I have really wrestled with a topic for this column.

I don't want to be a downer, constantly harping on why things aren't the way that they should be. That's a lousy attitude to have, especially when surrounded by a loving, caring family in a loving, caring community.

But this business about SB 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, really bothers me. Of course there are people who feel that this law is the right thing to do. But I have yet to speak to any of them in person, much less be convinced of the merit of their arguments. This law is silly and harmful and an affront to the kind and loving spirit of this community and Indiana in general.

I love Indiana and the Midwest. I have several T-shirts proclaiming my hometown/state/region pride, and for good reason. Midwesterners are known as hardworking, kind, generous people.

Generally, we are.

We are innovators in agriculture, manufacturing, and technology. We value education and community. We look out for one another, here in Hope more than anywhere else that I've ever been.

Hope is a small town, and certainly provincial in some ways. Hope is traditional, we love our historic town, and legitimate threats to our community are taken very seriously. But nobody that I've ever spoken to in Hope feels persecuted or unable to express their beliefs. I sincerely believe that Hope is a welcoming town and a far more understanding town that the statehouse gives us credit for.

Of course there are people both living and also visiting here who identify with the LGBT community as well. It's never occurred to me that they might be denied service over their gender or sexual identities. I just can't comprehend of any of our business or community leaders even thinking in those terms.

So I don't worry about that kind of discrimination happening here. Rather, I worry that state government would give the impression to others that we would treat them with less than kindness and hospitality. I don't want them to think that about us. That's not who we are.

If I felt as though Hope was a narrow-minded, mean place bent on excluding others, I would not have chosen to live here. I don't associate with people or places like that, I find that worldview abhorrent. If I felt that, I wouldn't have asked to be transferred to the Hope Library in 2007. I wouldn't have immersed myself in this town and its people. And I love it here and I am so happy to raise my family in this community.

In labeling us as something that we're not, the statehouse has failed to represent us.