Monday, March 30, 2015

The Indiana religious-liberty law: a little perspective

The latest cause celebre in some circles is to criticize an Indiana religious-liberties law they perceive is a slap at the gay community. But it's always helpful in these situations to maintain a little perspective.

First of all, the law doesn't even mention gays. As Breitbart News' Daniel J. Flynn explains:
The law in question, which opponents interpret to permit businesses to opt out of providing goods and services to gay weddings and other events that might offend the religious sensibilities of their proprietors, states, with some caveats, that a “governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” The text of the law, written for the most part in wonkish jargon, does not mention the words “gay,” “lesbian,” “homosexuality,” or any other related term or phrase.
Secondly, the concept of the law is nothing new. David French writes at National Review Online:
But for national freakouts, it’s tough to beat either the sky-is-falling rhetoric around the idea that a few Hobby Lobby employees would have to buy their own abortifacients or, more recently, the sheer nonsense of #boycottindiana, the movement to freeze an entire state out of the national economy for passing a religious freedom law similar to the national Religious Freedom Restoration ACT (RFRA) and RFRAs in 19 other states. While it’s hardly surprising to see legally ignorant sportswriters use the language of segregated lunch counters, it’s disturbing to see well-informed CEOs such as Apple’s Tim Cook conjuring up the specter of the Old South.

Simply put, their concerns about systematic invidious discrimination are utter hogwash, and they either know it or should know it. Why? Because RFRAs aren’t new, the legal standard they protect is decades older than the RFRAs themselves, and these legal standards have not been used — nor can they be used — to create the dystopian future the Left claims to fear.
So why the hysteria? French chalks it up to simple anti-Christian bigotry. And he adds:
This bigotry has a purpose. It serves to demonize the last significant constituency standing in the way of sexual revolution radicalism. After all, unless you demonize your opposition, the general public will have little appetite for forcing Christians to pay for abortion pills, forcing Christian groups to open up to atheist leadership, or forcing Christian bakers or photographers to help celebrate events they find morally offensive. After all, there’s no clamor for requiring Kosher delis to stock pork or requiring gay lawyers to represent the Westboro Baptist Church.

While RFRAs protect people of all faiths, from peyote-smoking Native Americans to Bible-toting florists, the Left’s outrage is narrowly targeted — against the Christian people whose livelihoods they seek to ruin, whose consciences they seek to appropriate, and whose organizations they seek to disrupt. #BoycottIndiana isn’t a cry for freedom. It’s nothing more than an online mob, seeking to bully those it hates.
As a side note, it's interesting that, according to Flynn's piece, the NFL has chosen to remain silent about this controversy. Could it be that the league learned a lesson after its tacit embrace of "Hands up, don't shoot", which turned out to be total baloney? I doubt it, but one can hope.

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