All the way back in 1993, a Democrat Congressman, Chuck Schumer, introduced a bill that would prevent laws from substantially burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. It passed the US House of Representatives unanimously. After it nearly passed unanimously through the US Senate, it was signed into law by Democrat POTUS, Bill Clinton. In 1997 the law was held unconstitutional in City of Boerne vs. Flores. Since 1997, more than 30 states have passed legislation that brings this federal law to the state level given that the ruling deemed it unconstitutional due to it not being a proper exercise of the US Congress’s enforcement power.
Fast forward to 2015 and you will find a very similar bill being signed into law today in Indiana that brings the 1993 law a little closer to home. Liberals from the Hoosier State are crying discrimination despite the fact that many on the right have attempted to explain the history of the bill referenced above. To no ones surprise, there is also a purposeful misinformation campaign spewing form the main stream media calling for Christians across the state to stop discriminating against gays (despite the origin of the original bill and the clear protection the bill gives to ALL Hoosiers). We have now discussed what the Indiana Religious Freedom law is. Now, let’s discuss 3 things that it ISN’T:
1. It isn’t a protection for JUST Christians, as the protection is for all faith’s and belief systems.
This law protects everyone from being forced into participating in events that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. As a homosexual business owner, do you want the government to force you to participate in an event that is against your core beliefs? Let’s say for a minute you design t shirts or bumper stickers and a devout muslim group comes to you and asks you to make a t shirt for them that talks about homosexuals in an extremely hateful or derogatory way. Don’t you want the ability to not have to take them as a client? In the same way, this also applies to Jewish business owners, african American business owners and other religious or minority groups. You should have the individual right and liberty to take your business and work with people you want to work with. Again, this bill isn’t talking about banning gays from all grocery stores. That is still illegal. What it is doing is saying that, as another example, a photographer that is a Christian and believes God’s Word when it says that homosexuality is a sin, and further, believes that God is the inventor of marriage, and that gay marriage is against His design, should be able to turn down a customer that wished for him to participate in an event that celebrates what his conscience is telling him is wrong.
2. It isn’t a law that supersedes the equal protection clause.
The 14th amendment to the Constitution, Section 1 says:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
What this means is that NO ONE can simply deny service to someone because they are black or female or gay or muslim or Christian. You will not see a store that has a sign in the window that says, “NO Gays Allowed”. If you do, you should report it and that person is in for a world of financial and possibly criminal trouble. We live in a country that guarantees equal rights to all, because these laws were endowed upon us NOT by a man made government, but by the God who made the men who are a part of that government. The religious freedom law simply says that if my religion says an activity is wrong, I have the right to not participate in it. So, guess what you have the right to do because of that? You can boycott a business, leave them a negative rating on social media and tell all of your friends that said business did not want to take your money and participate in an activity that went against their religious beliefs. If free market capitalism causes that business to go under because enough people in that community agree that they no longer want to do business with an organization that refuses to engage in said activities, then guess what, that is the natural consequence. That is how the system is SUPPOSED to work.
So, to summarize, stop saying that this law will discriminate unfairly against the gay community, as that is nonsense and can be easily debunked by simply reading the 14th amendment. If anything NOT having this law unfairly targets Christians who wish to have a business, and now cannot because they wish to obey God more.
3. It isn’t a first step toward much broader legislation.
As has already been stated, this isn’t a new idea. It isn’t even a Republican originated idea. It is however a necessary step to making sure that the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness remains for ALL who are American citizens. You cannot have the liberty of one take away the liberty of another. I as a Christian have the right to own a business and follow my religion. You as a gay person have the right to have a business and not be forced into making t shirts with anti-gay rhetoric on them. Let’s take this a step further though. A handful of businesses have already stepped up and said, because of this legislation they are moving out of Indiana or will no longer host events here. That is ALSO their right and should be respected. Governor Pence made the call that the protection that this law would ensure is important enough that it was worth the risk of losing possible revenue for the state of Indiana. Those businesses can now participate in the free market and go to another state that they do agree with and support that economy with their money. That is 100% exactly how it should work. There is’t a broader, more devious plan waiting over the religious zealotry hill that will eliminate gay people’s Constitutional freedom. Stop making this a slippery slop argument and start looking at it for what it is…a protection for everyone.
You don’t have to agree with me. You can look at this entire scenario and draw different conclusions. I do challenge you however to actually look at the facts of what has happened. The liberal media in Indiana is spinning this as a discriminatory law meant to hurt gays, when in fact, it is simply an assurance that Christians will continue to have the right to serve God and obey the laws that He laid out for them in Scripture. I wonder if this was a bill protecting the religious rights of Muslim’s, or the freedom from religion rights atheists claim, would this still be seen as discriminatory, or would it then be seen as a victory for freedom?