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.