Fischer: Non-Discrimination Laws are Slavery

Bryan Fischer is furious that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana has asked the state assembly to modify the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was just passed to make clear that the law may not be used to excuse discrimination by businesses against gay people. Slavery, he cries. Slavery!

As Fischer explained it, when Gov. Mike Pence said that the law should be clarified to make clear that no business will have the right to deny services to customers, he seemed to be signaling that religious bakers or florists or photographers will be compelled to provide their services to gay weddings, which is unconstitutional because slavery was outlawed under the Thirteenth Amendment.

“I’m afraid Governor Pence is dangerously close to allowing the homosexual lobby to get the state of Indiana,” he warned, “to compel people to provide labor against their will. What do we call it when people are compelled to provide labor against their will? Involuntary labor, what do we call that, ladies and gentlemen? That is involuntary servitude, that is slavery, that is something that is forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment.”

Brilliant! That means every business owner who would like to keep black people out of their business or refuse to hire them has been a slave for the last 50 years because of the Civil Rights Act. You’re a genius, Mr. Fischer. A bloody genius.

By the way, this “clarification” is meaningless. It changes nothing. There is no law in Indiana forbidding anti-gay discrimination and there never has been, which means businesses were free to discriminate on that basis all they wanted before RFRA was passed and they will still be able to do it after this “clarification.” They never needed RFRA to discriminate against gay people. They still don’t.

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  • John Pieret

    There is no law in Indiana forbidding anti-gay discrimination and there never has been

    I don’t know why you keep saying this. There are and have been for a while laws in Indiana that forbid anti-gay discrimination … in 3 counties and 10 cities, including Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana and 12th largest in the US. Is that satisfactory? Of course not but it is a simple fact.

    If you want to make this point, talk about Arkansas, which also altered its RFRA in the face of criticism, but also recently enacted a law forbidding local governments from passing anti-discrimination laws broader than the state’s, which does not include LGBT people and is unlikely to anytime in the near future. Your statement would be mostly correct (Fayetteville briefly had one) in connection with Arkansas.

  • chuckster

    What a stupid argument. No one is making them for example bake cakes but if you decide to bake cakes you have to follow certain rules.

    Look at sports stars who want to renegociate a contract mid term and use the thriteenth amendment to refuse to play. Courts cannot say the play has to work for the team but can say if you want to play you have to play for them and he can be assessed damages for his refusal to play

    You don’have to bake wedding cakes but the courts can say you serve everyone equally and can assess daamges if you refuse.

  • StevoR

    So those who are homophobic bigots get put in chains and made to do whatever the gay lords want? For the rest of their lives with all their inalienable human rights forfeited and turned into mere property?

    Erm, don’t think so somehow.

  • gshelley

    There is no law in Indiana forbidding anti-gay discrimination and there never has been

    Having just looked through the text of proposal 622 (http://cms.indygov.org/proposals/2005/PROP05-622.PDF) This does not seem to be the case

  • caseloweraz

    This strikes me as iteration 52,749 of the nutty idea that not allowing people to unfairly discriminate oppresses them.

  • Trebuchet

    @1, John Pieret: Unfortunately, I’ve never seen any indication that Ed actually reads any of the comments on his blog. He certainly never responds to them. That keeps him making the same mistakes over and over.

  • Saad

    I want to become a bigot, but the message coming from them is so confusing!

    Bansley:

    Gov. Pence is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of 2015, courageously defending the bakers, photographers, florists, ministers, county clerks, and owners of wedding venues who, after a lifetime of acquiring skills and building businesses, have seen their livelihoods destroyed, forced to pay exorbitant fines and even threatened with jail.

    Fischer:

    I’m afraid Governor Pence is dangerously close to allowing the homosexual lobby to get the state of Indiana,” he warned, “to compel people to provide labor against their will. What do we call it when people are compelled to provide labor against their will? Involuntary labor, what do we call that, ladies and gentlemen? That is involuntary servitude, that is slavery, that is something that is forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment.

    Which one is it?!

  • xuuths

    Ed means no statewide law in Indiana, applicable to the entire state. In that regard, he’s correct. He’s just abbreviated it, since he’s said the whole thing so often.

    Of course, when leaves out the “statewide” part, for brevity, he is making a serious error that has been repeatedly pointed out, so one wonders why he does it. . . I have no idea why, since it’s kind of a noobie mistake. Oh well…

  • Chiroptera

    chuckster, #2: No one is making them for example bake cakes but if you decide to bake cakes you have to follow certain rules.

    As dugglebogey pointed out on another thread, no one is asking anyone to do anything that they aren’t already doing with pleasure for everyone else.

  • gshelley

    Even with the “statewide” addition, it isn’t clear that the clarification changes nothing. It seems likely that under the IRFRA, anti discriminations ordinances in Indiana and other places would not pass. Though that would require looking at the exact text of the law, vs the ordinances and how they should both be interpreted. It does seem that despite the protests that this wasn’t supposed to be a licence to discriminate, it was intended in part to prevent such ordinances gaining further ground

  • theguy

    Slavery is forced labor without compensation.

    Bakers who freely chose to bake cakes for straight weddings must also bake cakes for gay weddings, or they can choose to get out of the bakery/wedding business altogether.

    Also, they are paid quite well, I imagine.

    It’s not like churches or other houses of worship are ever going to be forced to perform gay wedding ceremonies. If a church wanted to perform a gay wedding ceremony, Adolf Fischsticks would probably want them arrested.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

    John — I thought it was pretty obvious that I was talking about state level laws. Yes, there are local anti-discrimination laws in Indiana, as there are in most states (mostly in bigger cities, but not always). So if you’d like, you can append “unless you live in a city with an anti-discrimination ordinance” to what I’ve said, which remains true at the state level as I intended.

    And no, I do not routinely read the comments, and especially not lately as I’ve been dealing with kidney stones and on some pretty heavy drugs.

  • John Pieret

    Ed:

    I knew that, of course, but it is still jarring to see a blanket statement like that. Also, I suspect that most gays gravitate to urban areas rather than stay in rural ones, so those laws in the cities probably have a disproportionally beneficial effect on the gays in Indiana.

    My deepest sympathy on the kidney stones. I’ve passed a couple but, fortunately, rather quickly. Feel better soon!