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Religious Freedom Rifts
The RFRA Boogeyman
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  • jeburke

    It’s all about not tolerating any public disagreement with gay marriage and bludgeoning anyone who dares to express any reticence about it, religiously based or otherwise, with the irrefutable charge of bigotry. Thus, the reaction is not overblown at all but utterly rational and predictable.

    • Fat_Man

      The motto of the Gay Rights movement is “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women and children.”

  • Marcus_V

    One does wonder, if there are no fears of discrimination behind these laws, then why did:

    – Indiana conservatives vote down an amendment to the law stating that their law could not be used to discriminate?
    – Georgia conservatives table their version of this law when such an amendment did make it into their bill?

    The only rational conclusion I can reach is that these bills/laws are intended to make discrimination under cover of religion easier than it is now. These laws might be neutered by the courts. Failing that, they might not often be invoked. But even if either of those is true, the clear, revealed intent behind these bills/laws are malicious, and that alone should compel anyone of good conscience to oppose them.

    • Tom

      Let’s see here. (Scratches head) Oh, I don’t know. Could it be that the definition of discrimination has become maniacally overextended?

      • Marcus_V

        I don’t understand what you mean by that, and I don’t understand how it answers my question.

        Could you explain in detail?

        • Tom

          In a world where colleges have been discriminatory against women because not as many of their female students were as interested in their athletic programs as male ones, and where disparate impact is taken to automatically mean invidious discrimination by large swathes of the populace, throwing an anti-discrimination clause into this is like throwing in “Unless you don’t like them” after the Free Exercise Clause.

          • Marcus_V

            But you’re referring to Title IX, which is Federal law governing distribution of Federal assets. The Indiana RFRA is a state law and the sections at particular issue relate to private businesses and individuals. Nor have those theories of discrimination do not now and never have applied to private businesses or individuals. Nor would a state law trump the Federal law anywhere that the Federal law applies. So that really has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

            Based on what happened in New Mexico, though, this has everything to do with refusing service to certain classes of people.

            Right here in this very discussion, CharlesRWilliams is reveling in that exact interpretation. So you can see why I’m confused at people who say this is not about discrimination, and you can see why I am even more confused when people resist the idea of clarifying that the law is not about discrimination.

            As I said, the only rational conclusion that I can reach– based on the history of this legislation and based on the words ad deeds of its supporters– is that these legal structures are *exactly* about enabling discrimination.

          • Tom

            And if you don’t think cases about this wouldn’t use those definitions, your faith in the honesty of lawyers is beyond compare.
            And will this enable discrimination? Eh, probably. I see no reason why a person should be forced by the government to provide goods or services to an event whose purpose they believe to be immoral.
            On the other hand, some of the more lunatic provisions in state anti-immigration laws would end up getting hammered by such laws as this.
            In other words, given the broad wording of this bill, the only reason you wouldn’t want this in action would be so you can force people to provide services that they think it is wrong to provide. There are words for that kind of mentality. None of them are complimentary.

          • Marcus_V

            First, thank you for at least admitting that this law *is* (probably) going to enable discrimination.

            But it’s curious that, while I’ve been discussing religion and discrimination, you are suddenly and for some reason discussing morality and services. Where does the law in question reference those concepts?

            The way the law is written, it doesn’t specify protection against providing services believed to be immoral. Indeed, the case in new Mexico which generated the language in the Indiana law was about selling flowers and cakes. I’m not aware of any way in which florists selling flowers or bakers selling cakes to anyone can be considered to be immoral. That’s a contradiction in terms– if a florist believed selling flowers was immoral, presumably he would find some other line of work, don’t you think?

            So I’m confused, again.

            How is a florist selling flowers immoral?

            Explain it to me. In detail.

          • Tom

            Before I even say one word, go back and read my post again, then re-word your question.

          • Marcus_V

            But I am deeply interested in this morality angle you’ve opened up. If you’re unwilling to answer, that’s on you.

            But here is why I’m asking: As I said, you are the one who brought morality into the picture, even though it isn’t referenced in the law. And I’m trying to figure out where the immorality comes into play for something as innocuous as selling flowers.

            I think we all know that the questionable language that was inserted into Indiana’s as a result of florists and bakers in Mexico being called on to do the job that they advertise for– sell flowers and cakes– to gay weddings.

            So I’ll ask two questions:

            Is a gay wedding the type of “immoral event” to which you’re referring?
            And, is the act of selling flowers to such an event itself immoral?

          • Tom

            Okay, you’ve done as I asked, despite carping about it. So I will now answer your question.
            Anyway: Yes to the first, and as to the second, while I’m not entirely sure, I sure as anything do not wish to see the force of the state turned upon those who think so.

          • Marcus_V


            What about a gay first wedding anniversary? (There is a point to this, I promise.)

          • Tom

            See the response to your second question, above.

          • Marcus_V

            So I interpret that to mean that a gay first wedding anniversary might be an immoral event, selling flowers for it might be an immoral event and, as a result, the Indiana RFRA could legitimately be used to discriminate in this case.

            I say in all sincerity, if I am misunderstanding you, please correct me.

            But in order to avoid dragging this out a extreme length, I’ll ask a raft of questions in that same vein:

            – What about flowers for a gay Valentine’s Day gift? Birthday gift?
            – How about flowers for a gay couple on a typical Thursday night, just because?
            – How about flowers to be placed in a gay bar?

            Moving away from the homosexuality angle, but back toward weddings:

            – How about flowers for a wedding between a perfectly nice man, who happens to be black, marrying a perfectly nice girl, who happens to be white? There are historical religious arguments (still held by some today) which hold that this event is immoral, too. Can the Indiana RFRA be used in this circumstance? If not, why not?

            – What about second weddings after a divorce?

          • Tom

            First question: Maybe to the first, no to the second.

            Second question: Same category of wrongness as for a couple involved in fornication.
            Third question: Same category as a singles bar.

            Fourth question: You have the right to do so, in my opinion, but if you do it your exegesis of the Bible is the most awful thing to ever occur, and I will badmouth you to all my colleagues as a terrible human being. Social pressure is a wondrous thing, and it’s telling that those against this bill do not believe such sufficient.
            Fifth question: But if a florist refused to provide for such I would say that he is within his bounds.

          • Marcus_V

            So, here is what I take from your spectrum answers, and again, I hope I’m interpreting this correctly: This law allows discrimination for any sale of any item to anyone who MIGHT BE involved in a relationship of which the seller disapproves on religious grounds. That’s what I take from the answers about selling flowers to gay people for Valentine’s day (where the presumption is a romantic relationship), or a gay bar (where the presumption seems to be much weaker– gay people like to get together and drink with their peers without it automatically leading to sex just like everyone else.) I meant the birthday gift question to mean, from a gay spouse to his or her gay spouse, but I was unclear so I’ll ignore that.

            (Again, it’s hard to interpret “same category of wrongness…” instead of a straight up yes or no answer, but clearly some people think those things are wrong on religious grounds, therefore….)

            That’s certainly the take away for the miscegenation and second wedding questions, as well.

            So my problem here is that by your admission, this law enables discrimination. By my interpretation of your answers, that allowance is broad enough that it enables discrimination against people based on presumptive acts, like the Valentines Day flowers or the flowers for a gay bar. This is an interpretation so broad as to be indistinguishable from simple discrimination on who the person is and what group he or she belongs to, rather than any activity that will be taking place.

            That is why people are calling foul: It is a law supposed to be about X, but indistinguishable from a law with very objectionable effects Y; it is a law which gives cover to do Y under the shield of X.

            Although it is not necessary to my case, I would add that I think this is why many religious people who object to the law are doing so very vocally: They feel used, in the same measure as the minority targets of this law feel (potentially) abused.

            And finally, strictly as a side note, I find it very curious that you bring up the social pressure aspect as the right way to handle this. That is EXACTLY what people are doing in bringing pressure to bear against the Indiana legislature, which now seems to have capitulated. Surely you can’t be claiming that it is okay for you to apply social pressure, but not for those who disagree with you.

          • Tom

            No, you apply social pressure to the people engaged in “discrimination,” whatever that means. That having been said, I have no objection to people carping at the Indiana state legislature, and I have no idea why you think I am against such. I think the people doing so are clueless and in some cases malicious, but I have no quarrel with their means.
            I think you mistook my meaning for questions two and three, but I spoke in such a way as to be easily misunderstood. So far as I know, no one has yet objected to providing flowers for a gay bar–since I regularly roam leftist corners of the Internet in addition to here, I would have heard of such. I will follow this herring no longer.
            Me, I think a private business has a right to sell its services to whomever they wish, or to not sell to whomever they wish–Christian, gay, white, black, purple with pink polka dots–but that the resultant social consequences are on their own heads. The state should not be involved.

          • Marcus_V

            I wasn’t asking if it had happened, I was asking about the morality and objectionableness of the act, so that I could establish whether the law could be used as a shield against it. I don’t consider it to be a herring, I consider it very important to my line of thought.

            I think it is clear that it can, and I think it is clear– from the timing of the insertion of the language and the initial refusal to clarify– that it was intended as such.

            And finally, by your own words bringing color into the argument, I think I was correct in my original assessment: This is just a means to undo half a century of anti-discrimination.

            Having stated our cases and not convinced each other, I see no reason for either of us to continue.

            But I do hope TAI reads this and reconsiders its position.

          • Tom

            Your third paragraph makes no sense.

          • Boritz

            What makes you think there should be a burden of proof on a florist to answer to you? Explain in detail.

          • Marcus_V

            In detail: I’m not asking the florist, I’m asking the people defending the discriminatory law.
            And ultimately, when brought to court, the court will be interested in the florist’s reasoning anyway.

  • Dan Greene

    Well, well, why is it that TAI wasn’t this judicious and reflective when Russia enacted a rather limited law that had the effect of marginally limiting gay rights in Russia? Then, TAI in the throes of anti-Russian fervor. Said one author a little more than a year ago:

    “As athletes and pundits alike prepare for the big unknowns of the Sochi 2014 Olympics, much of the world’s focus will be on the all too real threat ofNorth Caucasus terrorism, Russia’s retrograde anti-gay legislation, credible allegations of massive corruption, and the ghosts of Tsarist-era ethnic cleansing.”

    And there are countless more examples of strident criticism of Russia for treatment of gays, leaving aside other criticisms. But when it’s Indiana instead of Russia in the red state heartland, TAI is ever so nuanced in its exposition. This author complains about the absence of “reflection and compromise” which was a complaint many Russians made when the western media, including this publication, was in full cry on the subject of gay rights in Russia.

    Gee, it’s all just so darn different when the issue becomes about holding together a fragile economic-social-political conservative coalition here in the US. Somehow, political expediency just seems to change reality altogether. Funny how that works.

    • Proud Skeptic

      The explanation is that the Russian situation limited the rights of gays. These RFRA laws don’t limit anyone’s rights. They support the rights of religion which, in my humble opinion, are equal in importance to the rights of gay people. The concerns over the RFRA impinging on the rights of gays are largely extrapolation and conjecture.

      And, as we know, if there becomes a situation where some party feels that they have been damaged as a result of these laws then they can sue and, as has happened a zillion times in the past, they may win and cause the law to change. There is a perfectly good system in place to deal with this.

      Too much hyperventilating going on over this.

      • Dan Greene

        I agree that there is too much hyperventilating, but the Russian law covered this:

        “In June 2013, Russia passed a federal law banning the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. Article 6.21 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses was approved by the State Duma in a 436-0 vote prior to being signed in by Vladimir Putin.”

        The law impeding the distribution of certain types of promotional literature to minors is less expansive than the RFRA. And we have plenty of laws in effect that prevent various kinds of interaction with minors. Clearly, RFRA was passed largely with homosexuality in mind. It certainly wasn’t about Indian eagle feathers, for goodness sake. And what is the nature of the right to distribute information to minors any way?

        Bottom line: You’re not convincing me that there is not a significant inconsistency in the way TAI is covering this subtle anti-gay law with its potentially very wide application from the more explicit Russian law with its much narrower scope.

      • FriendlyGoat

        There is no such thing as “rights of religion”. Congress shall not pass laws prohibiting you, as a person, freely exercising religion if you want to do so. But religion itself has no rights except in Islamic countries where they wrote it into constitutions.

        • seattleoutcast

          There is a right to the free expression of religion. That is in the first amendment. You might want to look it up, it’s near the freedom of speech part.

          Do you not agree that forcing Catholics to provide for contraception is a violation of the rights of Catholics to exercise their religious freedom?

          • FriendlyGoat

            No one should force a Catholic (or anyone else) to have an abortion. Why would you ask such a question?

          • seattleoutcast

            Obviously you’re not reading about the ramifications of Obamacare.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Obamacare is not forcing anyone to have an abortion. Who tells you this stuff?

          • seattleoutcast

            I said contraception, not abortion.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Are you reading your own comments?

    • FriendlyGoat

      You are quite right that TAI is busy here inappropriately defending its beloved Republicans of Indiana on their very questionable law. There are only so many gay weddings, so many photographers and so many bakers in that state, after all. And no gay person in a right mind should seek wedding services from a business owner who despises him or her anyway. Who wants a hate cake?

      I’d be much more concerned about the other ways this thing could be used. It was passed to give certain church people a supposed license to thumb their noses at the will of people as expressed through courts and government AND to polarize individuals. It won’t be long before we hear of this thing creeping into many debates besides gay/straight. Disapprove of people who believe in abortion? Shun them. Disapprove of people who are atheists? Shun them. Disapprove of evolution in curriculum? Attack it on RFRA. We can only wait to see how it will be used. Hopefully, journalists will cover the other crazy consequences too.

      • seattleoutcast

        Or disapprove of climate deniers? Shun them. Disapprove of gun lovers, faith lovers? Shun them. There is far more opprobrium on the left than on the right, which is why this is all just a leftist canard.

        I assume you want to deny Muslim caterers to refuse serving hot dogs, or Jewish caterers refusing to serve cheeseburgers, correct?

        • FriendlyGoat

          What I “want” is for the people of Indiana to mostly ignore this law and “use” it for nothing, proving that they never needed such a thing in the first place——or—-let the rest of us know SOON how nutty it can get. The fact that you have a lot of name-brand incorporated businesses wanting nothing to do with this is an indication of where the high ground is.

          • Tom

            I thought what the corporations wanted was bad for the rest of America…

          • FriendlyGoat

            You did? I’ve never heard you say that before. Wow.

          • Tom

            Sarcasm, Goat. I hope you got that.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Discernment (and a degree of exhaustion), Tom. I hope you got that, too.

          • seattleoutcast

            Soooo, you’re ignoring my question.

            I guess what you “want” is for other people to do what you “want”, rather than respect people’s property rights. It can go nutty in many ways. I suppose I could go into a gay bakery and demand a cake that says, “Congrats for getting your son to end his homosexual perversion.” Would you prefer that I am allowed to do that?

            You see how nutty you sound? This all makes more sense when a business owner has the right to refuse service. If name brand businesses want to allow whomever into their business then that shows the exact point of the law. You are narrow minded and woefully ignorant and a member of the Cult of Social Justice.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Many businesses have posted signs in their facilities notifying the patrons, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. Most of us have seen those for most of our lives and we understand why they might be used to refuse customers who are improperly clad, drunk, unruly, rude to other patrons, etc. They generally have nothing to do with religion. We really don’t need commercial laws justified on religious beliefs.

            You and I are both aware that this thing is blowing up in Indiana at the moment. I suspect the legislature is going to come under pressure to re-visit the subject . We can all wait and see how it plays out there.

          • seattleoutcast

            What’s blowing up is the refusal of people to bend to the demagoguery of political correctness. The right to property allows one to refuse service to anyone. Sometimes it’s stupid, sometimes it’s valid. It’s a lot like the right to free speech, where idiots can spew racist ideas or wise people can discuss the virtues of the writings of Edmund Burke.

            You automatically call people with religious views “gay haters”. This reveals to me your own religious views as a member of the Cult of Social Justice. You don’t care about homosexuals at all. What you want is to push an anti-Christian agenda. Calling someone a gay hater is the same as calling someone a climate denier. Both use failed Alinsky tactics. You pretend to take the moral high ground, but we know that you are a dirty little fascist whose agenda is to rail Christianity out of this country.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You and I have not had the opportunity to converse here much. I am in my sixties, still married to only one woman for over 40 years. I was raised in a church and regularly attended several different ones for the first 2/3 of my life. I have never spoken ill of either Christians or Jesus, here or anywhere else. As far as I’m concerned, Jesus is who he said he was and I accepted him a long, long time ago.

            I have become more politically liberal in older age because I believe that modern conservatives are on the wrong side of nearly everything, including many misled church people. The idea of opposition to abortion, for instance, being the justification for people to want more and more high-end tax cuts, disregard of the environment, unlimited guns, disenfranchisement of voters, stratification of society on wealth, denial of health care to poor people, and discrimination against races, genders and sexual orientations strikes me as nuts. I do think a lot of our church people have gone politically nuts. Christianity is Jesus. It is not worship of the Jewish commandments or worship of end-times speculation or worship of Calvinism.

            So, please find some other bogeyman to criticize as trying to ban the faith. I’m busy looking for people who still have and care about the actual faith. Republican ideology does not represent it, you know.

          • seattleoutcast

            You are a typical boomer. Self righteous, self indulgent and totally ignorant of every other generation. This is because there are so many of you. You have defined what is right and what is wrong and you expect everyone else to follow suit.

            I’m not surprised you’re growing more and more liberal in your elder years. You’ve sucked enough out of the system and now you need to vote liberal to suck out more.

            Guess what? There is a new generation nipping at your heels. We’ve been in your shadow for twenty five years and have watched you destroy this country. You’ve never noticed us because you were too obsessed with yourself and your millennial children. It’s too bad though, because we’re taking over everything, and everything you hate is what we find necessary for a functional economy. What you consider nuts is what America used to be. Those nuts are what gave us the prosperity that you now take for granted.

            And, by the way, you liberals are responsible for the stratification of this economy. Do you even read WRM’s posts?

            Read the Fourth Turning.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If you’re in the younger generation, I don’t blame you for being frustrated about jobs. You need to realize that high-end tax cuts already done are your problem, not your solution.

            I wish you had wanted to talk about faith. You claimed that was an important issue to you, but I guess not.

          • seattleoutcast

            Faith is not important to me. What is important is the free exercise of that faith. And that means that some people are going to find out that they will disagree with others. This has worked for over 200 years, but suddenly it doesn’t. That tells me the left’s anger over this law has nothing to do with “gay hating”, but with their continuous attempt to destroy Christianity.

            I have a job. I am in my forties. Millennials don’t have jobs because of what WRM has continuously talked about on his website. Much of the problem is that people on the left are trying to use solutions that worked in the 1930s. Those solutions do not work today because we are in the information age, not the industrial age. Big government programs, big government fixes to anything, including how we speak is the equivalent of using leeches for medicine. Millennials are in debt because boomers run the academic world. Boomers are more than willing to put their own children in debt to live a life of luxury.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If faith is not important to you, it should be. Defending the faith of other people is tiring, if you don’t have any yourself. Furthermore, you run into the pesky problem of not having any idea what you’re talking about.

            Members of a generation are not all of one mind. I have proven that to you by being resistant to most of the crap written in this comment section——by conservative boomers.

            I hope you find sense and happiness. You are fighting a war from the wrong side and will end up more and more bitter. Get on the political side that wants rights for people—-not rights for organizations, corporations, belief “systems” and mindless herds. Good night, Seattle.

      • Fred

        I’m probably wasting finger motion, banging my keyboard against your wall of ideological blindness, but if you owned a catering business, would you or would you not refuse to cater a Ku Klux Klan meeting? If you were a photographer, would you or would you not refuse to photograph or videotape a neo-Nazi rally? Surely, that would be discrimination on the basis of political beliefs. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, I’m not comparing gays to Klansmen or gay weddings to Nazi rallies. I am comparing your refusal to participate in an event you consider immoral with anyone else’s refusal to participate in an event they consider immoral. And your slippery slope argument is absurdly fallacious.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Somehow, no one has made much noise in our lifetimes about needing special states laws in this country to avoid “serving” the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis. I wonder why that has slipped through the legislative cracks until now (when only you—–as far as we know—-brought it up).

          • seattleoutcast

            Right. No one has until you nutty lefties decided to shove your ideology onto the American landscape.

          • FriendlyGoat


          • seattleoutcast

            Weak? Really? I watched you take over my college campus in the early 90s. Once you lefties became tenured you unleashed two decades of ideology down the throats of unsuspecting students. What is weak is how you hide behind the facade of the academic podium and pretend to be objective.

            Thanks to WRM I now know that your tenure is over.

          • FriendlyGoat

            In the first half of the 1990’s I was busy being employed in a conservative-tended company. In the second half of that decade, I was operating my own very small business.

            I don’t know who “took over” your college campus, but it wasn’t me. I have never been in academia (or government).

          • seattleoutcast

            When I say you, I mean the dogmatic left who believes in one world view. People like you who pretend you’re tolerant but really aren’t. And don’t feign anything by saying conservative-tended. That means nothing. I work for a hippy, that makes me far from being a hippy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Check out my other immediate reply to you. Your accusations are misplaced (and overdone),

  • charlesrwilliams

    Presumably a florist or photographer who refused to serve a gay couple who planned a “wedding” would refuse two heterosexual men who wanted to “wed.” So where is the discrimination? The discrimination is not against people it is against participating in certain immoral activities. This kind of discrimination is laudable. And traditionally discrimination is a virtue.

    The truth is that a man cannot marry a man, no matter what the state or the courts say. But those of us who uphold the truth must be silenced, or even worse we must be compelled to endorse what we know to be wrong.

    • lhfry

      Yes – will two heterosexuals be allowed to “marry” under the new rules? One can imagine probably mostly single mothers viewing the economic benefits of marriage as attractive. For example, pension and social security survivorship rights. Or what if one sibling had cared all his or her life for a handicapped sibling and wanted to ensure that the handicapped sibling could benefit from his pension after death? Would they be permitted to marry?

  • Corlyss

    One thing and one thing alone explains this story, rendered fatuous by the fact that the law is virtually the same as the Feds law: Pence is thinking about running for Doofus’ job in 2016. He’s probably too late to get in now, BUT that doesn’t matter to the morons in both the gay-rights movement and the vicious lying Democrat ops who will stop at nothing to replace a legitimate constitutional right called out by the actual words in the Bill of Rights with a feigned “right” imputed to a “penumbra” of the search and seizure clause. I’ve seen this coming since 2005. It will happen in our lifetimes.

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