The Indiana Legislature passed today and Governor Mike Pence signed into law a “clarification” to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In an earlier piece I explained what RFRA actually does.
It doesn’t do that any more. Here is the pertinent language of the “clarification.”
This chapter does not:
(1) authorize a provider to refuse or offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.;
(2) establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal by a provider to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment or housing to any member of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.;
(3) negate any rights available under the Constitution of the State of Indiana.
It does provide a religious-exemption (they must realize something is wrong when they have to include a religious exemption in a Religious Freedom Restoration Act). Any church, religious non-profit or religious school that is tax-exempt are not included, as staff or representatives from those organizations.
They caved to bullying, rushed to make this change and companies like Angie’s List still are not happy. Kevin Williamson at National Review points out three problems with the action that Indiana, Arkansas and others take to when they cave to bullying.
There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie. Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it encourages those who cynically deploy accusations of bigotry for their own political ends.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence ever entertained any presidential ambitions he should table that right now. They both demonstrated they lack the courage of conviction to stand up to bullying. Forget what the media or the left is saying… he just disqualified themselves. If they can not stand firm against lies and deception from the left and Big Business how in the world can we trust them to stand up to despots and terrorists as a Commander-in-Chief?
Why in the world would we want to replace a failed president with a person like that?
Also here’s the crux of the matter, but it seems that some do not understand the difference here (or do and don’t care anyway). Refusing to participate in an activity is not a refusal of service. The clarification was unnecessary.
In their “clarification” they neglect that language so basically we have a RFRA which is meaningless for anyone except those in religious organizations and they were mostly already covered by an exemption in most Civil Rights Codes that I can think of.
Let’s take homosexuals out of the discussion for a second. Say a Aryan group asks an African-American caterer to provide food for one of their meetings. Yes I know it would never happen, but humor me. Would you support the African-American business owner to say no? Would he or she be saying no based on the Aryan group’s race? Or would they be saying no because they are offended by the activity?
What if a man goes to a female-owned bakery and wants a cake decorated with misogynistic terms and she refuses? Is she refusing based on his sex or based on what he wants her to do violates her conscience?
Inject homosexuals back into the conversation. Would it be ok for a homosexual sound engineer refuse a prospective contract to run sound for a Christian ex-gay conference? Would he be denying a service because of the organizers’ religion or because this is an activity that they disagree with?
Unlike homosexuals who want to coerce Christians into violating their conscience, I would support a homosexual’s right to refusal to participate in an activity they find offensive or disagree with.
That’s tolerance and the right to do that is true freedom. Without the freedom of conscience we don’t truly have religious freedom or, frankly, any freedom at all.