BACKLASH OVER THE SHOTS AT INDIANA
SUGGESTS A CHANGE IN PUBLIC ATTITUDE
Indiana has really been taking a beating.
But Hoosiers can thank God for bringing the Final Four to Indianapolis just as a storm was breaking over the “crossroads of America.” Only our national sports mania would have been sufficient to disrupt the tidal wave of hypocrisy building since passage of the infamous Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
With all the fuss and bluster, you’d think Indiana’s new law restricted LGBTs from shopping outside of San Francisco or Greenwich Village.
The President weighed in on the controversy, in an oblique way, but with his usual more-Christian-than-thou pomposity…
“On Easter, I do reflect that as a Christian, I am supposed to love,” he commented at a White House prayer breakfast. “I have to say that sometimes, when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.”
…a line which The Blaze reports drew applause and laughter from attendees.
“Where there is injustice, we defend the oppressed. Where there is disagreement, we treat each other with compassion and respect. Where there are differences, we find strength in our common humanity, knowing that we are all children of God.
“Isn’t it how Jesus lived? Isn’t that how he loved? Embracing those that were different. Serving the marginalized. Humbling himself to the last. This is the example we are called to follow. To love him with all our hearts, mind and soul and to love our neighbors, all our neighbors, as ourselves.”
Never mind that Jesus usually followed up such expressions of openness with His less-fondly-remembered line: “Go and sin no more.”
Most politicians have trouble speaking authentically in the language of faith. But there’s something about these Obamian Bible references that gives them an especially pretentious ring. Obama’s words on the current controversy are a good illustration — particularly in light of White House Spokesman Josh Earnest’s assertion that the President finds such laws as Indiana’s RFRA “unthinkable.”
Passing a similar statute in Illinois apparently wasn’t unthinkable to then-State Senator Barack Obama — who voted for it in 1998 (it carried 86-0). Indiana’s Governor Mike Pense pointed out this inconvenient fact. And Andrew T. Walker of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission provided an additional pertinent detail in National Review…
“Obama voted for the state’s RFRA despite Illinois’s not having elevated sexual orientation or gender identity to the level of a protected class. In fact, sexual orientation didn’t become a part of the state’s Human Rights Act until 2006.”
Well, that was then; this is now. And Barack Obama isn’t the only politician who tends to forget earlier advocacies and stances. Ask Hillary Clinton, whose husband signed the federal RFRA in 1993 but who tweeted the following about Indiana…
“Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.”
Of course, the presumed first-woman-President (and serial emailer) has frequent trouble with her memory. But then, as she said about Benghazi, “What difference does it make?”
My own sense of the situation is that all the self-righteous posturing — along with such ancillary mischief as that casual attack on Walkerton, Indiana’s Memories Pizza by WBND TV News Reporter Alyssa Marino (the sweet-faced little South Bend news chick I mentioned in my last post) — have somewhat backfired.
It’s beginning to dawn on people that the gay rights movement might not be quite the benign, open-hearted quest for simple equity which it presents itself as being. Could those threats to religious liberty which conservatives warned are implicit in same-sex marriage be real?
As I pointed out in my recent American Thinker essay, employing the law to compel someone’s complicity in someone else’s sinful behavior, which is the goal gay activists have pursued aggressively in courts and legislatures across the land…
“does not advance rights. It advances tyranny. More than that, it becomes what you might call a kind of moral rape” (which is to say rape of an individual’s conscience).
One straw in the wind is Springfield, Missouri, where citizens just voted 51.4 percent to repeal an ordinance providing protection for LGBTs against discrimination in housing and hiring based on sexual orientation and gender identity which was enacted by the city council last October. As the Associated Press reports…
“Opponents of the anti-discrimination ordinance said it was poorly written and that a Human Rights Commission set up by the city had too much power to investigate and sanction.
“‘The churches were startled and alarmed and began to get involved (in repealing the ordinance). They were the target,’ said Calvin Morrow, one of the leaders of a Christian group which supported repeal.”
While opposition has been building since before the law’s passage, it’s safe to assume that the smell of totalitarianism accompanying all the protests in Indiana made its way to Missouri, giving the Springfield repeal effort a timely boost. I think people in other parts of the country are catching a whiff as well. Indeed, the gay lobby appears to be overplaying its hand.
People are getting pissed off — as could be seen in the outpouring of support for the O’Connor family, owners of Memories Pizza. At the urging of Rush Limbaugh and other high-profile figures, donors to a fund set up to aid the O’Connors’ resistance to LGBT bullying contributed $842,387.
You could hear the distinct sound of gagging when the gay-advocating New Civil Rights Movement cited a Daily Mail report that the O’Connors…
“are set to share their new fortune with disabled children, a women’s help group, fire fighters, police trusts, Christian churches and Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, 70, who was fined after declaring she would not serve a gay wedding.”
Paterfamilias Kevin O’Connor captured the dominant public attitude toward LGBTs — which isn’t at all the fear and loathing we’re told grips the nation…
“I don’t hate these people. They are just angry. I am not really sure what they are so angry about. So many things today are topsy turvey. What used to be wrong is now right and what used to be right is now wrong. I don’t hold anything against them.”
“If any child of mine came out as gay and entered into a gay marriage, I would still love them, but Daddy wouldn’t be going to the wedding.”
Wherever you stand on questions like gay rights and same-sex marriage, this whole controversy exists because of a fallacy which has been widely accepted and embedded in our legal system. It’s the idea that government should have the power to regulate what people think and to criminalize (or at the least, delegitimize) those opinions which the dominant elite consider retrograde.
The Founders left us the First Amendment precisely because they understood that people are entitled to their beliefs, regardless of how obnoxious they may be to other people around them.
Sure, there are such things as sedition and inflammatory rhetoric. I get that there are limits to speech. But those limits exist at the point of incitement to illegal action. Not at disagreement or social unpleasantness.
I addressed this topic in a June 2013 post that examined the notion of hate (or thought) crimes. In that piece I cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church which says…
“Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials, and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing everything they consider ‘thought crimes.’”
The gay rights movement, and especially the drive for same-sex marriage, have been pushing this country in that totalitarian direction about which the Church warns. Fortunately, we’re beginning to see some genuine push-back.
As Kevin O’Connor’s remark suggests, most people are not filled with hate. They just want to know that what’s right is right. And they don’t like being told they’re evil for wanting that.
Perhaps a certain kind or restoration has begun in Indiana. The famous song that bears the state’s name may always have held a vague portent of it…
Fancy paints on mem’ry’s canvas
Scenes that we hold dear
We recall them in days after
Clearly they appear
And often times I see
A scene that’s dear to me
Back home again in Indiana
I live about a half hour from Indiana. Maybe I should drive over there and breath the scent of change in the air.
That is, if the state’s politicians don’t cave and blow their opportunity to be trend-setters.
Patheos blogger and former Oklahoma state legislator Rebecca Hamilton is in tune with my feeling that same-sex marriage advocates are pushing too hard. Take a few minutes to read her powerful warning to gay activists that they are risking all they’ve gained by attacking the very First Amendment rights on which they themselves depend…
“Gay rights leaders need to consider carefully what they are doing by broadening and continuing this fight for what they said all along they never wanted, which was to force people to violate their religious beliefs and participate in gay marriage against their wills.
“They need to consider it, because it does not advance their cause of gaining public support. In the long run, this kind of behavior will raise up an opposition against them that is unlike anything they have ever encountered before.
“They also need to consider that the freedoms they are attacking keep them free as well as everyone else. They are seeking affirmation by attacking the basic freedoms on which they have been able to advance their own cause.”
She also observes presciently that the gay rights movement has sold itself to political and corporate interests that are not really their dependable friends…
Jordan Lorence is senior counsel for the faith-based legal lobbying group, Alliance Defending Freedom. Interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, he insisted that the idea of business people with religious scruples arbitrarily denying service to gays is a fiction of the left. And he insisted there is an authentic standard by which to determine whether conscience objections are genuine…
“The threshold for denying services in a religious protection case, he said, is whether the task required by the religious person is ‘expressive.’ Does the job involve some sort of creativity?”
Some evangelical leaders are convinced that the U.S. Supreme Court will knock down all legal barriers to same-sex marriage, and that this will bring on a crisis for American churches. According to Life Site News, this will prompt Christians to nonviolent direct action…
“We believe that the majority of the Court will rule in favor of elevating what we have always taught to be a sinful lifestyle to the stature of a civil right — forcing us to choose between their ruling and our religious convictions that are based on Scripture,” said Rick Scarborough, a former Southern Baptist minister who now heads Vision America Action. “Christians are being declared the lawbreakers when we are simply living by what we have always believed and by a set of laws that the culture historically has agreed to.”…
Surveying all the huffing and puffing by lefty (or gay) corporate types about RFRA (e.g. Apple’s Tim Cook), business writer and entrepreneur Carol Roth suggests that company leaders might want to think twice about public venting of their righteous indignation in ways that can risk offense to customers and possible loss of business. Writing on the website of Entrepreneur Magazine, she writes…
“Given the reading comprehension skills of the average Internet user, it is very likely that what you say will be misinterpreted, misunderstood and somehow framed in a way that you hadn’t intended.”
Ouch! That hurts. But she’s got a good point — several of them, in fact…
As is frequently the case, polls claiming to gauge public attitudes on the question of conscience protections for businesses have presented conflicting data.
- The Pew Research Center tells us that opinions are split…
- The Public Religion Research Institute says that eight out of ten Americans are against allowing businesses to refuse service…
- And research conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion holds that 65 percent of Americans oppose penalties for businesses acting on conscience objections…
Make of all this what you will.
Published in 1917, the song “Back Home Again in Indiana” (or just “Indiana”) was written by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley, the team that also wrote “Rose of Washington Square.” While it’s not the official state song of Indiana, it’s become something on an institution at the Indianapolis 500.
Count on politicians to cave under pressure. Indiana’s GOP-lead legislature and Republican governor have “adjusted” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a way which attorney Dennis Saffran says makes the Hoosier State the least protective of faith rights. Follow the money…