I was going to write a long winded post about the ‘Religious Freedom’ law signed by Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence today but I decided Brandan Robertson, on his blog Revangelical, made the kind of point I would be making. Basically, laws like Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ law makes a mockery out of ideals of fair and equal treatment that evolved from the civil rights struggle.
Despite the fearful picture that is being painted by many legislators and religious leaders about the future of our country once marriage equality is passed, this reality remains true: The religious beliefs and convictions of all Americans are fully protected by both national and state law in all 50 states. No individual will ever be forced to promote or renounce a religious belief and no churches will ever be made to offer sacraments to those they deem unfit. It is true, however, that public businesses and corporations that serve the general public will be required to offer fair and equal treatment and service to all people- regardless of their race, creed, political party, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or gender identity. And it is this that new RFRA bills are subversively trying to dismantle.
Can you imagine walking up to a store window and seeing a sign that says, “No LGBTQ People Allowed”. Would you want to support that retailer? What if it said, “No Jews Allowed”? This is essentially what RFRA’s will allow businesses across their state to do, recreating the climate that existed in our country prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
Religious bigots seem to have the idea that if they can make laws like Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act that they can negate the civil rights of LGBTQ people or people who follow religions they don’t agree with.
These RFRAs aren’t needed and hopefully they will be ruled unconstitutional but if states insist on passing them then there should be a clause requiring the business to put up a sign stating explicitly the people they won’t serve like what was proposed in Oklahoma. Businesses shouldn’t be allowed to hide when hurting people.