach Adamson, a Democrat on Indianapolis’ City-County Council, said to cheers that the law has nothing to do with religious freedom but everything to do with discrimination.

“This isn’t 1950 Alabama, it’s 2015 Indiana,” he told those in attendance, adding that the law has brought embarrassment on the state.

He and other speakers urged people to register to vote, and said only way to stop laws like this is to elect new members of the Indiana General Assembly.

Supporters of the law maintain that in courts haven’t allowed discrimination to happen under similar laws covering the federal government and in 19 other states.

But some national gay-rights groups say lawmakers in Indiana and about a dozen other states that have proposed such bills this year are essentially granting a state-sanctioned waiver for discrimination as the nation’s highest court prepares to mull the gay marriage question.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican who opposed the law, said he and other city officials would be talking to many businesses and convention planners to counter the uproar the law has caused. “I’m more concerned about making sure that everyone knows they can come in here and feel welcome,” Ballard said.

The Indianapolis-based NCAA has expressed concerns about the law and has suggested it could move future events elsewhere; the men’s Final Four will be held in the city next weekend.

Angie’s List had sought an $18.5 million incentive package from Indianapolis’ City-County Council to add 1,000 jobs over five years. But founder and CEO Bill Oseterle said in a statement Saturday that the expansion was on hold “until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees.”

Around the state, stickers touting “This business serves everyone” have been appearing in many businesses’ windows, and groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce have taken to social media with messages that the state is full of welcoming businesses. Democratic South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg touted on Twitter his city’s civil rights ordinance’s protections for gays and lesbians, while Republican Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke wrote that the law “sends the wrong message about Indiana.”

Indianapolis’ tourism and convention business is estimated to have a $4.4 billion annual economic impact with some 75,000 jobs. Chris Gahl, a vice president with tourism agency Visit Indy, said: “We know that their ability to work is largely dependent on our ability to score convention business and draw in events and visitors.”

TIME States

12 Reasons Not to #BoycottIndiana

Covered bridge
Getty Images I mean, look at that covered bridge.

Josh Sanburn is a Nation writer for TIME covering crime, demographics and society.

There's more to the state than one terrible law

Indiana has elicited some serious hate thanks to the so-called religious freedom bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Pence that allows businesses to deny service to same-sex couples. The hashtag #boycottindiana has been making the rounds on Twitter and been promoted by the likes of Star Trek’s George Takei, who asked his 1.6 million followers to boycott the heart of the Midwest.

On behalf of my home state, I would like to offer a defense. Not of the religious freedom bill, which I would never defend. But of the state itself, one with fine folks, fine sporting traditions and, well, a delicious pork tenderloin.

  1. Indiana is basketball’s beating heart. Basketball is everywhere. The red barns with battered hoops. The city playgrounds with rims so overused its nets have long since parted. If it wasn’t for actual religion, the sport would be the state’s true faith. Indiana is home to two of the historically great basketball programs: 5-time national champions Indiana University (Let’s overlook the last decade or so. Please.); and perennial underdog Butler, which made it to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and 2011. Butler also plays in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, the site of one of the great underdog stories in all of sports: the 1954 Milan team, a tiny school that won the state championship in Hinkle and inspired the movie Hoosiers.
  2. Corn. Listen: There’s a lot of it, and it’s delicious.
  3. The breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. It’s perhaps the only true fare that Indiana can claim. You take a pork tenderloin, you smash until it’s practically paper thin, and then you fry it up. Also, delicious.
  4. Hoosier Hospitality. Knock on anyone’s door and it’s mandated by law that they give you shelter for the night. People in Indiana are that nice. Try it. Tell them Josh sent you.
  5. Gary. Wait, no, not Gary. Sorry. Moving on.
  6. The Jackson 5. Their formative years were spent in the state before making it big and before Michael Jackson completely transformed pop music. Come to think of it, they’re from Gary.
  7. Gary. Sorry, no. Still not Gary.
  8. The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The Indianapolis 500 is still one of the most incredible sporting events to see live. The 2.5-mile track is like the Grand Canyon of sports. Although I still don’t understand why the winner drinks milk at the end. Which reminds me:
  9. Rolling farmland. Parts of the state (particularly southern Indiana where I’m from, but I’m biased) are truly beautiful with gently rolling hills, wooden barns and silos in the distance. The appeal is in the subtlety.
  10. Johnny Appleseed. Are you eating an apple right now? Thank Johnny Appleseed, who spent much of his time in the state. He probably planted the tree that grew that apple. Or at least that’s what Mrs. Newman in fourth grade told me.
  11. Lincoln’s Boyhood Home. Our greatest president spent his youth in southern Indiana and thank God, because then we would’ve only been able to claim Benjamin Harrison and his grandfather, who was president for a month before he died of pneumonia. Just grab a coat, William Henry!
  12. It’s not Kentucky. Because, seriously, who would want to be from that state?

MORE: Indiana Governor Defends Signing of Religious-Objections Bill

 

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Infectious Disease

How an HIV Outbreak Hit the Heartland

TIME.com stock photos Health Syringe Needle
Elizabeth Renstrom—TIME

Drug abuse combined with a spotty public health system are to blame for Indiana's public health emergency

Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday declared a public health emergency in a rural Indiana county after 79 cases of HIV were confirmed there in the last several months.

An outbreak of HIV may seem odd in such a remote part of the country. The dozens of confirmed cases, described as an epidemic, are centered in Scott County, about a half-hour north of Louisville with a population of about 25,000.

But the spike has been fueled by growing heroin and drug use in rural counties like this one. A number of Midwestern states have struggled with a recent uptick in drug and needle use, and Indiana specifically has seen an increase in the use of a powerful painkiller called Opana, which can be altered and injected. The number of deaths related to opioids like Opana rose from 200 a year in 2002 to 700 in 2012, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

In this area of the state, there’s relatively weak public health infrastructure to prevent the infection from spreading. Scott County is just one of five counties serviced by a single HIV testing clinic, and the county’s relative isolation from a sufficient public health system can help explain the virus’s rapid growth, says Beth Meyerson, an Indiana University health professor and co-director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention.

“The system isn’t working and isn’t strong enough from a public health perspective,” Meyerson says.

In a 2013 study by the non-partisan organization Trust for America’s Health, Indiana ranked last in federal funding per capita from the Centers for Disease Control. The national average spent per capita was $19.54. In Indiana, $13.72 was spent on each Hoosier.

Indiana has also seen an increase in Hepatitis C in many rural communities, says Meyerson, another warning sign that HIV may be spreading. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 25% of people who have HIV in the U.S. are co-infected with Hepatitis C.

On Thursday, state authorities stepped in. Gov. Pence allowed local officials to start a 30-day needle-exchange program in Scott County as a way to stop the outbreak. “I do not enter this lightly,” Pence said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “In response to a public health emergency, I’m prepared to make an exception to my long-standing opposition to needle exchange programs.”

MORE: This Contraceptive is Linked to a Higher Risk of HIV

While dozens of cases have been reported, it’s likely that there are many more still unconfirmed. “I don’t expect these counties will remain the center of the epidemic,” Meyerson says. “I’m sure it’s going to be in other parts of southern Indiana, wherever our system is the weakest. We don’t know what we don’t know right now.”

TIME HIV/AIDS

HIV Triggers a Public Health Emergency in Indiana

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence responds to a question during a news conference, March 25, 2015, in Scottsburg, Ind.
Darron Cummings—AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence responds to a question during a news conference, March 25, 2015, in Scottsburg, Ind.

Intravenous drug use identified as the source of infections

Gov. Mike Pence declared a public health emergency Thursday in south Indiana’s Scott County, which has seen a large HIV flare-up from intravenous drug use.

At least 79 HIV confirmed cases have been tied to the southern Indiana country since January, up from fewer than five new cases in a typical year, and the state expects that figure to rise as officials scramble to alert up to 100 people linked to those newly infected. Intravenous drug use has been named as the primary infection source in every confirmed case.

“This is all-hands-on-deck. This is a very serious situation,” Pence said at a news conference on Thursday.

The emergency order will set up a command center to coordinate HIV and substance abuse treatment. Pence also authorized a temporary needle-exchange program, on recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after the governor had previously said he opposed the practice.

“Scott County is facing an epidemic of HIV, but this is not a Scott County problem; this is an Indiana problem,” the Governor said in a statement. “ I am confident that together we will stop this HIV outbreak in its tracks.”

Read next: This Map Shows the Deadliest Counties in the U.S.

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME States

Indiana’s Controversial Religious Freedom Bill Set to Become Law

Religious Freedom
Robert Scheer—AP Community members on both sides of the issue stand outside of the Indiana House chamber during a meeting of an Indiana House committee to discuss the merits of Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Bill, at the state Capitol in Indianapolis, March 16, 2015.

The state's House passed it 63-31 on Monday

A controversial religious freedom bill in Indiana that critics say could legalize discrimination against LGBT people is on track to become a law after the state’s House approved it 63-31 on Monday.

The bill would prohibit local government from “substantially burdening” a person’s free expression of religion with few exemptions, the Indianapolis Star reports. Opponents of the bill say it could give business owners a free pass to refuse service to customers in same-sex relationships. Supporters, however, say it protects citizens from government intrusion on their beliefs.

The bill is based on the decades-old federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act law, which played a major part in the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that allowed companies to opt out of a requirement to cover contraceptives to female employees under the Affordable Care Act for religious reasons.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has voiced his support for the bill, which was approved in a different form by the Indiana Senate in February. Some 19 other states have similar laws in place.

[Indianapolis Star]

TIME

Here’s Who Wins March Madness in the Classroom

A complete ranking of the NCAA basketball tournament field by academic success and graduation rates instead of wins and losses

Davidson’s men’s basketball team has won accolades this year for defying expectations on the court, finishing in first place in their inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 after being picked 12th, out of 14 teams, in the preseason poll. The Wildcats run an efficient, aesthetically pleasing offense, a welcome contrast to an otherwise rough college basketball season, where scoring was near all-time lows.

Basketball success is not new to the 1,850 student liberal arts college in North Carolina: Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is a former Wildcat. Nor is academic achievement: Woodrow Wilson is another prominent alum. Now, the two have come together: Davidson is the academic champion of the 2015 NCAA tournament.

According to new rankings generated by the New America, a non-partisan Washington, D.C. think tank, for all 68 teams in the tournament–and shared exclusively with TIME — Davidson cuts down the proverbial nets. Here’s how: we matched teams up in the classroom, using the tournament brackets to determine the games. If the on-court bracket results mimicked academic performance, the Final Four would look like this: Davidson wins the South, Maryland comes out of the Midwest, Baylor takes the West and Dayton wins the East. Davidson knocks off Baylor in one national semifinal. Maryland knocks off Dayton in the other semi, with Davidson taking the title game.

The full bracket is below.

 

The formula for New America’s March Madness mimics that of its College Football Playoff rankings released in December (TCU won that title). The base measure is a school’s most recent men’s basketball “Graduation Success Rate,” a figure measured by the NCAA that doesn’t dock schools for having players who transfer or go pro before graduating–as long as those players leave in good academic standing. The higher the school’s graduation success rate, the higher they start out in New America’s rankings. New America, however, did subtract points from schools that graduate men’s basketball players at a much different rate than the overall men’s graduation rate at the school. To compare students to athletes, New America used federal graduation rates, which take a cohort of students from 2004-2007, and measured if they graduated within six years. Even if a school graduated basketball players at higher rates than the overall male student population, the difference was counted as a penalty against schools that have low overall male graduation rates.

One important note: Harvard, the Ivy League champion, was excluded from the rankings because the Ivy League does not report federal graduation rates for athletes. So the University of North Carolina, Harvard’s first round opponent, moves on. Harvard was one of 13 schools, including Davidson, Maryland, Notre Dame, Butler and Dayton, that reported a perfect graduation success rate for basketball players.

Indiana was the easiest out, finishing last in New America’s rankings. Hoosier basketball players graduated at an 8% federal rate, according to the most recent numbers, fare below the overall male student graduation rate of 72%. That discrepancy killed their score. Indiana basketball spokesman J.D. Campbell points out that current coach Tom Crean was hired in April 2008, after the 2004-2007 cohort captured by the federal rate enrolled in the school. Indiana’s men’s basketball team does have a perfect Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA metric that measures the academic eligibility of current players, and Campbell says that every Crean recruit that hasn’t transferred or left early for the NBA has graduated (one of Indiana’s three early entries to the NBA, Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic, graduated in three years).

To see how the whole field stacks up, check out these rankings.

Read next: The Simple Free Hack to Watch NCAA March Madness Without a Cable Bill

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Rememberance

Former Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh Dies at 97

FILE - The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in this Sept. 24, 2007 file photo
Joe Raymond—AP Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 24, 2007

A champion of human rights, Hesburgh transformed Notre Dame into a premier academic institution

(South Bend, Ind.) — The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as football and who championed human rights around the globe, has died. He was 97.

University spokesman Paul Browne told The Associated Press that Hesburgh died on the South Bend, Indiana, campus around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, he said.

“We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,” said the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s current president. “With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.”

Hesburgh spent 35 years at the Notre Dame helm, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s top Catholic educators. But the man known simply as Father Ted to the thousands who attended the school while he was president from 1952 to 1987 was perhaps even more recognized for his work around the world on issues such as civil rights, immigration, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and Third World development.

That work often took him far from campus — including Washington, Moscow and El Salvador — as he advised popes and presidents, at times challenging their policies. His aim was constant: Better people’s lives.

“I go back to an old Latin motto, opus justitiae pax: Peace is the work of justice,” Hesburgh said in a 2001 interview. “We’ve known 20 percent of the people in the world have 80 percent of the goodies, which means the other 80 percent have to scrape by on 20 percent.”

Hesburgh, who grew up in Syracuse, New York, was a charming and personable man who found as much ease meeting with heads of state as he did with students. His goal after coming out of seminary was to be a Navy chaplain during World War II, but he instead was sent to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to pursue a doctorate, which he received in 1945. He joined the Notre Dame faculty that same year.

His star rose quickly. Hesburgh was named head of the Department of Theology in 1948 and became the university’s executive vice president a year later. He took over as president in 1952 at age 35.

His passion for civil rights earned him a spot as a founding member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1957 and found him joining hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1964 civil rights rally in Chicago, singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Hesburgh was a man who wasn’t afraid to challenge authority. As Notre Dame’s executive vice president in 1949, he took on powerful football coach Frank Leahy while reorganizing the athletic department. When the Vatican demanded conformity to church dogma, Hesburgh insisted that Notre Dame remain an intellectual center for theological debate. He also famously challenged the civil rights record of President Richard Nixon, who fired him from the Civil Rights Commission in 1972.

“I said, ‘I ended this job the way that I began 15 years ago — fired with enthusiasm,'” Hesburgh said in 2007.

Hesburgh’s relationship with other presidents was smoother. He received the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and later served on President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board, charged with deciding the fate of various Vietnam offenders. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton hailed Hesburgh as “a servant and a child of God, a genuine American patriot and a citizen of the world” as he bestowed upon him the government’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Hesburgh wrote several books, including one, “God, Country, Notre Dame,” that became a best-seller. Throughout his writings, he shared his vision of the contemporary Catholic university.

“The Catholic university should be a place,” he wrote, “where all the great questions are asked, where an exciting conversation is continually in progress, where the mind constantly grows as the values and powers of intelligence and wisdom are cherished and exercised in full freedom.”

In keeping with that philosophy, Notre Dame underwent profound changes under Hesburgh. Control of the school shifted in 1967 from the Congregation of the Holy Cross priests who founded the school to a lay board. The school ended a 40-year absence in football post-season bowl games and used the proceeds from the 1970 Cotton Bowl to fund minority scholarships. In 1972, Notre Dame admitted its first undergraduate women. Hesburgh called it one of his proudest accomplishments.

Hesburgh’s ambitions helped mold the university. The school was rather undistinguished academically when he became president. It had 4,979 students, 389 faculty and an annual operating budget of $9.7 million. When he retired in 1987, Notre Dame had 9,600 students, 950 faculty and an operating budget of $176.6 million. The school’s endowment grew from $9 million to $350 million during his presidency. When he retired, the school was rated among the nation’s most prestigious.

“I’m sure I get credit for a lot of things that I’m part of but not necessarily the whole of,” he said. “We began a great university and those who followed continued the motion forward.”

Hesburgh’s work earned him the cover of Time magazine in a 1962 article that described him as the most influential figure in the reshaping of Catholic education. He was granted 150 honorary degrees during his lifetime.

Despite the accolades, Hesburgh drew his share of criticism. Some said he spent too much time away from campus pursuing other issues. Others objected to the “15-minute rule” he implemented after students protesting the Vietnam War clashed with police on campus. Under the policy, students who disrupted the university’s normal operations would be given 15 minutes of meditation to cease and desist or would be expelled from school.

As a young priest, Hesburgh’s students included Jose Napoleon Duarte, whose 1984 election as El Salvador’s president set that country on a path to democracy after years of civil war. Hesburgh’s decision to have Duarte give Notre Dame’s 1985 commencement address was met by protests blaming Duarte and the Reagan administration for continued political killings and poverty in the Central American nation. Hesburgh wrote that the presentation of an honorary degree to Duarte didn’t mean the university has to agree with all he was doing.

Hesburgh also supported the university’s decision in 2009 to invite President Barack Obama to speak at commencement. At least 70 bishops opposed Obama’s appearance and Notre Dame’s decision to award him an honorary degree because of the president’s support of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research. Hesburgh said universities are supposed to be places where people of differing opinions can talk.

Through it all, he stayed true to what he called his basic principle: “You don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”

Hesburgh remained active at Notre Dame in his retirement, lecturing occasionally, presiding over residence hall Masses and helping develop the school’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Most of all, though, he was a priest. He said Mass daily throughout his life.

“I’ve said Mass in airplanes at 50,000 feet. I’ve said Mass in the South Pole. I’ve said Mass in jungles all over the world. I’ve said Mass in African huts. I’ve said Mass in cathedrals. Wherever I am, I’ve been able to do it for over 60 years every day and only miss a couple of times in all those years,” Hesburgh said.

Jenkins, the current president, said Hesburgh’s greatest influence may have been on the generations of Notre Dame students he taught, counseled and befriended.

“Although saddened by his loss, I cherish the memory of a mentor, friend and brother in Holy Cross and am consoled that he is now at peace with the God he served so well,” Jenkins said.

The university said that a customary Holy Cross funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus at a time to be announced. The university also said a tribute to Hesburgh will be held at the Joyce Center.

TIME Indiana

Indiana May Allow ‘Baby Boxes’ for Surrendering Newborns

A prototype of a baby box, is shown outside the fire station in Woodburn, Ind., Feb. 26, 2015
Michael Conroy—AP A prototype of a baby box, is shown outside the fire station in Woodburn, Ind., Feb. 26, 2015

A baby box could show up soon to give mothers a way to surrender their children safely

(INDIANAPOLIS) — On the outside, the metal box looks like an oversized bread container. But what’s inside could save an abandoned newborn’s life.

The box is actually a newborn incubator, or baby box, and it could be showing up soon at Indiana hospitals, fire stations, churches and selected nonprofits under legislation that would give mothers in crisis a way to surrender their children safely and anonymously.

Indiana could be the first state to allow use of the baby boxes on a broad scale to prevent dangerous abandonments of infants if the bill, which unanimously passed the House this week, clears the state Senate. Republican state Rep. Casey Cox and child-safety advocates say they’re unaware of any other states that have considered the issue at the level Indiana has.

Cox says his bill is a natural progression of the “safe haven” laws that exist in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Those give parents a legal way to surrender newborns at hospitals, police stations and other facilities without fear of prosecution so long as the child hasn’t been harmed.

Many children, however, never make it that far. Dawn Geras, president of the Save the Abandoned Babies Foundation in Chicago, said safe haven laws have resulted in more than 2,800 safe surrenders since 1999. But more than 1,400 other children have been found illegally abandoned, nearly two-thirds of whom died.

Cox said his proposal draws on a centuries-old concept to help “those children that are left in the woods, those children that are abandoned in dangerous places.”

Baby boxes, known in some countries as baby hatches or angel cradles, originated in medieval times, when convents were equipped with revolving doors known as “foundling wheels.” Unwanted infants were placed in compartments in the doors, which were then rotated to get the infant inside.

Hundreds of children have been surrendered in modern-day versions in place in Europe and Asia. The devices are even the subject of a new documentary titled “The Drop Box,” which chronicles the efforts of a pastor in Seoul, South Korea, to address child abandonment.

Supporters contend the boxes can save lives by offering women who can’t face relinquishing a child in person a safe and anonymous alternative to abandonment or infanticide.

But critics say the boxes make it easier to abandon a child without exploring other options and contend they do nothing to address poverty and other societal issues that contribute to unwanted babies. Some baby hatches in China have been so overwhelmed by abandonments in recent years that local officials have restricted their use or closed them.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for a ban on the boxes in Europe and has urged countries to provide family planning and other support to address the root causes of abandonments, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell.

Whether the U.S. is ready for the boxes is a matter of debate. Geras said many parents who surrender their children at safe haven sites need medical care that they won’t get if they leave the baby in a box. Handing the child to a trained professional also provides an opportunity to determine whether the mother simply needs financial support or other help to develop a parenting plan.

“If you use a baby box, you have stripped away that option,” Geras said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be done to improve safe haven laws throughout the country, but that’s not one of them.”

A better approach, she said, is for states to spend more money to promote their existing laws.

Monica Kelsey, a Woodburn, Indiana, firefighter and medic who is president of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., said the boxes aren’t meant to circumvent the laws that already exist. Instead, they’re part of a broader approach that includes increasing awareness about the laws and other options available to new mothers in crisis.

“If these boxes are the answer, great,” she said. “We’re trying to come at it from all angles.”

Kelsey, who was abandoned in a hospital shortly after her birth because her mother’s pregnancy was the result of rape, suggested the boxes to Cox and has formed a nonprofit that is working with a Fort Wayne, Indiana, company to develop a prototype. It would be about 2 feet long and be equipped with heating or cooling pads and sensors that would set off alarms when the box is opened and again when a weight is detected inside.

The boxes also would include a silent alarm that mothers could activate themselves by pushing a button.

“We’re giving her the power to do what’s right,” Kelsey said. “We’re hoping that these girls know that once they push that button, their baby will be saved.”

She stressed that the boxes should be viewed as a “last resort” and would include a toll-free number staffed 24 hours a day by a counselor who would first ask the caller to surrender the baby to a person.

The state health department would regulate the boxes. Cox’s bill, which covers children up to 31 days old, also would create a public registry listing box locations.

Kelsey said the bill expands safe haven locations to include churches and established nonprofits that deal with child-welfare issues to ensure that everyone has access.

“We want these locations to be able to accept a child if somebody … thinks this is the only thing they can do,” she said.

TIME Crime

Why These Indiana Teenagers Were Convicted of Murder Without Killing Anyone

The so-called 'Elkhart Four' were convicted under a little-used 'felony murder' law

The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday whether to hear a case involving three unarmed teenagers who were convicted of murder despite the fact that none of them actually killed anyone.

On Oct. 3, 2012, then-16-year-old Blake Layman broke into a neighbor’s house along with three other teenagers and 21-year-old Danzele Johnson. All of them believed the home was empty, but once inside, the homeowner, Rodney Scott, heard the teens and fired on them with a handgun, fatally hitting Johnson.

MORE: States Use Secret Psychological Tests to Predict Future Crimes

Layman and three other teens—now known as the Elkhart Four—were unarmed at the time, and it was the homeowner who in fact shot Johnson. But the would-be burglars were the ones charged with “felony murder,” which can be found in most states but is rarely used, and allows for murder charges for individuals who commit a felony that leads to a death. Three were convicted after trial, while one pled guilty to the charges.

The Indiana Supreme Court is now considering taking up the case. Last year, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the teenagers’ convictions but said that the sentences applied were too severe.

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