100% All-Natural Content
No Artificial Intelligence!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act: An affirmation of liberty, and other thoughts

Some musings on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act now on the books in Indiana and that so many are in a tizzy about...

The act does not discriminate.

The act is not "anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-bisexual, anti-transexual" or anti-anything at all. Nowhere in the text of the legislation is there found a clause stipulating that any one or any group in particular is to be given any less protection under the law.

The act simply reasserts something that Amendment One of the Bill of Rights has codified for well over two hundred years: that there is a right to assembly and association. This also means that there is just as much a right to NON-association.

The act simply does as its title indicates: it allows for individuals and businesses to not provide a service if doing so violates the religious beliefs of that individual or business.

There are many people who do not believe that such a valid concept exists as "gay marriage" or any other kind of marital relationship apart from one man and one woman. These people have a right to those beliefs even if they are not agreed to.

The act asserts the rights of such people to act in accordance to their religious beliefs.

The act applies across the board to every citizen of the state of Indiana. Thus, a Moslem photographer cannot be compelled to be hired for a Jewish bar mitzvah. A Jewish carpenter cannot be forced under penalty to build a creche for a church’s Nativity scene. A Christian-owned bakery will not be obligated to bake a cake meant for a homosexual marriage celebration. And a homosexual-owned catering service cannot be made against their will to provide food for the "God Hates Fags" nuts at Westboro Baptist Church.

Those who are against the act have every right in the world to look for another business with which to solicit service as a customer.

Why are two homosexuals who want a wedding cake going to a bakery that they know is against homosexual marriage, anyway? Are there no more bakeries around, or could it be that they desire to forcefully compel that bakery to provide against its owners beliefs?

If the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is going to legalize discrimination and if those against the act are concerned about it on such a vast scale, then logically they have accused most of the people of the state of Indiana of being pro-discrimination and that said discrimination is deeply entrenched in that state's society. I have to wonder what most citizens of Indiana would think of that.

Those who are in favor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are not consumed by hate toward anyone.
And if they were, I would not want to associate with those people. Christians are not to hate anyone. But that does not mean that Christians must give approval of behavior that according to their convictions is sinful.

The ones who are most preaching "tolerance" seem to be rabidly intolerant of those who hold to the beliefs of marriage being solely between man and woman.

The ones who are most preaching "tolerance" seem to be rabidly intolerant of, for the most part, Christians.

Businesses have the right to serve or turn away who they wish. If a business does not want me as a customer, it can do so. Just as I can choose not to solicit service from that business or any other. If a business so chooses to discriminate, I have the right to go to or not go to that business. If a business decides it will no longer serve celibate white males with bipolar disorder, then I will not try to force the issue and neither would I want to. Neither would I try to be a customer of a business that discriminates against women or other ethnic groups. I will gladly take my money elsewhere.

Those against the act are naturally welcome to boycott Indiana. However such boycotts in general are counter-productive.

I would even dare say that boycotting the entire state of Indiana is akin to cutting off one’s face in spite of his or her nose.

The people who disagree with those against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are not "bigots". They do not hate anyone. They are not followers of an outdated religion. They are not pro-discrimination. I have been called all of these things and more in the past few days, by people who do not know what they are talking about.

If a church is truly discriminating against homosexuals, I would not want to be a part of that church. Jesus loved the prostitutes, the tax collectors, and every other sinner as much as He loved His disciples. So must I. But neither did Jesus affirm or approve of their sins. Neither can I. He told them to "go and sin no more." So they must. So must I, for that matter. No church should turn away any sinner. But no church must be compelled to give approval to any sin, either.

There are already laws such as Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in place in 19 other states. That is almost 40 percent of the country. These states seem strangely bereft of any boycotting on the part of those who are anti-Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

It has been a very long time since I have seen any alleged discussion as has been about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act with so much incivility and raw hatred. And the vast majority of it seems to be coming from those against the act.

I like to think that we can be better than that.

You are free to agree or disagree with me as you wish. Regardless, Jesus loves you and so do I.


T H said...

Think of it this way:

You are a Christian who owns a fine restaurant. If a group of homosexuals come in to eat then you have to serve them. Refusing to do that IS discrimination. The function of your restaurant is to provide food for nourishment. You are serving them as any other human being. If you turned them away they would be within their rights to sue you.

You are a Christian who owns a fine restaurant. A group of homosexuals want to rent your fine dining room for a homosexual wedding. You can refuse and it IS NOT discrimination because that is not the fundamental function of your restaurant. It is something you have discretion toward deciding, if it is against your religion.

Just coming in to eat cannot be discriminated. Using your place for an event can be discriminated.

That's how I understand the law.

Geoff Gentry said...

It is a shame that law have to be put in to place to confirm the rights guaranteed in the 1st amendment. The legal rulings that have come down in the nation are the equivalent of saying, you can believe whatever you want, you just cannot act on those beliefs. How is it truly a belief if I cannot act on it. How do I truly have freedom of speech when I'm not allowed to express it?

Chris Knight said...

TH that is a very excellent way of putting it! Another analogy came into mind after I read that.

Some have dared say that the RFRA means a private hospital can turn down anyone who comes to the emergency room. That's ridiculous. It's not just the law, but a chief tenet of the medical profession that aid be given to the best of the ability of the physician and staff. Not doing so because the patient "isn't good enough" is grounds for a COLOSSAL malpractice lawsuit. And rightly so.

However, coming to the hospital of your own volition and threatening legal action because they refuse to give you the sex-change operation you want is NOT unjustifiable discrimination. It would be laughed out of court (at least in a sane world).

One situation is a life-threatening issue beyond the patient's control. The other could easily be considered a cosmetic procedure resulting from a patient's deliberate intentions.

There are many hospitals owned by religious organizations. Without the protections codified by the RFRA, the sex-change patient *could* attempt to sue such hospitals for not giving him the surgery he demands. What are those hospitals to do? Capitulate under threat of legal action, or hold to its principles that such surgery is morally wrong?

An absurd example, but hopefully one that communicates the point.

Geoff: well said, brother.

Anonymous said...

what's a shame is, in 2015 people still believe in bronze age fairy tales.

Anonymous said...

Its people like you who hold the rest of us back from progress. This Indiana law makes things unfair for the LBGT community. Stop hating because your book says so. Its only time before Christains are gotten rid of.

Jadi said...

Like Chris and other posters have said, this bill only signed for a right that Americans already had... If it's a private business, short of failing the regulatory authority standards, there's little the government should be able to do.

From a business POV, it would be smarter to serve someone because that's business for them, that's money, that's building a client base. However, if they think they can afford not to serve someone, that's been their right since the Bill of Rights was written.

From a consumer POV, well, if they don't want to serve you, there are others that will.

Honestly, the only thing this did was cause a controversy.

jessicaash2003@yahoo.com said...

Chris, you made a comment about people thinking the law would mean a private hospital can turn down anyone who comes to the emergency room. I have a real life example for you, one that actually happened to a friend of mine. Several years ago, my friend was turned down for treatment of cancer by over a dozen doctors, for no other reason than that he was a transsexual man. By the time he found a doctor who would treat him, it was too late. The last year of his life was documented in a film called "Southern Comfort". Discrimination against LGBT people is very real
Chris, and this law will indeed lead to more discrimination. It's only a matter of time until someone says they don't want to serve Jews, or Muslims, or even Christians, due to "religious freedom". Laws like this don't lead to a slippery slope, Chris, they lead to a cliff, and it's only a matter of time until someone goes over or pushes someone over the edge.

godsgirl2003 said...

Thank you Chris for trying to help people understand this law.Just as with anything in life people have a right to understand this law or not,some people are just looking for anything they can argue over,sadly it's who they are. When someone wishes for an entire group of people to disappear because they don't share their view is extremely sad,and speaks volumes of that individuals deeply rooted hate and need to control other people's beliefs and freedom. Maybe they should seriously consider talking to a therapist to work through their issues. I believe this law is simply clarifying the free choice of all people.