Everyone’s Rights Matter in America: Except Those of Faith

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People of faith in America dare to believe what they believe in – and are paying the price. A pro-faith law in Indiana is declared anti-gay:

Marc Benioff​ is breathing fire; threatening to take his money (founder, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, a cloud computing company) and leave. Sir Charles Barkley wants the Final Four pulled from Indiana. Gen Con​ said it will relocate if the bill passes and other individuals, organizations and companies are considering their options. Why?

Because Indiana Governor Mike Pence​ signed a bill protecting people following the tenets of their faith from government; the appropriately named Religious Freedom Restoration Act (text of bill). Is all the hoopla justified? No. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act3Pence has taken what is being seen as an unpopular position in order to protect people’s rights from being violated by the government.

The bill regulates the Indiana state government. It doesn’t address private party disputes unless the government attempts to insert itself into one.

This is both honorable and appropriate. Those excoriating Pence and Indiana are behaving as if the bill will encourage discrimination when, in fact, the exact opposite is true.

Pence’s taking an unpopular position in order to protect people’s rights means he understands that protecting rights is the proper role of government. The Declaration’s authors penned that this was a self evident truth. And there is no evidence suggesting Pence will be any less vigorous in defending the rights of his homosexual and lesbian citizens than he is in protecting the rights of his religious citizens. When asked if it should be legal to discriminate against homosexuals and lesbians, Pence responded, “Hoosiers don’t believe in discrimination.”

Religious Freedom Restoration Act1Pence is not alone. Indiana joins some 30 other states which have either written the federal “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” into their state law or passed something similar.

Interestingly, the federal bill was passed in the 90s with support from Nancy Pelosi and signed by Bill Clinton.

When adding it to Illinois law was being debated by the Illinois legislature, guess which Illinois state senator voted for it?

Unfortunately, there is always the option of elevating possibilities over principles. Boycotts of Indiana over this bill are not based in principle unless one’s principles call for the government to be able to run roughshod over citizens. Pence mentions two cases where government has tried to do exactly that. We all remember what the government tried to do to Hobby Lobby and Notre Dame under the guise of the Affordable Care Act

It makes you wonder. Are those calling for boycotts just not smart enough to figure this out? Might there be another agenda in play? Are they so afraid of trusting their fellow Americans that they require government to force a false morality on them? Or is it simply more bad behavior by people refusing the clear call of reason and American values?

Should calls for damage to Indiana succeed, I will be hard pressed not to take this as evidence of America’s teetering on the precipice. On one hand lies the safe, solid ground of reason, principles and traditional American values. On the other side lies the long fall to the rocks through insubstantial emotions, feelings and mobocracy.

Time was we did the right thing because it was right and inconveniences to us and consequences be damned. Today we often seem to do what feels good or take counsel of our fears with no thought for right and wrong; moral and immoral. Make no mistake. Benioff, Barkley and the rest are behaving immorally. They are wrong. Following their lead is dangerous. They are equating emotion and fear with principle. May God have mercy on America and the planet if we succumb to the temptation to determine right and wrong in that fashion.

Tim Cook and Other Tech Leaders Speak Out Against Indiana’s so-called ‘anti-gay’ Law

Silicon Valley’s focus on profits and innovation took a back seat to politics this week, as several high-profile technology executives publicly rebuked Indiana’s new law, which allows businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers. On Friday, one day after the bill was signed into law, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly criticized the state’s actions via Twitter. Earlier in the week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff took a similar stance on the matter, tweeting, “today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.” The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law on Thursday by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who, during a press conference, referred to negative reactions to the law as “a misunderstanding.”

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