The hot topic of the day belongs to Indiana where the state legislature passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That link brings you straight to the actual legislation that I’m sure very few people have read but it doesn’t stop them from getting hysterical and making unsubstantiated accusations. As with most statutes, it’s a mind-numbingly hard read sure to cure the worst case of insomnia.
What you will not explicitly see in the statute is language saying “OK, listen up all you conservative bigots. You now have free reign to discriminate against gays, blacks, cripples, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, or any other minority group you don’t like.” It’s not there.
To be fair, the language in the statute is suspect and may lead some to believe the law can be used as a shield for discrimination. But the very people who claimed there was no agenda in their quest for equal protection rights when it came to gay marriage are the ones claiming there is a hidden agenda in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Is this a case of judging others as we judge ourselves?
I do not believe the Indiana state legislature went forward with a hidden agenda to discriminate against anyone. I think the state legislature felt the recent trend of the Federal Government to infringe upon the rights of those with deeply held religious beliefs needed to be addressed. Is it a perfect law? No. But what law is? Indiana Governor Mike Pence said the legislature will address the concern.
But that will not stop the militant homosexuals from spouting their own form hate towards those with different opinions. Why is it OK for minorities to be intolerant of the majority view but not OK for the majority to be intolerant of the minority view?
I think both groups need a lesson in civility and accepting differences which leads to tolerance. For me it’s a basic case of one group trying to impose its will on another group. It should not happen and both groups are wrong to try and implement their agendas.
As a Catholic, I believe Marriage is a sacrament and do not want the term used for same sex couples. That does not mean I am against same sex marriage. I could care less what people do in and with their lives. We all have to face a judgment day at the end so let the chips fall where they will. Ostensibly, homosexuals want the same rights as heterosexuals. That’s a fair request and every human should have the same rights. A civil union accomplishes the equality sought by homosexuals so why push for the term marriage to be affixed to their union?
The Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) passed in 1993 was created to protect different religious groups from being discriminated against because of their religion. For example, the law prevents organizations from banning Muslim students from wearing head coverings. So we would not ask a Muslim to remove a head covering but it’s OK to ask a Catholic to accept a different definition of a sacrament?
Everyone needs to take a deep breath and stop grandstanding so the issues can be worked out to achieve a compromise. I suspect no compromise will be enough for either side.
By the way, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” That means that a for-profit business is considered to have the same protections as an individual when expressing religion. According to the hysterical mob, that opens the door for a business to discriminate.
Are there a few that will discriminate? I’m sure there are but they are probably discriminating now by “being out of stock” or “overbooked” or any other excuse businesses use when they want a potential customer to go away. I think that is a small group and they do not deserve to be in business and eventually will go out of business die to their hubris.
I think the majority of people will not use the law as open season to discriminate. I also think we need less histrionics and more dialog.