The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently signed into law by Governor Pence has stirred controversy all across the country - with corporations and politicians from other states getting involved. And the problem with it is that the entire argument against the law is based on lies, hatred and intolerance - from the people who are protesting it.
Yesterday, Josh Earnest,
Propaganda Press Secretary for Obama, said that the Indiana law is nothing like the federal law. Yet on TV last night Michael Farris, constitutional attorney and former Bill Clinton staffer, who helped write the RFRA back in 1993, said there is absolutely no difference between the two laws.
Mr. Farris said the outrage from the left and the LGBT community about the law is based on lies. The law is about protecting religious rights and protecting people who exercise those rights.
The Hobby Lobby case last year should have made this a non-issue. The Supreme Court said a Christian based business could not be forced to do something that went against the business' Christian beliefs. Several state courts refused to abide by the Supreme Court decision by ruling against Christian businesses that refused to provide a product or service for a same-sex wedding, based on their Christian beliefs. (At least one state court sided with the business owners.)
This law does not allow for discrimination. It allows for legal disagreement based on one's Christian values and beliefs. It has been badly misconstrued by the left-wing media and by LGBT activists to the point where even major corporations are (hypocritically in some cases) boycotting Indiana.
Apple Inc. CEO, Tim Cook, made a few statements criticizing the Indiana law saying that Apple strives to do business with anyone regardless of how they live or who they love. That's certainly true in Iran and Saudi Arabia, where Apple does business even though both countries do not allow homosexuality and execute those who practice it. You won't see him criticize or denounce them. But that's because Islam is off limits and Saudi Arabia and Iran bring probably bring in far more money than the state of Indiana. Hypocrisy, thy name is Cook.
Angie's List.com has announced they will no longer be building a headquarters building in Indiana because of the new law. Even the redneck organization of NASCAR denounced the Indiana law today. They all cite intolerance and discrimination yet I have found no one who can actually tell me where it is in the law.
I was asked by an acquaintance just this morning "You don't see that this law can actually allow a business to discriminate?"
I responded "No. Explain it to me."
He made the excuse that he knows I really did know but just didn't want to say. When I challenged him to explain why he believes the law is discriminatory he disappeared.
Here's a simple question that accurately describes how the law is supposed to work. Dissenters will say "It's not the same thing," but it really is. It's about religious beliefs and not being forced to go against them.
Would a Muslim deli ever be forced by the court to make and sell a ham sandwich to someone just because he/she demands it? Of course they wouldn't. The eating or handling of pork is prohibited by the Quran.
So is a lifestyle different somehow? Should a Christian baker who believes the Bible prohibits same-sex marriage be forced by a court to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding? Is there a double standard when it comes to deeply held religious beliefs - that one group can say no to practices they find objectionable and another group (Christians only, it seems) cannot? (I don't think the court would force a Jewish deli to make a ham sandwich either.)
I can't change anyone's opinion who has made up their mind what the truth is based on what they hear from the media. I would challenge people to read the law and understand what it says before deciding it's discriminatory. I would also say that tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. Don't ask someone to accept and tolerate your beliefs if you refuse to accept and tolerate theirs - even if they disagree with you. It's really that simple.
Disagreement is not hatred. It's not bigotry. It's disagreement. And it's a part of real life. Deal with it.