In recent days I’ve been asked to give my opinion about what’s been going on in our state. Do I agree or disagree with the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act? What am I going to say, or do, about it? Am I going to cancel any of my upcoming Indiana shows? As many of the Star’s readers know, I have lived in Indiana since the day I was born, and I know firsthand that our state is populated with a great diversity of people who hold varying religious and political beliefs. The people in our neighborhoods are also racially diverse, live in different types of family units and also span a broad spectrum of sexual and gender identities. Indiana is now, in many ways, the American Melting Pot we all learned about in school. We are more than just tolerant, most of the time. We are welcoming.
So it is with a very heavy heart that I’ve watched the divisiveness that has occurred over our state government’s actions. I am not questioning the sincerity of those who believe they have acted in the interests of religious freedom, but I am resolutely stating my opposition to this misnamed and ill-conceived law. It is discriminatory, hurtful, and a stain on Indiana’s national reputation. I understand Governor Pence and the state legislature are working on some changes to the law’s language, and I can only hope that they will do the right thing for the people of our state.
I have thought seriously about canceling my upcoming shows, not wanting the resulting tax revenues from ticket sales, concessions and the like to help fill the same government coffers that would enforce this terrible law. But then I realized that I would be letting our government divide us again, keeping me apart from my most important audience: My Indiana fans who have been there for me from the very beginning. Our evenings together will be about music, and hopefully this situation will be made right by the time I see you in May.
My best to you all,
— Rock icon John Mellencamp, who was born and still resides in Indiana, in a note posted to his official website about the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by Gov. Mike Pence