Religious Freedom in Indiana

Perhaps you’ve heard about all of the hullabaloo going on in Indiana over a new law that the Governor there signed this past week.  Now Celebrities and National Politicians are getting involved.  Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer’s Twitter Page has been quite active in retweeting condemnations of the new law.  Presumptive Democratic Front Runner Hillary Clinton had this to say:

Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.

 Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, and many other celebrities are being quite vocal in their condemnation of this new law.  Even the Indiana Pacers felt it necessary to have a press release on the new law.  And now companies are getting involved.  Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been very adamant over his condemnation, and has started calls for boycotting Indiana over this new law.  Leadership in other companies including Apple, and Yelp are also putting in their two cents. condemning the law as discriminatory.

So what’s the  problem with all of these people coming out against this new law?  Well, hypocrisy of course.

First off, I would be willing to bet quite a bit of money that none of the people I mentioned above have actually read the new law.  You can read the entire law here.  The part that people appear to be having a problem with is this text:

Government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person —

(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Oops.  I’m sorry.  That is part of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law back in 1993.  Here’s the text from the Indiana law:

A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Seems almost identical.  In fact, the Indiana law is largely based on the Federal law.  Yet many people are being vocal about the Indiana law, but mum about the Federal Law.  I ask – why?

Do you remember the aforementioned esteemed Senator Schumer from New York who does not like the Indiana law?  It turns out that he was actually the main sponsor of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act back in 1993, which passed both houses with almost unanimous majorities.  And Hillary Clinton?  Her husband, President Bill Clinton at the time, signed the bill into law and was very supportive of it (you can see a lovely picture of him signing it, with Senator Schumer looking over his shoulder at the link).

What this law basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion. This judgment is shared by the people of the United States as well as by the Congress. We believe strongly that we can never, we can never be too vigilant in this work.

It was signed specifically to protect Religious Freedom from Government intervention.  Which is exactly why the Indiana law was passed.  But Hillary didn’t just support her Husband and this 1993 law (which she does in her book, “It Takes a Village”).  In 2005 as Senator Clinton, she supported the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act.” which was co-sponsored by amazingly unlikely allies John Kerry, and Rick Santorum.  It was designed to protect the religious freedoms of employees from employers, but has yet to be passed into law.  So why is she against the Indiana Law again?

Legally there is virtually no difference between the Federal Law and Indiana’s law except that it applies specifically to that State and its government instead of the /Federal Government.  And Indiana isn’t alone in this type of law.  19 other states already have RFRA laws on the books, all based on the Federal law.  Why is nobody calling for boycotts on those other states?

So why shouldn’t CEO’s of companies like Salesforce, and Apple condemn the Indiana law, and call for boycotts?  They do billions of dollars of business in China.  China, which is not only a religious freedom nightmare, but it is also a place where there are no laws protecting against homosexual discrimination, that does not recognize gay marriage, civil unions or anything close to it, and where it is illegal for homosexual couples to adopt.

Whether or not you support the law, I guess all I’m saying is that these people and organizations need to think before they open their mouths.

Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    Seattle socialist city clowncil or mayor (maybe both) recently said that there “no city dollars for travel to Indiana” so I assume there is nothing much wrong with the law.

    On the other hand, someone wanted to know if they’d have their head so far up their own asses if an Nazi asked a Jewish baker to make a swastika cake…

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  2. InsipiD

    The protests show you atheism as a religion, or at least the liberal surrogates.  Out in force protesting a law meant to protect religious practice because the folks who don’t believe in a traditional religion are afraid that their right to worship human thought instead would somehow be subordinated.

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  3. Hal_10000

    In principal, this is correct.  The problem is that the people who pushed for this bill include guys like Curt Smith, who is a vehement anti-gay activist.  And they’re opposing efforts by Pence to specifically clarify that the bill doesn’t sanction discrimination.  I don’t blame people for reacting to this bill when you consider the company it’s keeping.

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  4. CM

    This suggests there are two provisions which make it different.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/what-makes-indianas-religious-freedom-law-different/388997/

    First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.

    Second, the Indiana statute explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Why does this matter? Well, there’s a lot of evidence that the new wave of “religious freedom” legislation was impelled, at least in part, by a panic over a New Mexico state-court decision, Elane Photography v. WillockIn that case, a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”

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  5. Balthazar

    Well, the government is a party in this, they are the ones compelling the business to preform the act that is against their religious beliefs.

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