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Take Me to Church: Gene Mills' Legislative Influence

Sue Lincoln

“Every religious expression in America today is under assault.”

So said Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills when testifying on behalf of the “Marriage and Conscience Act” during the recent legislative session. One of the most influential lobbyists in Louisiana, Mills and LFF were the driving force behind the Louisiana Science Education Act in 2008, school vouchers in 2012, and every abortion restriction enacted by this state over the past decade.

Mills is proud of this activism, as he stated in the Louisiana Family Forum’s 2014 legislative wrap-up video.

“This year we had unprecedented success. LFF blocked bad bills, advanced good ones, and amended dozens of others to remove their threats,” Mills tells LFF members. He also brags about defeating a bill that would have permitted third-party surrogacy, when the measure’s author would only agree to 9 out of 10 of LFF’s “non-negotiable demands”.

“When LFF says it’s non-negotiable, well, it’s not negotiable.”

The Louisiana Family Forum’s mission is “to persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence, on issues affecting the family”. I asked Mills how that synchronizes with the wall of separation of church and state.

“In the original sense of the separation of church and state, the government has very little business – if any at all –with the affairs of the church,” Mills stated. “That wall was designed to prevent the government from intruding on faith and family institutions.”

On the other hand, he says church influence on government is completely acceptable.

“It’s perfectly constitutional, and we think it’s healthy,” he said.

Or, as Mills put it in the 2014 legislative wrap-up video: “Louisiana law and policy are simply too important to leave to the politicians.”

Even if those politicians are duly elected, by a majority of the people.