Monday, March 30, 2015

Religious freedom bills are about rights, not discrimination

Last week Indiana became the 20th state to pass a religious freedom law (which is just the state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993) and has faced angry protests and threats of boycotts as a result. But as Indiana Governor Mike Pence says, it "is not about discrimination [but] empowering people to confront government overreach."

Meanwhile, on a 24-7 vote, the Arkansas Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill to protect the religious freedom of everyone in the state from government intrusion on citizens' religious rights. Basically put, the measure prevents state and local government from taking any action that substantially burdens someone's religious beliefs unless government can prove a "compelling" reason for undermining religious freedoms. Governor Asa Hutchinson has stated he will sign the legislation should it reach his desk and you can be sure he will face similar backlash by angry activists - namely those who believe religious freedom laws undermine homosexual rights.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel opposes Indiana's adoption of its religious freedom law and thinks the upcoming NCAA games in Indianapolis should be moved to a more "gay-friendly" state like Illinois as a result. But apparently the mayor is unaware that Illinois is one of the 20 states that has such a law on the books - thanks to former-Senator Barack Obama who personally sponsored the bill that protects business owners' religious freedoms.

And while Apple CEO Tim Cook self-righteously boasts that he will pull all Apple business out of the state of Indiana, I have yet to hear him say he'll pull his business out of the Middle Eastern countries countries that kill people solely for being homsexual. What a hypocrite. Then again it's a lot easier to bully meek Christians who have been taught to turn the other cheek than it is to go up against groups that will actually murder someone for being homosexual.

By the way, these religious freedom laws do no more than protect the rights of conscience, so why all the fuss? Our Founding Fathers embraced such rights, and it was the idea that America was founded upon - the idea that individuals have inalienable rights, including and perhaps especially the rights of conscience, that put America on the path to her inimitable success.

Opponents of such freedoms are going ballistic but they simply don't understand what the upholding of our First Amendment rights is all about (which is all these laws actually do). Alarmists claim that these freedom laws allow a business owner to refuse to serve homosexuals, blacks, or any other person they choose to refuse service to for any reason. But it's simply not true. RFA's protect a private business owner from being forced by government to partake in an act that goes against deeply held Biblically based beliefs. While there is no Scriptural basis for refusing service to someone because of the color of their skin or whatnot, the Bible does warn against partaking in activities that go against God's Word - such as homosexual unions - and that is the argument at hand.

Based on their own reasoning though, I wonder if extreme activists would support a Jewish T-Shirt maker being forced to make shirts for a pro-Nazi Skinhead rally. Or would they support a black photographer being forced to record a Ku Klux Klan rally? Under the activist mentality, we're all fair game. Our individual beliefs are second-class citizens to politically correct superiority.

And while George Washington once stated his "wish and desire" that "the laws may always be extensively accommodated" to "the conscientious scruples of all men," today a well-organized, ridiculously well-funded movement of activists seeks to deceptively undermine even the most mild acknowledgement of those scruples.

In 1932, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini outlined fascism this way: "The Fascist conception of the state is all-embracing; outside of it, no human or spiritual values can exist…the Fascist State…interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people."

Like the sound of that? Because that is precisely the road we're currently on.

What should alarm all Americans is not the government's desire to collectively group the individual rights of conscience under state law; rather, what's especially disturbing is the increasingly powerful activist component that, with nearly complete support of the media, seeks to use the power of the state to demand we all think, act and believe like certain groups do. So much for tolerance and diversity.

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1 comment:

  1. Julie - you need to be a nationally syndicated columnist.