The kerfuffle over a new law taking effect on July 1, 2015, in Indiana seems to have reached a fever pitch. The bill is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and is modeled after a federal law signed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Some twenty other states also have similar laws, the purpose of which serve to establish a test that judges can employ when determining if the government can compel an individual to violate his or her religious views when a matter comes before the court. Opponents of the law are claiming it provides a “license to discriminate” against homosexuals or other minorities. Supporters point out that it has been on the books for decades and many states, as well as the federal government, have the same law and no such discrimination has been documented. Governor Mike Pence (R) has taken the brunt of the blow-back and has been tirelessly defending his decision to sign the bill since last week.

CBS News gathered some of the 2016 candidate reactions and I have compiled them below.

Hillary’s reaction is notable, especially considering her husband signed the first Religious Freedom Restoration Act law into effect back in 1993 at the federal level:

Statements from some of the others on the Republican side:

Bobby Jindal:

“I support the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act because I support religious liberty as granted to us in our Constitution.”

“The fact that there are some who think this law in Indiana, which merely makes it clear that local governments must respect our religious liberty, is controversial clearly shows that religious liberty is indeed under attack.”

Marco Rubio:

“The issue we’re talking about here is, should someone who provides a professional service be punished by the law because they refuse to provide that professional service to a ceremony that they believe is in violation to their faith? I think people have a right to live out their religious faith in their own lives. They can’t impose it on you and your life, but they have a right to live it out in their own lives. And when you’re asking someone who provides professional services to do something or be punished by law that violates their faith, you’re violating that religious liberty that they have.”

Ben Carson:

“It is absolutely vital that we do all we can to allow Americans to practice their religious ways, while simultaneously ensuring that no one’s beliefs infringe upon those of others. We should also serve as champions of freedom of religion throughout the world.”

I went searching but couldn’t find any remarks from other potential Democratic contenders.

41 COMMENTS

  1. “Restoration”?? In what fantasy world has religious freedom been lost?? In a country which is 100% ruled by Christians–ALL 100 senators and 435 our reps–the real “religious freedom” is trying to escape its pervasive control.

    The US Constitution guarantees BOTH freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. Any time you add a redundant law, you’re asking for trouble, because every single word can be twisted–so the more words you have, the more trouble you’re inviting. Isn’t this exactly what Constitutionalists warn about?

    According to this law, as I read it, the government of Indiana will no longer be allowed to give kids medical treatment they need–if the parents claim that God made the kid sick, so the kid was meant to suffer. That’s just my immediate impression.

    Here’s the text:
    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/27/text-indianas-religious-freedom-law/70539772/

    Since it interprets “exercise of religion” as “any exercise of religion,whether or *NOT*
    compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”
    –Doesn’t that mean that ANY individual in Indiana may now claim “religious freedom” to avoid any and all authority of the State of Indiana, simply by saying they BELIEVE they are exempt??

    And who can make this claim? Any person. And what is a person, besides, you know, a human being? This: ” (2) An organization, a religious society, a church, a body of
    communicants, or a group organized and operated primarily for religious
    purposes. (3) A partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation,
    a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company, an unincorporated
    association, or another entity”

    What, EXACTLY, is this law intended to “restore”?

    • Well, a judge has to decide if forcing medical treatment, or any action the state wishes to mandate on someone, is a “substantial burden” on an individuals religious beliefs. I don’t envy the job of the judiciary in this regard.

      I agree regarding the word “restoration.” I think it’s redundant. I also think in that regard, it’s rather innocuous since religions freedom is already codified in the constitution.

      • You don’t think a life-and-death decision is “substantial”?

        In the past, courts have said kids can get medical care, over the
        objections of the parents. I have NOT been comfortable with that,
        since kids are not of legal age to make decisions, and their parents are
        entrusted with deciding for them. Yet, I also “felt” that it was
        “right” to save the kid.

        And that’s an organized religion’s stated belief.

        If someone says they DEEPLY believe ANYthing, according to the wording of this law, they don’t have to obey ANY law. The bible says a wife should obey her husband–beat her. Schlafly believes a woman must submit–rape her. There are all kinds of weird things in the bible to “believe.”

        What if a modern Abraham says God told him to sacrifice his son. Can you prove that God did not? This law says you don’t have to point to any organized religion belief–it’s ANY belief any individual claims–and the state cannot act.

        There are lots of arguments against over-privileging religion and wingnut personal beliefs. This should not have gotten wrapped up it gay rights. That’s only one small facet.

        • I agree with your points in the “what if” scenarios and that is why a judge has discretion and is charged with making a determination, It’s not a slam dunk in this Indiana law, nor has it been in other states under similar laws. From what I read, those claiming religious exemption more often lose than win. I suspect Indiana will be no different and in 12 months, this will have zero affect on business as usual.

            • Well, having a government re-iterate and affirm the limitations placed on it by the constitution and try to affirm individual rights I don’t think is a waste of time and money.

              It has now become a waste of time and money due to the misguided and unnecessary outcry from misinformed opponents screaming that the sky is falling when they’ve lived under the same law (in most cases not even knowing) for decades.

              Where were they in 1993? Oh right.. no twitter back then..

            • In 1993, the US act was written specifically to protect Native Americans from the Christian-controlled government. There had been several instances of abuse, including the gov’mint running a road right through sacred lands.

              There was a specific abuse to redress. There were genuine and specific rights to be “restored.”

              What, exactly, is the abuse that Indiana is trying to redress?

              And, back to the medical issue, yes, wingnut religious claims have lost in other times and places, but the wording of this law REMOVES the judicial “discretion” you want to rely on. Are you saying judges should not interpret the law as written?

            • No, it doesn’t remove judicial discretion. The judge determines if the state’s action on an individual causes a “substantial burden” on their religious beliefs. The law clearly states that.

              I think it’s stated in section 10 of the law that the court determines this:

              Sec. 10. (a) If a court or other tribunal in which a violation of this chapter is asserted in conformity with section 9 of this chapter determines that: (1) the person’s exercise of religion has been substantially burdened,

            • You are suddenly trusting judges to act wisely?

              I do not believe that it will work that way, because the wording of the law is that a person may claim based on a belief that is NOT part of any organized religion. If a person believes that it is against his own, personal religion to pay taxes, the paying of taxes is certainly a “substantial burden.”

              Likewise, the removal of parental control of one’s child is a “substantial burden.”

              The operative word is “substantial.” And could it be subjective than that? The judge is NOT allowed to determine the person’s beliefs, only whether the burden is “substantial.”

  2. The United Supreme Court just can’t seem to get it right. In 1990, two American Indians, who worked as drug rehab counselors, ingested peyote as part of religious ceremonies and they were fired. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the firing, with Justice Antonin Scalia saying that using a religious exemption in conflict of a valid law was not allowed. In the Hobby Lobby case, the same Justice Scalia said that a law giving women contraception coverage imposed a substantial burden on a company’s religious liberty. Yet, Hobby Lobby is a foremost retail supplier of cheap goods made by slave labor from China, a country that uses forced abortions for their one child family law.

    It appears that the giants of big business are awakening. Twelve Indiana CEO’s, of big companies, wrote Governor Pence with opposing sentiments threatening to curtail their business activities in Indiana. Tim Cook said “ Apple is open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination”.

    It will be interesting to see how Governor Pense and the Indiana Legislature enforce this law.

    • All twelve of those businesses do business in other states with the same laws and have for decades with no issues. They’re unfortunately allowing themselves to be identified as totally ignorant to that fact by following a very vocal, and very incorrect chorus of critics.

      Connecticut has an even stronger version of the same RFRA law and has since the 90s as well. Apple’s not concerned about them. Even the Connecticut Governor made a fool of himself not knowing his state has the same law.

      It’s all a farce of trumped up hilarious outrage.. It’s a yawn.. it’s laughable when you actually examine the facts.

      It’s even more a yawn in that those same companies do business in foreign countries where being gay results in the death penalty but they have no issue there when actual human rights are violated all day long.

      There’s no “enforcing the law,” it’s up to a judge.

      • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the states. Disregarding the Supreme Court, 21 states have passed their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Each state laws reads differently so some are not as
        stringent as others. This year Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have introduced legislation to amend and strengthen their RFRA laws, by allowing companies to use faith as a reason to deny service to anyone.

        Human Rights are the basic foundation of our Constitution. Church and State are separate entities and should remain so.

        Anyone who has read my posts knows I deplore Apple’s overseas business practices but I applaud Tim Cook’s stance on this issue. In other words, Apple will hire, or sell to, anyone without reservation.

        Before it gets to the judge, an endless number of citizens will silently suffer discrimination, in many hurtful ways, at the hands of a prejudiced framework.

        • “Before it gets to the judge, an endless number of citizens will silently suffer discrimination, in many hurtful ways, at the hands of a prejudiced framework.”

          Nope, doesn’t happen and hasn’t happened as a result of these laws. That’s an unsubstantiated straw man defense.

          Please highlight the specific portions of the law that gives license to discriminate or validates anything Tim Cook said.

          As for Apple, their selective outrage is amusing. Soon they may begin selling phones in Iran. I kid you not. Very principled stand Cook is taking.

          • “Separation of church and state” is the same as no laws to establish a religion. The First Amendment does talk about freedom of religion, but that does NOT mean that the government has a right to legislate religion. You know, the gov has no rights that are not specifically given to it, right?

            I have said above that I am uncomfortable with the state removing the authority of parents to determine medical care.

            And to tell you the truth, if I had a store, I’d sure like to have the right NOT to serve anyone I didn’t like. I’d like to discriminate, and that is the issue that should be argued here.

            That is what this law is about. Pence is just flat-out lying by claiming it does not have to do with discrimination. Over the weekend, he couldn’t come up with any justification for yet another law in search of a purpose.

            And I repeat my question–WHY did we “need” this law? What specific harm was it meant to redress??

          • Thomas Jefferson’s metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly as law by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Reynolds vs United Sates (1879) the Court wrote that Jefferson’s comments “may be accepted as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.” In Everson v Board of Education (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote: “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.” The U S Supreme Court defined it.

            • Jefferson’s point was to keep government from interfering with religious freedom. That is the oppression they were trying to end. Remember why, among many reasons, they broke away from the crown? …. Jefferson was a staunch defender of this.

              Thomas Jefferson authored the very first equivalent of the RFRA back in 1786. It is still law here in Virginia. Read this and tell me Jefferson would approve fining or closing a business for not wanting to cater a gay wedding.

              Authored by Jefferson: “§ 57-1. Act for religious freedom recited.”
              https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+57-1

              Can’t get any clearer than this small excerpt:

              “Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested or burthened, in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

              It’s pretty clear. Government can’t force someone to practice a religion, and can’t force someone to NOT practice religion. As in, government cannot make you act in a way contrary to your religious beliefs simply because someone else has different beliefs.

              Your religious views cannot diminish, enlarge, or affect your civil capacities. As in, government cannot make a business owner do something which is against his/her religious views and you don’t forfeit your religious views simply because you open a public restaurant. Therefore, if your baker doesn’t want to bake you a cake, go down the street or buy a box mix. You can’t force him to and neither can the government in Virginia.

              This text is far stronger than any other RFRA law on the books, I’m quite certain. Yet, Virginia has no widespread discrimination against gays or anyone else. It’s all a myth.

              What we do have is the understanding that religious belief and expression is not to be infringed on by the whims someone who may disagree. It’s an inherent right, “natural right,” as Jefferson called it, in America which makes us an exception to many other countries.

  3. I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of discussion about the Indiana law.

    Those who are against it,
    say it was unnecessary,
    and could be dangerous.

    Those who are against
    a gay rights addendum
    to it, say it’s unnecessary,
    and could be dangerous.

    Seems to me, that makes it pretty clear that the law should either be repealed, or the addendum should be added. One or the other.

    • I’ll just say what everyone is afraid to say. A business owner should have the right to not provide their service to anyone. That means a Muslim butcher doesn’t have to carve a pig. It means a Christian photographer doesn’t have to do a same-sex wedding. It means an atheist baker doesn’t need to make a cake for someone’s baptism.

      We used to believe in freedom. Now we believe in litigating against anyone who doesn’t agree and making the government force them to agree. That is straight-up authoritarianism and has no place in a free society. We should value the right to free expression and free association.

      You mad at a private business? Give money to their competitors and leave a bad review.

      Pence is too afraid to make the argument so he’s looking like a fool.

      There. It’s said. I’m feeling liberated.

      Now, all that said, a business must wisely determine whether or not these decisions are worth the backlash or cost they’ll incur from public opinion. However, it should be up to them. I take the libertarian stance on this particular topic.

      Furthermore, Goethe is right, I think this particular law is unnecessary and likely redundant and Pence has proven that. On the other hand, it is nothing that the critics are making it out to be, not even close.

      • Thank you. As I said elsewhere, THIS is the honest discussion, and why Pence is a liar. My job here is to explore opposing positions, not just to pontificate (although that’s fun). Thanks for getting into it!

        Pence is worse than a liar, because not only is he denying the obvious, he’s also lying about the “cure.” I don’t believe his call to “fix” the bill. He says he wants it “this week,” BECAUSE he knows it won’t happen. It’s just to stop the furor–or to blame the legislature for not doing what he KNOWS they won’t do. When the media’s attention turns back to Kim Kardashian, the issue will be forgotten.

        And thank you for agreeing. This is a nonsense bill that is, at best, redundant, but also brings in a whole new class of interest groups that can claim to be “persons.”

        Now then, what can be the argument against what you say?

        For one, you left out the obvious group at risk. If you own a store, can you refuse service to African-Americans, JUST because they’re African-Americans?

        Clearly, “free enterprise” didn’t work to solve racial discrimination for more than a century. No competing business was available.

        Back to the group in question: Something like 86% of Americans “claim” to be Christians. What if the churches told the 86% they should boycott any merchant who deals with “the sinners”?

        As I said, if I owned a store, I’d like to kick out anyone I didn’t like. What’s right? What’s legal?

        • I jumped the gun in saying it is redundant. It’s not. The 1993 federal law, ruled by SCOTUS, only applies to federal cases.

          Therefore, states passed their own versions for cases which only involved state law. That is the reason for it at the state level. Tess is incorrect in that SCOTUS said it was not legal for states to pass the same thing. SCOTUS simply said you can’t cite this federal RFRA law in a state-level case because it only applies in federal court.

          Now back to the show….

          The RFRA simply establishes that a judge should consider an argument of religious exemption before making a ruling. Pence was afraid to say that a business owner might try to cite RFRA when deciding not to bake a cake for a gay wedding, or something along those lines. This hasn’t happened widespread in other states, but he’s afraid to stand his ground. He was a coward for not making the argument ar asking Stephanopoulos to cite how the law specifically sanctions that. He’d likely win some support trying to make the freedom argument and apply it in every direction as I have attempted in light of constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion.

          It simply means the government has the burden to justify violating an individual’s religious beliefs by force. It doesn’t mean they can’t violate your beliefs, it just means they must have a valid reason to do so. Without the RFRA, a judge isn’t required to take it into consideration at all which means your religious beliefs are meaningless before the state. Some argue that’s how it should be but I think the constitution speaks otherwise.

          I think the law is harmless and in line with constitutional principles since we have free exercise of religion. Therefore, if a judge wants to force medical treatment against a parents wishes, the judge must explain why he/she thinks it is ok to violate the religious beliefs in a given case. If a judge wants to force a photographer to provide services for a gay wedding, the judge must explain and justify why the state can force such a move. That is, IF these cases end up in court.

          Nowhere, in any text of any of the RFRA laws, does it loosen the means for businesses or individuals to discriminate with a free pass anymore than they already may or may not.

          Now, as to your example of denying service to someone based on skin color, I don’t even want to open the can of worms which is why the “business can deny anyone at anytime” argument always loses in the end just like most ultra-libertarian views.

  4. My take on this is yes businesses should have the right who they want to serve and as Goethe stated above “And to tell you the truth if I had a store I’d sure like the right not to serve anyone I didn’t like”. With that said due to the “Civil Rights Act of 1964” and the “Public Accommodation” clause within it once you open your doors of business you lose that ability. This act of legislation that was intended to lead to a road paved with good intentions had unforseen consequences which is the sole reason Sen. Goldwater voted against it after voting for two previous Civil Rights bills in 1959 and 1960. He was in favor of amending the Constitution instead.

    There are however a few things that strike me as odd about this argument and the slippery slope it involves. The first is the hypocrisy of the left complaining about corporations like Hobby Lobby not having a conscience when it comes to supplying birth control methods but find corporations miraculously having a conscience when they want to boycott the state of Indiana. Secondly the Progressive American left today is not only in favor of wiping Israel and Judaism off the map but Christianity as well.

    • Bob, pointing out the double standard is worthwhile. Liberals complain when Hobby Lobby takes a conservative stand, but they approve with adoration when Apple takes a liberal stand.

      Make a decision, do corporations have a right to political views or does that only apply when those views adhere to the Democratic Party platform?

      • Apples and Oranges. Or maybe Apple and Crates.

        Anyway, it’s a false comparison. The Hobby Lobby case was substantive and about a corporation vs individuals, whereas the Indiana backlash is meaningless and about companies vs government.

        The owner/managers of Hobby Lobby didn’t “take a stand.” They discriminated against individuals. My main problem with that ruling is that it is a lie. The court did not say the owner/managers had a right to make a decision. They said the building is a “person,” and the building has “beliefs.”

        That being said, I agree that the Indiana backlash is ridiculous. The only thing it accomplishes is to embarrass Pence for a few days (because he’s such a moron). Nothing will change, and it will be quickly forgotten.

        The real purpose of the backlash is to ingratiate the companies with LGBT and their sympathizers.

        • Goethe…the older I become, the more I believe that while we all clammer for personal freedoms, the less we truly mean it. So, we use the government to force people to agree with us.

          There are so many Court decisions. Some rulings may enforce conservative beliefs, some rulings may enforce liberal beliefs, but both ways are creating the slow erosion of freedom.

          There is a third belief, to which I respond, that wants the government to protect and make secure all our freedoms, including the same freedom rights for those with whom we disagree.

          • I know you replied to Goeth.. but..I agree with you. I don’t want the government to have to get involved in “forcing” anyone to agree with or condone particular political views or religious views. You are correct, the sword of justice cuts both ways.

            The issue, I think, lies with a desire by some factions to simply brute force, by court opinion, acceptance of their views or way or life. As in, “you are not allowed to NOT believe in gay marriage,” or whatever example you want to use.

            Where is live and let live? If two people disagree, fine, leave it at that. It’s allegedly a free country.

            Why does one feel compelled to go to court to force someone to sell them a cake? That gets the government involved, then one side demands protections, the other side demands protections, etc… perhaps the government should simply decide that is a private dispute and the government refuses to get involved and pick favorites.

            • NOBODY ever said “you are not allowed to not believe in gay marriage.” It is the opponents who say, “you are NOT allowed to believe in gay marriage.”

              I have never been “for” gay marriage, but “live and let live” means if I’m not gay, it’s none of my business.

              However, I DO agree that if someone sued because someone wouldn’t make them a cake, they’d have the burden of proving that no one ELSE might have done it, instead.

              And, yes, the government should NOT get involved, with laws such as this, which is the issue in this thread.

            • NOBODY ever said “you are not allowed to not believe in gay marriage.” It is the opponents who say, “you are NOT allowed to believe in gay marriage.”

              That’s not true or accurate. Everyone is being compelled to support gay marriage and being told it is a right and you (as an individual or whatever) don’t have a option here, we all must acknowledge it. Religion or not, shut up and accept it as a right is the attitude today.

              Where have you been the last 10+ years? The “Join us or you’re a bigot homophobe” campaign has been working very well. Corporate America often leads the charge because they’re afraid of negative twitter responses.

              It’s not my business, I agree! But then someone comes along and MAKES it my business by taking me to court because I disagree or some nonsense.

            • Nonsense. You are not being compelled–or even asked–to accept, much less “support” gay marriage. If you don’t wanna marry a guy, Nate, I assure you, you don’t have to. Count to ten and relax.

              When did anyone say you have to “support” it?? If Jim and John come to your house and proudly announced they’re married, you really can say, “no, you’re not,” if you want.

              While, yes, you might be called a dick or a homophobe, but I”m sure you’ve been called worse. NOBODY can take you to court. That’s a paranoid fantasy.

              And, again, the legal matter we’re really discussing here is whether the state should, as you’ve acknowledged, sanction discrimination. That is the legal point at hand, and as I said, that is worthy of dispute, without bringing in the religion silliness.

            • No, not me as an individual.. sorry I wasn’t clear. Jim and John make a lovely couple, we play bridge on Wednesdays.

              Businesses are being compelled.. they’ve ended up in court if they don’t want to participate in a ceremony by providing their services. Thus, where this whole thing stems.

              This bakery in Colorado lost the case and was forced to cater a gay ceremony after they initially refused. So, yes, people are being compelled.

              http://abcnews.go.com/US/judge-orders-colorado-bakery-cater-sex-weddings/story?id=21136505

              Quote: Phillips told the men, “I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.”

              They’re being compelled with fines or basically the state will shut them down. Live and let live, right?

            • This gets back to the idea of judicial discretion. In a case like that, the plaintiff should have been “compelled” to show that there was no one else to do the job.

              On the other hand, I am VERY careful not to piss off anyone fixing food for me. If I had gone to that Colorado event, I would not have TOUCHED the food. I mean, I’d worry about my SKIN if I touched it!!

            • And see, I think that’s a normal reaction most people would have. I like your answer to this, I think that’s reasonable.

              The RFRA (at fed and state level) has always been about judicial discretion, that’s the entire point of it. Many states that don’t have RFRA simply have case law precedent making the need for a separate specific law unnecessary.

              I can’t imagine wanting to FORCE someone against their will to comply by court order and then expect a great, safe product in the end or that some kind of “respect” has been earned (by force).

              It’s not rational thinking. It’s not how reasonable people deal with situations of conscience.

            • We are in basic agreement, except on this law, and how it works.

              The point of laws like these is to RESTRICT judicial discretion–such as the “three-strikes” laws.

              The federal RFRA eliminated judicial discretion, by specifying that the minority religion shall be protected from the majority religion/ethic.

              By contrast, Indiana’s legislators boasted that their law was designed to give legal support (privilege) to the MAJORITY religionist who wants to discriminate against a minority.

              • There is no burden to show that there is a rational reason for the discrimination.
              • There is no claim that it is not “discrimination,” if a “separate and equal” alternative is available. You just get to say the magic word, “religion,” and reason is irrelevant.

              Without the Indiana law, judicial discretion WOULD be allowed to decide if the discrimination is reasonable and legal.

            • I don’t think it’s as lopsided and restrictive to judicial discretion as you’re claiming. It simply requires judges to utilize a test and use the least intrusive means when a religious belief is to be violated. Again, keep in mind this law has been around for 20+ years federally and has functioned without the scenarios you’re outlining. Indiana expanded some language marginally, but it’s less restrictive than some of the other state language where, again, we see no evidence of widespread abuse or unfettered discrimination.

              The RFRA statutes, which currently bind nearly two dozen state governments as well as the federal government, require courts to use a simple balancing test when weighing the facts of specific religious freedom cases. The laws state that the government may only substantially burdenthe free exercise of religion of a person or organization if the government 1) has a compelling interest to do so, and 2) is using the least restrictive means possible to further that compelling interest. In legal parlance, RFRA requires courts to use strict scrutiny when adjudicating these types of cases.

              http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/01/how-rfra-works-explained-in-one-chart/

              This graphic is pretty a pretty simple way to understand it:

              http://thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/RFRA-Infographic.png

            • First, as noted elsewhere, the original RFRA was clearly designed to protect Native Americans from the Christian-dominated government and society. The state laws have been trumped up with ulterior motives.

              Second, times change. My guess is that if a federal RFRA were to see the first light of day now, it would also be condemned–because it would be for different reasons and have different effects than the sincere, genuine, and innocent original.

              Third, it’s my understanding that the Indiana law is the first to say that (a) the protected “belief” does NOT have to be an organized or recognized belief. You can give judges all the “discretion” you want, but in our society, they are supposed to interpret laws as written and intended, and I don’t give as much credibility to “trust me” as you do. (I was the foreman of a jury that was told that the court would be reasonable–only to have a draconian sentence, because the downtown merchants wanted to make a “statement.”) The stated intention of the Indiana law was to discriminate, and their retreat is just disingenuous surrender to the Chamber of Commerce.

              And (b) it’s my understanding that the Indiana law is also different, by the jaw-dropping expansion of WHAT is a “person” in Indiana.

              Bottom line, I think, is that there seems to be a “belief” that the Supreme Court will rule that gay marriage is a “right,” and the battle has already begun in the state houses to limit and undermine that expected ruling. “Religion,” once again is being trotted out as an excuse.

            • I’m surprised you give such little notice on religious views as something to be respected or protected. Clearly it is protected in the constitution for a reason, wouldn’t you say? Our founders clearly deemed it as important as free speech or the right to own a firearm.

              Or are you of the belief that it’s an outdated prospect now and it’s ok for the government to mow down religious views whenever the populace demands it?

              Just asking..

            • Fish don’t know that they’re swimming in water. Because it’s all around them.

              Likewise, Christians don’t realize that they have such stifling hegemony in this country.
              • ALL 100 senators.
              • ALL 435 representatives.
              • President and vice president.
              • And the supreme court–ALL Roman Catholic, except three Jews.

              You cannot understand how totally ridiculous the insane paranoia is among Christians here unless you’ve been rolled over by the Christian juggernaut (the way the Native Americans were).

              I was watching Pat Robertson’s 700 Club TV show one day, and they cited the statistic that, at the time of the Revolution, only NINE (that is, again, 9) PERCENT of the population belonged to any religious congregation. Mind you, this is PAT ROBERTSON speaking. There was a lot more “free thinking” then than we have been led to believe.

              So, yeah, I am MUCH more worried about protecting freedom FROM religion, than some neurotic concern that nearly ALL the people in the country will somehow be deprived of their right to BELIEVE how they want. In fact, as I write that sentence, their paranoia seems even more absurd.

              And, again, my view is that YOU–PERSONALLY–are considered in the Constitution to have your OWN, personal right to “freedom of religion,” but it also means you should keep YOUR grubby hands off of MY right to believe how *I* want.

              And if that’s not clear enough, the “establishment” clause should make it clear that the government should stay the f- out of the religion business.

              Just answering.

            • Hell, even JESUS wanted separation of church and state:

              “My kingdom is not of this world.”
              (Matthew 7:12)

              and

              “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”
              (Matthew 22:21)

              Those are just off the top of my balding head.

              AND–Religion is a personal thing. It should NOT be broadcast pompously, nor forced onto others. When Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, He told us HOW to pray:

              “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners TO BE SEEN BY OTHERS. . . But when you pray, GO INTO YOUR ROOM, CLOSE THE DOOR, and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”
              (Matthew 6:5-6)

              Also, on the topic of shutting the f- up:

              “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
              (1 Timothy 4:12)

              As for the social contract:

              “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them
              without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great,
              and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the
              ungrateful and wicked.”
              (Luke 6:35)

              [That hardly sounds like, “Pass ye, therefore, laws to make it legal to smite anyone who doesn’t act as ye shall command.”]

            • P.P.S. As an exercise, count the times you hear references about “Easter” today (even in the news), and compare it with the number of times you hear about “Passover,” which began on “Good Friday.”

              No fair counting “Jesus rose during Passover.”

  5. Basically it gives the freedom (and rightfully so) of private enterprise to say: No, we don’t want your business homosexual sickos.

    All States must pass such a law!

    We’d had enough of such a small, but aberrantly viral, element in our society HAVING us cater to ALL their disgusting whims, and sodomizing sickness!

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