Never has there been such a display of intolerance as what is happening in Indiana. Never has there been such an attempt to single out and punish a group of people for simply being who they are. I am NOT talking about supposed-discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bi, transgender (LGBT) community. I am talking about real discrimination against Christians by pro-LGBT people. The true discrimination is happening against people of faith, the exact opposite of what is being portrayed by opponents of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The state of Connecticut and the cities of San Francisco and Seattle have already imposed bans on city-funded travel to the state. Many CEOs, including Tim Cook of Apple, have come out against the law. Former NBA star Charles Barkley who has been providing commentary for the NCAA basketball tournament asked for the Final Four to be moved to another state.
RFRAs stated purposes are nothing more than protection of the religious freedom available to all Americans in the Constitution that guarantees us free exercise of religion. This law is in response to growing numbers of attempts in the United States to punish people for their beliefs and/or force them to act in a way opposed to those beliefs. All the law does is prevent that from happening without a “compelling government interest.” It is not like Indiana is the first to do this. 20 other states have laws that mirror the one in Indiana has. The federal government also has a law that parallels the one in Indiana called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. That federal legislation was introduced by Democrat Representative Chuck Schumer of New York. It passed by unanimous House vote and near-unanimous Senate vote with only three Senators voting against it. Then it was signed into law by President Clinton The reason for state laws like the one in Indiana is the same reason for the state immigration law in Arizona that the Obama Administration opposed. The federal government ceased doing its job to protect the border. So Arizona decided to protect the border on its own. Indiana is acting in a similar manner with regards to religious freedom.
There are examples of this anti-Christian discrimination all over the place. After 31 years of helping the poor in the area, a Lake City, Florida ministry was told that it would not be allowed to receive food from the United States Department of Agriculture unless they removed portraits of Christ, the 10 Commandments, a “Jesus is Lord” banner, stopped praying, and stopped giving Bibles to people that came to them for help. In 2011, Mark Mackey and Bret Coronado were arrested and charged with misdemeanors for reading their Bibles outside of the Hemet, California DMV. Thankfully they were acquitted of any wrongdoing, but the fact that they were arrested speaks volumes. One of the most well-known cases of religious discrimination in recent memory involves the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. The owner refused to make a cake for a gay wedding because gay weddings violate basic Christian teaching. Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, the gay couple who requested the cake, sued and the Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a discrimination complaint.
If a Christian bakery owner thinks it is immoral to be involved in any way with a gay wedding, his bakery should not have to bake a cake for them. If a florist does not want to do a floral arrangement for a gay wedding under the same circumstances, the First Amendment indicates they are under no obligation to do it. It’s not like we have a shortage of bakeries or flower shops. Just go find another place that will accede to your request rather than purposely seeking out businesses that you know won’t do what you want just for the purpose of trying to force them into it. That is the real issue here with all of the LGBT “rights” propaganda in America and the world right now. It is not just about making more things such as marriage available to them. It is about silencing and punishing anyone with the courage to oppose sinful behavior.
As the 1st Amendment Partnership points out, “The bill protects religious minorities. Jewish people believe that the body should not be disturbed after death. In Georgia, rabbis all too often have to face undue bureaucracy when dealing with the state’s automatic, routine autopsies. [Bills like this] would protect their right to practice their faith in accordance with their conscience. RFRA will protect people of faith from unnecessary and costly red tape. A baptist Mississippi pastor sought to build a new church, but he was denied permission because of discrimination against religion. A RFRA bill would have helped this pastor build his church without wasting precious time and money fighting this bureaucracy. All Americans have the God-given right to live their faith according to their conscience. Freedom of conscience means that all Americans can follow the religious faith of their choice or none at all if they so choose. RFRA balances the rights of the individual with the interests of the government. The claim of religious liberty doesn’t guarantee victory. It just makes sure that government recognizes the impact of its rules and regulations on religious expression. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, including this bill, do not allow anyone to abuse children or commit any other criminal act. Religious freedom never trumps public safety or justifies inherently evil acts. Preventing crime and violence, including domestic violence, is clearly a compelling government interest and would trump any religious claim. In the 20+ years RFRAs have existed, never has a RFRA case successfully cleared a defendant of a violent criminal act. The bill does nothing to encourage or discourage discrimination. RFRA states average $1.3 trillion in annual retail transactions. Despite this huge volume, never has a hotel, restaurant, or major retailer used this law to deny service to an LGBT person. In comparing states with and without RFRAs, there is nothing to indicate RFRA has any effect--positive or negative--on job creation.”
The stated goal of RFRAs are to protect the religious rights of American citizens. They are not about state prohibitions against any specific people or group. That is why Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s announcement today was a little bit disheartening. As commentator Todd Starnes put it in a Facebook post today, “In an unprecedented act of cowardice and capitulation, Indiana Governor Mike Pence...has ordered legislators to ‘fix’ the religious liberty law. In a press conference today he told reporters that no business has the right to discriminate. When asked specifically about protecting Christian business owners, Pence...replied, ‘This law does not give anyone a license to discriminate.’ So the Governor wants a religious liberty law that does not protect religious liberty?” I am hoping that the Governor’s words today does not make the law meaningless. I guess we will have to wait and see.