Hysteria about the Indiana RFRA is the Ebola Panic for Lefties

Hysteria about the Indiana RFRA is the Ebola Panic for Lefties March 31, 2015

Political parties increasingly function by ginning up panic.  The Right has become a past master of this with weekly hysterias about Lattegate, Benghazi, and, most egregiously last fall, the Great Ebola Panic, which evaporated at exactly the same moment the elections ended, but which saw the most deranged in GOP leadership calling for mass executions of ebola victims and, of course, Something to Be Done about Obama, who was somehow to blame for it.  The purpose of such panics is, of course, to keep the flock agitated and fearful–and then to tell the flock that unless it throws its support to the Fearmonger, nothing can save them from the horrors that await should The Other Side have its way.

It’s a method that has worked for ages, and only works better as an increasingly ignorant populace leaves off the business of thinking in terms of the common good and instead thinks only in terms of tribal loyalties.  The Other becomes, in such a politics, a sort of subhuman bogeyman capable of almost any heinous evil.  So during the Great Ebola Panic, the Tea Party seriously proposed that  Obama was seeking an ebola epidemic on our shores.  Why?  Because he’s just that evil and only Our Team can save you from him.  The base was well and truly ginned up by this idiotic lie because they *wanted* to believe that.  The self-sustaining fusion reaction of lies and hatred worked like a charm until it was no longer needed and the Noise Machine controllers shut it down.

But, of course, the GOP isn’t the only party capable of ginning up moral panics to stampede the herd.  A very successful one is under way against Indiana right now.  It seems the state passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, pretty much like ones on the books in 19 other states, as well as one signed into law by the currently-fake-outraged Hillary Clinton’s husband in 1993.  Indeed, not long ago, noted gay persecutor Barack Obama had no problem with such legislation.

So why the sudden moral panic that the state of Indiana is just about to march gays into theocratic concentration camps and rename itself the Republic of Gilead? Because it’s useful and because moral panics are a quick and dirty way to stampede people, rather in this vein:

The real deal is this: People in flyover country are being told the terms of their surrender. This is not about “toleration” and never has been. It’s about the attempt to force people, against their conscience, to approve of homosexual acts and gay “marriage”.

The reality is that the vast majority of the people this law means to protect are not interested in quizzing strangers about their sex lives and then punishing tthem. Nobody goes into a grocery or hardware store and gets grilled on whether they are gay and nobody wants to know. But the goal of gay lobby is to target people likely to have qualms of conscience about appearing to support gay “marriage”–people who have real issues of conscience–and use the cudgel of the state force them to give the appearance of approval to what they are regard as sin.  It’s a form of bullying, something the gay lobby talks about constantly and practices skillfully.

Hence the moral panic as businesses like Apple, which have no trouble trading with Communist butchers in China (and exploiting slave labor there) or gay-murdering butchers in the U.A.E. suddenly develop a “conscience” and bravely face the applause of the Chattering Classes in the US. Here in Washington (which has an RFRA on the books) the mayor of Seattle is jumping on the moral panic bandwagon (as the shipping containers from China fill up our port). Hysterical Lefties now do their best Glenn Beck imitation and compare Christians with a tender conscience to Nazis (threatening that it “will not end well”) for them. Because if you can’t target some mom and pop Christian bakery in Bloomington, smash them with the iron rod of the state (instead of just going to the bakery down the street), and drive them into destitution, you might as well just gas everybody now. By such low tactics (from people who talk perpetually about “bullying“), the Girardian scapegoat will again be sacrificed as the community expends its fury on another in a long trail of designated Emmanuel Goldsteins in order to assure itself of its moral purity.

But no real justice will have been done. The people who do not and never will be able to pretend that gay “marriage” is real or that homosex is not sinful will go on doing so. Power will have been exercised, but not justice. Gay “marriage” remains what it always has been: an ontological impossibility. And gay sex remains what it has always been: intrinsically disordered. No amount of force, fear, and intimidation will change that.  Nor will endless attempts to link this to Jim Crow work.  Steve Greydanus explains why:

I find it helpful to think of this discussion in the context of two deliberately NON-PARALLEL control cases: a) racist or bigoted objections to accomodating minorities or other targets of prejudicial sentiment, and b) minority or non-racist objections to accommodating racists or others with offensive views. (Did I say NON-PARALLEL emphatically enough? Do I need to clarify that this is explicitly excludes and rejects any suggestion of moral equivalency?)

We decided in this country about half a century ago that anyone has the right to sit down at a lunch counter, or to walk into any business or other place of public accommodation, and get the same service as anyone else, regardless of prejudicial attitudes about factors like race. 

Let’s agree that this principle applies to gays, and to same-sex couples, and also holds true of racists and others with offensive views. So if a skinhead or a known KKK member walks into a diner, even if it is owned and staffed by minorities or by non-racists who hold the strongest possible objections to his views, he should get the same service as anyone else. 

Likewise, I can fathom no basis for saying that religious proprietors or employees of any business should be permitted (or should wish) to refuse service to gays or to same-sex couples. 

On the other hand, we recognize the right of advertisers to refuse to accept advertising projects with messages they deem offensive, for instance. A KKK member has a right to the same diner service as anyone else, but he does not have the right to ask graphic designers to create a hateful message for him or ask billboard owners to display it. 

Why? Because the latter involves a form of speech or expression. A graphic designer doesn’t simply provide a service, he invests his work with his creativity and energy in the cause of making a statement. It doesn’t have to be a statement he agrees with, but if it’s a statement he finds sufficiently offensive, it becomes problematic to ask him to participate in that speech. Likewise, the right of equal accommodation doesn’t mean the billboard owner owes anyone a forum to express their message. 

If a racist walks into a bakery owned by blacks or Jews and asks for a cake, he should get one. If he asks for a cake decorated with a frosting swastika or a burning cross, I think it should be the right of the owners to refuse, even if they otherwise accommodate requests for decorative images. 

Equally, this means I think a racist proprietor who must bake a cake for a black client should not be forced to decorate it with messaging that he finds offensive. This may impose some slight inconvenience on black patrons to find a nonracist baker willing to accommodate them, but this inconvenience seems to me a reasonable tradeoff for the sake of free speech. (And who wants a cake for their special event baked and decorated by someone with such antithetical attitudes, anyway?)


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  • HornOrSilk

    Quite an important article, on a rather terrible situation developing. It is indeed the beginning of the attempt to remove religious rights, with hypocritical justifications (“No hate” “equal rights”). The hate against religion is strong in the comments section in Indiana News site. And the desire to remove religious liberty is to make people of religious faith second class citizens with no right of conscience objection to formal cooperation with evil.

    And a lot of it is fueled by people using gays for their own agenda: http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-woman-behind-orchestrated-attack-on.html

    • Dave G.

      The beginning? No, it’s been going on for some time. It’s just that now it is out of the closet.

      • HornOrSilk

        Oh, no, it is the beginning stages still.

        • Dave G.

          In terms of where it will end up, you’re probably right.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Where it will end up?

            • Dave G.

              Don’t know that. Just an observation based on the growing ease that those on the Left have for saying old rights like speech and religion are only guaranteed when they align with the absolute rights promised by a liberal world view.

  • Dave G.

    Of course obsessing about such things is as old as old. Remember in Bush’s years, when everything was Bush’s fault? When the bridge collapse in Minnesota was because of Bush? Heck, I’ve said it before, I remember when Reagan was first elected and there was a panic about him having jelly beans on his desk,and it being a bad example for kids. But that sort of strange has been going on for ages. I’m not sure all of it is the same, and we should be careful about assuming that because someone is always obsessing about something, it equals mindless hysteria about anything he or she says. Goodness knows, I wouldn’t want to assume that. Because, of course, it is in the eyes of the beholder. Some might say people obsessing about businessmen taking care of the needs of the LGBT community are the panic stricken obsession ones. So drawing a distinction in other cases might be a good idea, so that we don’t assume any passion at all about anything can just be tossed on the shelf of ‘crazy obsession by loonies.’

    • chezami

      Incredible as it may seem, when bridges collapse from neglect of infrastructure repair, that actually *is* the fault of an executive who runs something called the Department of Transportation.

      • Joseph

        Who is a cabinet member appointed by the President, presumably based on his/her reputation and experience in preventing things such as this. So, if the cabinet member who is appointed in this position fails to do what is necessary to prevent bridges from collapsing (which is their job), then it is not only correct to point the finger at them but also at the *manager*, in this case, the President, who vetted them in the first place. Bush may not have been the *direct* cause, but he was undoubtedly influential in the bridge collapse, influential in the botched Katrina response, etc.
        .
        Just thought I’d add that.

      • Dave G.

        So it was Bush’s fault then. Which justifies the weeks and months of coverage. And yet strangely Benghazi is just hysteria. Odd that.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Except the bridge collapse in Minnesota had eff-all to do with “neglect of infrastructure repair.” It was a design defect.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mississippi_River_bridge

        Bridges that are actually broken tend to get repaired, because even conservatives who aren’t fond of Pope Francis don’t want to die in a firey car wreck. When the left talks about “infrastructure spending,” what they usually mean are “payouts to our buddies.”

      • Jacob Suggs

        Insofar as I can tell, that bridge failed because of improper design in the 1960s (a certain type of plate was too small). In particular, “corrosion was not a significant factor” – it wasn’t an issue of maintenance. Now, you could say that every single transportation official supervising the area including that bridge, up to and including every president who appointed the guy in charge of hiring the guys who run the place that hires the guys who… inspect the bridge should have noticed and so is responsible for its collapse, but that would include a whole host of people aside from former President Bush.

        But sure, give Bush some of the blame, even a large part if you wish: he was the big man at the time the thing actually broke. Just like President Obama was during Benghazi.

        I mean, I’m just as irritated by the anti-Obama hysterical finger pointing that goes on every time someone gets stranded in the bathroom without toilet paper as anyone else, but come on, we should be a little even handed here.

  • TheRealAaron

    An article I saw referred to the law as “fascism” which is an interesting new definition.

    Fascism: allowing individual business owners to decide which services they want to provide, based on their moral judgements.

    Not Fascism: when the government forces a business owner to provide services against their conscience

    • HornOrSilk

      It’s Christian tyranny to say Native Americans can have a Sun Dance, apparently!

  • wlinden

    Then, of course, the “anti-war movement” evaporated as soon as Obama got into office…

  • SteveP

    Mark: the narrative was weakening and needed to be shored up: this is a hard push to reassert equivalence between so-called sexual orientation and race.
    .
    The best analogy to RFRA is “Yes means yes”—a legal transaction only occurs if the participants in the transaction unequivocally consent at each step. If one participant does not consent, there is no harm and the other participants cannot hold the non-consenting participant liable for not completing the transaction.
    .
    Who promulgates “rape culture”? LBTQ ideologues to whom “no” does not mean “no”.

  • erin

    It seems to reveal some of your own hysteria over being accused of supporting the GOP when you are consistently unable to write an article criticizing current actions of the Left that doesn’t focus just as heavily on the past sins of the Right, even though in this instance, they are doing nothing wrong.

    • If Mr. Shea wishes to call out a problem he sees on both ends of the political spectrum, what’s the harm? I am not going out a limb to suggest that a constant theme in Mr. Shea’s posts is the extreme polarization, and resulting hypocrisy of the combatants in the culture war.

      There are two paragraphs about Republican hypocrisy over the ebola crisis. There are fourteen about the Democratic hypocrisy. Is that a “heavy focus?” And who accused Mark Shea of supporting the GOP? The notion of Mark Shea being a shill for the GOP is simply laughable.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        If Mr. Shea wishes to call out a problem he sees on both ends of the political spectrum, what’s the harm?

        The objection seems to be:
        (1) When conservatives do something bad, it’s an example of conservatives being bad.
        (2) When the left does something bad, it’s an example of the left being bad but please enjoy it with a side of criticism of the conservatives, with the chef’s compliments.

        • HornOrSilk

          What Mark is trying to do, imo, is simple:
          1) I think he considers himself, more or less, to be a conservative
          2) He is talking within a group he identifies with
          3) He is being self-critical, saying the group he identifies with should not be doing the same things those they disagree with do
          4) He is saying the liberals do wrong, but it is more understandable because they are more likely wrong than right (though of course, I don’t think he denies sometimes they are right, because no one is always wrong about everything all the time)
          5) Conservatives should do better than liberals

          Even if you don’t want to use labels, the point still is conservatives, who view themselves better than liberals, shouldn’t follow the liberals where liberals do wrong. It’s a good from of criticism.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            You can consider a dog’s tail to be a leg. It still only has four legs.

          • Eric

            I agree. I think the problem is both sides of the political spectrum are only concerned with what the other side is doing wrong. The whole “remove the plank from your own eye before addressing the speck in your brothers” thing is long gone.

            Mark has, on more than one occasion, pissed me off. More often than not, when I calm down and look at what he’s actually saying, I realize how completely brainwashed I am by the “powers that be” to have exactly that reaction. Thus ending any chance of self-criticism and dialogue. Constructive dialogue anyway. Wow, turns out I am a sinner. Who would’ve thought.

        • chezami

          Take yes for an answer and stop acting all butthurt. I’m with you on religious liberty.

  • Jaybird1951

    How did a former S.C. GOP official become in Mark’s eyes a member of the “GOP leadership.” I never heard of the guy and I bet 99.99999% of Republicans never have. I agree with Erin’s comments about this.

  • Newp Ort

    But the Indiana law does have significant difference from the Federal RFRA, and most state RFRA. And it was enacted for different reasons, primarily to allow for-profit businesses to discriminate against gays – free from government intervention AND civil court cases.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/what-makes-indianas-religious-freedom-law-different/388997/

    • HornOrSilk

      Except, it was not enacted for businesses to discriminate against gays. That narrative was created by opposition to the law, and is false. It is about religious liberty as a whole. So Native Americans can have a Sun Dance. Orthodox Jews can still get Kosher wine (yes, this week, I saw people demanding Orthodox Jews change kosher laws or else!). Or, another fine example, someone with religious conscience objection to war will be protected. It is for religious liberty of all faiths. And for many examples in the contemporary American context with people demanding religious folks not have the same freedom to act on their beliefs as non-religious.

      • HornOrSilk

        http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/

        http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/

        Read several articles on the law on those two blogs. By lawyers. One who didn’t think the law is needed, but yet still thinks the criticism of the law is hypocritical to the extreme.

        • thisismattwade

          Thanks for the links. NPR and USAToday are on my homepage, so I’ve gotten some pretty crappy coverage of this event over the last couple of days.

          • HornOrSilk

            YW. While I am not a fan of Pence for other reasons, and think sometimes media criticism of him has been just, in this instance, he was right in saying the media is being dishonest. There are probably several reasons for this, as you can guess. Be it as it may, I wish more people got to see the full story instead of the little slogan they have gotten.

      • Newp Ort

        While we can certainly disagree, many would contend that the law was specifically written to protect private, for-profit businesses right to discriminate against gay couples. It was made in light of two recent decisions: 1. The New Mexico decision regarding bakers and photographers being required to serve same-sex couples, and 2. the Hobby Lobby case where the SC allowed a family-owned business to deny contraceptive coverage based on their religious beliefs.

        Indiana wanted to avoid a situation like New Mexico and allow religious beliefs to justify refusing service to gay couples. and Hobby Lobby gave them legal basis to defend the law.

        And the Indiana case does go further than other RFRA to protect this right of discrimination. Other RFRA (including the Federal law) protect the rights you mentioned re Jews and Native Americans.

        So there is a substantive difference to the Indiana law.

        • HornOrSilk

          Many content all kinds of falsehoods.

          • Newp Ort

            You mean CONTEND, right? I kept reading this trying to figure out what you meant and it struck me after about the fifth time.

            • HornOrSilk

              Right. A typo.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          If the Indiana law is coming on the heels of both the NM bakery/photography decision and the Hobby Lobby contraceptive decision, why are you choosing to characterize this only as an attempt to protect the right to discriminate against gays?

          • Newp Ort

            The PURPOSE of the law is to allow religious discrimination against gays. Hobbly Lobby gave them reason to believe it is defensible.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              How do you know this?

              • Newp Ort

                /gigantic sigh and eye roll/

                It’s obvious, that’s all. Feel free to disagree.

  • AnonyMom

    I think it’s dismissive of you to call people “lefties” when they are truly concerned that the evil of discrimination against gays and others could be bolstered by a law like this. There’s what the law says and there’s how it plays out in reality, and we should consider both.

    • HornOrSilk

      The law is no more a discrimination against gays as a law which talks about road repair and pot hole filling is. Because it says nothing about gays!

      • AnonyMom

        It doesn’t have to say anything about gays specifically (or Catholics or Jews etc.) to effectively be used against them. That’s my point.

        • HornOrSilk

          It is not discriminating. It is saying people of religious faiths should not be discriminated against. The argument that “it fails to say gays should be protected, therefore it discriminates them” is nonsense. Because the law is about religious liberty, not sexual orientation. Sexual orientation laws are for sexual orientation, not religion. Religion laws are for religion, not sexual orientation. When complaining about a law which has nothing to do with sexual orientation doesn’t give sexual orientation rights, it’s like saying civil rights law in the 60s was bad because it discriminated against sexual orientation for saying nothing about sexual orientation. That’s nonsense but the problem with the narrative.

          • Newp Ort

            Jiminy Christmas man, way to be obtuse and evading.

            Here’s what the whole controversy is about: some want the right to discriminate against gay couples, gay couples want the right to not be discriminated against.

            Whichever side is right, that is the meat of the debate.

            • HornOrSilk

              Some want to discriminate against religious folks. This is especially clear on the commentary on news stations, where people are saying all kinds of anti-religious sentiment, not just on gay issues.

              • Newp Ort

                Yeah, that’s true. Some people want to beat up on believers, and often specifically Christians, for any reason they can find.

                But I don’t know how else this entire law/controversy is about anything other than a conflict between the rights of gay couples and Christians.

                • JM1001

                  But what are the “rights of gay couples” in this instance? The right to force a business owner to bake you a cake? Does it even make sense to say that such a thing can be called a “right”?

                  On the other hand, business owners are claiming either (1) the right not to violate their religious beliefs by condoning a practice which is against those beliefs (gay marriage); and/or (2) the right not to implicitly affirm through a symbolic speech act something which their beliefs say is ontologically impossible (gay marriage).

                  These are two different kinds of rights. The latter is simply the right not to be forced to do something. The former is the right to force someone else to do something.

                  • Newp Ort

                    For gays, the right to not be refused service due to marital status (perhaps protection against rather than right?)

                    Think interracial marriage, not identical situation but analogous enough to understand rights in conflict.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      No one, before now, was forced to serve a particular wedding, gay or not. No one was forced to be a photographer or to make a wedding cake celebrating a particular ceremony. But then some wanted to engage such force, saying we are discriminating against them –if we don’t, because of their sexual status. That’s absurd. If I don’t want to be a photographer for a particular wedding, don’t force me, whether or not they are gay. It’s about forcing people with particular skills to do actions, and that is slavery.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Is there any status, of person or married couple, where you would say is NOT alright to refuse service on that basis?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      What if a photographer’s daughter is marrying someone who they entirely oppose, do not support the wedding, and do not want to go to the wedding because of that opposition. They have “forbidden” the marriage as best they can. The guy is a drug addict, with a record of beating up former girlfriend after drinking too much, and has been in jail for armed robbery and has indicated they will do so again. They have not done so, and right now, they are out on parole. The father wants to indicate, as much as they can, they are opposed to the marriage out of fear for his daughter’s life. The fiance wants to force the father to be there, so wants to “hire” the father’s photography service. I certainly think the father has a right to say no. Do you?

                    • Newp Ort

                      Yes, absolutely.

                      And again, I would ask you:Is there any status, of person or married couple, where you would say is NOT alright to refuse service on that basis?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      But according to the “you can’t refuse service” mentality, the father is breaking the law and discriminating against the rights of his potential son in law. So you are supportive of discrimination after all. The question is how much. Got it.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      And I will let you ponder the “how much” and “what is the limit” question because really, that’s the question you are asking me. Now that you showed you accept discrimination, you begin explaining yourself.

                    • Newp Ort

                      I don’t believe I’ve made an argument for or against the law, in this discussion. You have called it slavery. I’m curious if there are any situations where you believe there should NOT be right of refusal.

                      Would you say it should be legal for businesses to refuse service on the basis of race or religion? I know enough about you from your comments that you are intelligent, and not a bigot. Some people support the right of refusal for all cases just on the basis of freedom.

                      I lean against the Indiana law, if you must know.

                    • Athelstane

                      I think that it is instructive to think of these services as artistic and expressive ones – they require artistic skill, and embody some level of expression. For this reason, such artistic services have always been understood to allow the artist to refuse a commission, to exercise discretion about taking on a client proposal.

                      What this means is that we’re talking about a very narrow, even tiny, range of possible services. It also means that it is not just a Free Exercise Right, but a plausible claim under Free Speech.

                    • Newp Ort

                      There are precedents for creative services being included in services that cannot be denied to protected groups. I have read news and articles about writing and visual art offered as a professional for-profit service that was ruled ineligible as free speech.

                      IMO making cakes and flower arrangements wouldn’t merit such an exemption. And to go further into not meriting artistic skill a pizza place has stated they like the law b/c it would allow them to deny service for gay weddings.

                      http://www.abc57.com/story/28681598/rfra-first-business-to-publicly-deny-same-sex-service

                      But you do raise an excellent point! Most people are probably not aware of this, and I am sure there are services that would qualify as such artistic endevours.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Yes, exactly, how much is the question. And largely the big Indiana dust up is about gay couples vs Christians.

                      Your son-in-law analogy is not apt to the situation, though, because what potential protected class does the son-in-law belong to? The daughter’s suitors?

                      and a third time: Is there any status, of person or married couple, where you would say is NOT alright to refuse service on that basis?

                      to clarify, I mean of potential classes of people, not individuals for specific individual cases. Is it okay to refuse service on the basis of race? interracial status? Divorced catholics looking to marry outside the church?

                      Under what circumstances would you OPPOSE the right of refusal of service?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      No, Indiana is NOT about gay couples. That is the made up cause de jure by people who hate religion. Again:
                      http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-woman-behind-orchestrated-attack-on.html

                    • antigon

                      ‘Is there any status, of person or married couple, where you would say is NOT alright to refuse service on that basis?
                      *
                      Sure. When it violates natural law, thus justice, to do so.

                    • Newp Ort

                      You’re reading the question wrong. Your response as written means you support legal obligation to serve people who violate natural law.

                      What I was asking is do you agree with protected classes at all? Do you think businesses should have the right to refuse services on the basis of race, for example.

                      I am not trying to paint you as a racist in any way. some people just think right of refusal should be absolute because people should have the freedom to do so.

                      If that’s the case of course you’d be against gays being a protected class – and not for any kind of anti-gay reason.

                    • antigon

                      Nope, read it right. It is not all right to refuse service when such refusal violates natural law, thus justice. It is all right to refuse service when the purpose of asking it is to extol immorality.

                    • JM1001

                      For gays, the right to not be refused service due to marital status…

                      But the claim the Christian business owner is making is that the “marital status” being invoked is intrinsically impossible. In other words, the business owner isn’t saying, “I am refusing you business because you are two married people of the same sex.” Rather, the business owner is saying, “I believe ‘same sex marriage’ to be ontologically impossible in the first place, and I will neither condone nor affirm something which is logically impossible.”

                      So the business owner is not discriminating against a particular “marital status,” since, on his view, the marital status being claimed cannot itself exist. And, therefore, we come back to some essential questions, the answers to which lie at the root of these conflicts: what is marriage? and what is marriage for? Same sex marriage advocates and those who follow a traditional view of marriage have two fundamentally different conceptions of what marriage is and what marriage is for.

                      Therefore, your statement above could be reformulated as: the right to force a private party to acknowledge your conception of marriage as ontologically valid. And, once again, it must be asked whether such a thing can be called a “right.”

                    • Eve Fisher

                      No, that’s the claim that some Christian business owners make. Not all. Many Christian business owners believe that same sex marriage is ontologically possible, because they believe that being gay is not a choice, but you are born heterosexual or homosexual.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      What does being born with an attraction have to do with ontological possibility?

                    • JM1001

                      Um, whether or not gay marriage is ontologically possible has nothing to do with whether being gay is a choice. Those are two completely different things. A person can concede that being homosexual may not be a choice, but still assert that gay marriage is ontologically impossible.

                      And that’s because, on the traditional view, marriage is the life-long, exclusive union between two persons of complementary sexes, inherently ordered towards the generation of new life by the physical union of a man and a woman. On this view, a gay person — whether he or she is gay by choice or not — cannot legitimately enter into a “marriage” with someone of the same sex, since that would not, by definition, be a marriage in the first place.

                      (Furthermore, this would entail that any actions which undermine the goods associated with marriage — the union of complementary sexes inherently ordered toward the generation of new life — are intrinsically disordered, or sinful, such as homosexual sex acts.)

                      So, again, the question is: can you force someone to condone or affirm something which they believe is ontologically impossible? Further can you force someone to violate their beliefs regarding the goods associated with their conception of marriage, by affirming a practice which, on their view, directly undermines those goods?

                    • Eve Fisher

                      Two points:
                      (1) Biblically speaking, a “traditional marriage” is polygamous in the Old Testament; in the New, while in the Pauline letters a bishop/deacon is told to have only one wife, that’s all the numbering we get, and the fact that they are required to have only one wife would prove, by omission, that polygamy was still practiced. So the definition of “traditional marriage” has changed over the centuries.
                      (2) Marriage is for far more than procreation. (After all, the first reason Adam was given Eve as a helpmeet and companion.) While the Catholic Church will not marry two people who are unable to have sex, if a couple decides to abstain from sex, or practice the rhythm method all their lives (and thereby not have children), or if one member becomes impotent, their marriage is valid (Canon 1142). Other churches will marry a couple irrespective of their ability or intention to have sex or reproduce.

                    • JM1001

                      (1) Your argument here does not distinguish between pre- and post-Fall humanity. In the beginning, before sin entered into the world, the ideal presented in Genesis is a union of one man and one woman becoming “one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24). All of the variations on marriage that came after the Fall (like polygamy) were, it could be argued, the result of sin — and, therefore, to cite them as proof that the “traditional” view of marriage was polygamous is to fundamentally misunderstand the scriptural narrative of marriage. On this view, God merely permitted these perversions of the original ideal.

                      (2) A heterosexual couple who engage in sex, but who are unable to have children, are still validly married — for the simple reason that their ability to conceive has no bearing on whether their sex is procreative in nature. Because they are two people of complementary sexes, the sex which they engage in is still procreative in nature, and therefore still retains the intrinsic potentiality for the generation of new life, even if this potentiality can never be actualized. So long as their sex is open to life, and remains exclusive between husband and wife, their marriage is still ordered towards the intrinsic goods of marriage on the traditional view: the generation of new life and the establishment of a stable union between the potential mother and potential father.

                    • antigon

                      Mark Shea buck naked at Starbucks is the analogy.
                      *
                      Oh, you find that a horrifying prospect do you, you epidermisophobic bigot!

                    • Newp Ort

                      Much rather see him at an independently owned coffee shop.

                • antigon

                  Unless a controversy between a minimal level of sanity vs. a very large dose of moral insanity.

                  • Newp Ort

                    More like battle of the butthurt.

                    • antigon

                      Well, we know which side suffers that.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              It’s not just about gays. I’d prefer to not have to provide my professional services to straight people if those services will be used to mock Christ or to do anything else I consider immoral, including premarital sex between men and women and lending money at interest. Gays, bakeries, photographers, and florists are the visible issues today, but they haven’t always been and they won’t always be.

              • Newp Ort

                You’re right, it’s not all about gay couples vs Christians. But I would contend that is the main driver of the law and the controversy.

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  Based on what, other than your own speculation?

                • antigon

                  Again, Newp, nope. The main driver is the plutocracy’s determination to make Winston & the hoi submit to & ultimately embrace submission.

            • SteveP

              Rather the contention is the power to say “no” without consequences versus the power to punish “no” regardless of circumstances.

              • Newp Ort

                Your argument could apply to race to – the power to say no vs the power to punish no. Just that one is already settled. Now it’s gay couples and Christians. (Or mostly Christians.)

                • SteveP

                  There was no argument there but a statement. Your equivalence is false:
                  .
                  Q. How does a wealthy, white Manhattanite gain privilege?
                  A. Come out as “gay”.

                  • Newp Ort

                    Call it an argument or not, my point remains. Race, gays, christians, racists, racist christians, gay bigots, whatever. Its a conflict of supposed rights. Some of these issues are settled legally and with society in general. Others aren’t.

                    I don’t know what the heck else you think is going on here.

                    • antigon

                      The very idea of rights turned into a pathetic comedy?

                • antigon

                  Not to say Eva Fisher naked at the ball game!

            • JM1001

              Here’s what the whole controversy is about: some want the right to discriminate against gay couples, gay couples want the right to not be discriminated against.

              I can certainly see that. Since I tend to err on the side of freedom of association (unless extraordinary circumstances warrant otherwise, such as dismantling a system of state-enforced segregation and terrorism, like Jim Crow), I think business owners should have the right to do business with — or refuse to do business with — whomever they please.

              • wlinden

                Plenty of businesses have signs “We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason.” Apparently, they have not heard that they are under an obligation to serve anybody under all circumstances whatever.

                Do the critics want to forbid that?

            • antigon

              Eyeroll & Wolfephht man, way to exemplify tendentiousness. Or if you prefer, another way to put it:
              *
              Here’s what the whole controversy is about: our plutocracatic Empire wishes to make the population docile & submissive, some will impertinently object, & insisting upon devotion to the Sacred Hole is a good means to crush them.

              • Newp Ort

                Would you say same of interracial marriage? Businesses once argued the right to discriminate one that basis for religious or moral reasons. The plutocratic empire crushed them.

                similar thing here, just different groups in conflict

                • antigon

                  Gosh, on this subject of red herrings, would you say the same about Anonymom going into a restaurant buck naked? Hurts no one, you know, & is simply epidermisophobia of a most brutally discriminating kind. Almost as bad as thinking there’s something not quite right about bonking feces, not to say the horror of refusing to glorify such a predilection.
                  *
                  And as of course you are aware, t’wasn’t the oligarchy but actual legislation that stopped the violation of natural law at those motels & lunch counters; for the oligarchy hates natural law, as surely you also know, since it’s an impediment to the only thing they think matters or even exists, which is power.

                  • Newp Ort

                    You know that’s not an answer…

                    • antigon

                      Sure it is, just one you’d prefer to flee Newp. Every rhapsody about the obligation to admire fecal bonking applies to public nudity. Thus following what you’ve written, your argument is that refusing to photograph Snoop’s dong in all its glory is no different than denying him a studio portrait due to his ethnicity.
                      *
                      Mine, and history’s, is that there is a difference, as there is between race & sexual deviance.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Nudists are not a protected class.

                      Race is a protected class. Businesses cannot legally deny services to interracial couples, on that basis, for any reason. Including moral or religious grounds, which actually was attempted failed.

                      One side of the Indiana debate would like to see denial of service on the basis of same sex marriage illegal, same as it is for race.

                      Race and SSA are not equal situations, but there are similarities.

                      There is more similarity between interracial and same sex marriage.

                      Gays do not HAVE to marry each other, it’s a choice. Different races don’t HAVE to marry each other it’s a choice. Also in both cases the couple is almost always conspicuous.

                      Look, I know you don’t agree with the contention that the situations are equal, and that’s fine. I know you don’t think businesses should face legal repercussions for refusing service to same sex couples and that’s fine too. BUT THIS IS WHAT THE DEBATE IS ABOUT.

                    • antigon

                      No it isn’t. It’s about the oligarchy’s determination to make Winston Smith & the hoi feel & ultimately embrace its submission.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Nudists aren’t a protected class

                    • antigon

                      But that’s the point, Newp. The insulting & even arguably racist analogy you seek to make between race & exalting sexual perversion doesn’t hold. But the one between public nudity & perv marriage does, in that all the phony arguments of persecution against the latter apply equally if not more to denying Hillary a pizza just because her mams are a’floppin when she orders one.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Oh, Antigon you’re being a dick but +1 for flapjack tittays.

                    • antigon

                      Oh fine Newp, *use* an expression as deeply offensive to the nudist community as those used by folk who say coloreds & poofs.

          • AnonyMom

            “The argument that “it fails to say gays should be protected, therefore it discriminates them” is nonsense. ”

            And that is not an argument I used. And this is not only about gays.

    • chezami

      You can join ManyMoreSpice in the butthurt corner feeling sorry for yourself.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        It’s a nice corner. It’s the corner where the bridge in Minneapolis didn’t fall down due to lack of maintenance. You know: reality.

      • AnonyMom

        Wow Mark thanks. I have only been defending you on Facebook for years, now I’m butthurt? I have concern about this law and how it may have negative repercussions. I didn’t realize having misgivings about something was a sin.

        • chezami

          My apologies for my sharp tongue. One gets weary of all the flack and overreacts sometimes.

    • Athelstane

      Perhaps it would be worthwhile to see how virtually identical RFRA’s have played out in court in other state and federal jurisdictions (hint: the results have not been as catastrophic as you probably imagine).

      • PaulOfTarsus

        That’s for affirming that JPII did, in fact, cover up for criminal clerical pedophile perverts. You are exactly correct that he is not a model saint for faithful Catholics who want to grow in the faith. No, I don’t think they can *un-saint* but, he should definitely be put on the back shelf.

        Glad you were able to review my Pauline reference wrongly used by trads to attempt to condemn others for ‘unworthily’ receiving the Eucharist. It’s unfortunate they want to condemn everyone but themselves to Hell.

        • Athelstane

          Geez – what are you, stalking me?

  • GCBill

    How easy is it for business owners to object to unconscionable expressions in general?

  • Jason

    This helpful article explains why Indiana’s law is different than all the others…. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/what-makes-indianas-religious-freedom-law-different/388997/.

    And why is that the liberals are the ones accused of “ginning up panic”? It seems to me that conservatives are the ones terrified of the gays and are passing laws all of a sudden to legally protect their homophobia.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Epps is too clever by half on his first point. His argument is that Indiana’s RFRA is unlike the federal RFRA because the latter doesn’t apply to for-profit businesses. But then he notes that the federal RFRA does apply to those businesses, through the Hobby Lobby decision. So the texts are different but the application is the same.

      He’s on better ground on his second point, which is that the Indiana RFRA applies to private litigation, where the government is not a party. That’s true, but mostly irrelevant. Most business owners will tell you that they have more to fear from the government’s regulatory apparatus, which exists to find violations of the law, than they do from private lawsuits. Do away with the government enforcement and private lawsuits are a minor problem.

      • Athelstane

        Exactly so.

  • KM

    The ultimate losers in this will be everyday innocent non-political small businesses and people in Indiana who are caught in the political crossfire. It’s not enough that small business “mom and pop” ownership is in decline across the nation, but now this could hasten the decline. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/opinion-blog/2015/02/19/decline-of-small-business-hurts-economic-recovery-jobs-growth

    Funny how big corporations are exercising their freedom of speech to silence the opposition and rally true believers behind collective punishment (economic boycott) of a state. The future — where boots are stomping on human faces — is being led by big corporations in the interest of profits over people.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Yup. Target will stock “Congratulations, Gentlemen, on your wedding” greeting cards because Target doesn’t have a soul. The Christian card shop owner down the street won’t because he does. And the latter will soon be run out of business, leaving only the former.

      • KM

        Exactly. The stasi informer will walk into the Christian bookstore, demand to know why the store doesn’t carry SSM greeting cards, then bully the small business into repentance for its “crime” with threats of lawsuits and public shaming. But even that won’t be enough because there will be no mercy even if the store owner apologizes for its “sin.” He/She will be crushed, impoverished, and made to obey. Resisters will be rehabilitated in Room 101

  • David Naas

    My, my. Aren’t the Leftist trolls out in force over THIS one. Perhaps if they scream invective and contempt at people loud enough, they will convince someone.

    They remind me of nothing less than the SA goons who stood in front of Jewish businesses and told the good Aryans, “You don’t want to go in there.”

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    It is really horrible how people use hysteria to drum up fear and “keep the flock agitated and fearful”, as you say. But it works because it becomes especially hard to recognize it if it happens to coincide with the flock’s ideals.

    For example, not too long ago I was reading a piece where the author suggested that gay rights is really about punishing and even jailing those who think that “that homosexual acts are sinful.” Really? Thought crimes?? Hysteria indeed…

    • KM

      Hysteria? No. Here’s the reality:

      “But that wasn’t enough. A revolt among Mozilla staffers, compounded by pressure from software developers, outrage on Twitter and a boycott movement spearheaded by OkCupid, has driven Eich out…But let’s not stop here. If we’re serious about enforcing the new standard, thousands of other employees who donated to the same anti-gay ballot measure must be punished.” – “Purge the Bigots: Brendan Eich is just the beginning. Let’s oust everyone who donated to the campaign against gay marriage.” By William Saletan, Slate, April 4, 2014

      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2014/04/brendan_eich_quits_mozilla_let_s_purge_all_the_antigay_donors_to_prop_8.html

      Big corps can absorb the hits, but the small businesses cannot.

      • OverlappingMagisteria

        Thank you for that apt example of how people use hysteria to cultivate baseless fear. As you demonstrated, people will often use similar, but ultimately unrelated examples to bolster the hysteria. Pressuring companies to fire employees is entirely different than imprisonment (which is what the author I quoted was saying.) But, if the flock’s eyes are clouded by fear… then close enough!

        Quote-mining is another tactic that fear-mongers use, and you provide us with a great example of that as well. Sure… if someone actually read the article you linked, they will probably notice that the author was sarcatic and actually criticizing the inconsistency of those who pressured Mozilla to oust Eich. But most people won’t read the article, and instead will use the parts you quoted to justify the fear and hysteria.

        It is interesting how the hysterics create a feedback loop: once someone is sufficiently afraid, their judgement gets clouded so that they may even read their fears into unrelated and satirical news-pieces, like the one you linked. This leads to increased fear, more confirmation bias, which only feeds the fear more…

        • KM

          A lot of people have read that article and didn’t see the satire since it was very close to the reality of what happened in California after Prop 8 passed. (Yes I’m aware that Saletan later told everyone it was satire.) Even if it’s satire, it reflects thinking that is all too real. Prop 8 lists of donors were publicized and small business donors were punished accordingly in California.

          I don’t feel as if Mark is cultivating baseless fear, and neither am I. We see the signs of where this is headed (note the media hysteria being generated over Indiana’s law) and are making conclusions on the evidence. My husband and I are small business owners, and are aware of the many pressures that are affecting small businesses. Awareness doesn’t necessarily equal fear.

        • antigon

          Dear Mr. Ria:
          *
          Presumably your posts are but propaganda to obfuscate, in line with Mr. Ken’s view that given its existential threat Christianity is not to be tolerated.
          *
          In the unlikely event you are just…wanting perception, the death threats & general kristallnachty mood against the pizza folk in Indiana ought to disabuse that want.

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Thank you for the reply Miss Gon.

            Death threats are, of course, entirely unacceptable and the perpetrators of them should be prosecuted. But the blog post I originally linked to said that the gay movement at large seeks to imprison those who hold contrary beliefs. This is baseless hysteria with no grounding in reality.

            You want me to judge the gay rights movement by the extremists in it who make death threats? Should I also judge the pro-life movement by the extremists who kill abortion providers? Should I judge Christianity by the views of the Westboro Baptist Church? Should I judge Catholic priesthood by the few who have committed crimes against children?

            This is how to spread baseless hysteria. Elevate the few extremists as if they are representative of the whole group.

            • antigon

              ‘the gay movement at large seeks to imprison those who hold contrary beliefs.’
              *
              Only if necessary according to Mr. Ken. And of course the entire K-nachty mood that accompanied the death threats didn’t exactly contradict them, much as it found them helpful if necessary to descry in passim.
              *
              If not the priesthood, the American episcopate does deserve harsh judgment, but Christianity has emphatically condemned the – incidentally non-Christian – Westboro folk, as has the pro-life movement, assassination. The plutocratically engineered hysteria surrounding the Indiana law & the pizza place on the other hand is rather more notable for its condemnation of these than for any death threats against them.
              *
              Meantime that’s Signora to you, Mr. Ria.

              • OverlappingMagisteria

                I did not realize that this “Mr. Ken” was the official spokesperson of the gay rights movement. If he really does seek to imprison people simply for holding contrary beliefs, then I, and I’m sure the majority of gay rights supporters would disagree.

                And yes, I know that Christians and pro-lifers condemn WBC, pedo-priests, and assassins. But guess what? Those who threatened Memories Pizza were also widely condemned by gay rights activists. That’s why I brought up those examples. Because they are parallel, even if you can’t see it.

                • antigon

                  ‘Those who threatened Memories Pizza were also widely condemned by gay rights activists.’
                  *
                  Dear Mr. Ria:
                  *
                  If so, glad to hear it, tho from what I’ve seen, our oligarchy focused all its attention on the horror of that girl’s hesitation – replete with no less than doctored photos to make her look ugly – & little to none on these condemnations you hold were so wide in their spread.
                  *
                  Which is the way it works you know, & why the examples are not at all parallel, as you may imagine should some comparable threaten an abortionist: for the latter’s grisly slaughter would not even be mentioned, tho folks would hear for days on end about the threat.
                  *
                  And the result & purpose is also the same, that the hoi must learn to shut up & submit when the plutocracy speaks.
                  *
                  As to Mr. Ken, he wrote that ‘it would be insane &/or suicidal’ for ‘any group to tolerate a sworn enemy who poses an ongoing existential threat to them,’ by which he meant the toleration of Christians by homosexualists.
                  *
                  Not to say, Mr. Ken neglected to add, by that ancient & notably intolerant hunger for absolute State power, against which Catholicism has always been so existentially problematic.
                  *
                  As the State’s ongoing effort to solve that problem continues to increase, Mr. Ria, one hopes you will both notice & perhaps do more than just disagree; if you do, however, one cannot but suspect that those folks you too confidently insist hold your views will soon regard you too as an enemy.
                  *
                  For what Pope (Alex I mean, who while a Catholic was not a Pontiff) said about vice, applies no less to tyranny, to wit: ‘a monster of so frightful mien; As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure…then embrace.’

  • Eve Fisher

    23 years ago my husband and I went West River and stopped in a small town to rent a room for the night. The motel owners would not rent to me because they thought I was Native American. (I’m not, but that’s irrelevant.) The reason why I am opposed to the Indiana Religious Freedom Law is that, being deliberately vague, it gives any business the right to refuse to serve anybody they don’t like and claim religious objections. Now you may believe that everyone is perfectly honest and would only claim religious objections if they really HAD religious objections. I don’t. I’m an old white woman, and I’ve seen a lot of people who have objections to treating blacks, Native Americans, Jews, and other minorities as human beings, who don’t want to have to serve them, feed them, treat them decently. Laws like this open the door to “the worst demons of our nature” (to paraphrase Lincoln).

    We live in a secular society to protect us from each other and ourselves. I prefer separation of church and state, because I do not want to see any one religion in charge of this country, and separation is the only way to ensure that. And I do not want to see anything that even hints at overturning the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and restores “No ___ served here” signs at restaurants, hotels, stores. Because it’s not “just LGBT” rights that are on the table, it’s everybody’s rights. You may never have been discriminated against. I have, simply because I had dark hair and dark eyes. I also remember clearly the days when women were constantly discriminated against – when there were “Jobs for Men” and “Jobs for Women” sections of the newspaper, when women were refused entrance to colleges, refused bank loans or credit cards. I repeat, we live in a secular society of laws to protect us from each other and ourselves.

    Finally, it seems that so much of the Christian response these days is an attempt to be able to live “righteously” without suffering. Biblically speaking, that’s impossible. If we really believe that something is sinful, then say so and, if possible, live so – but we cannot expect to be free from criticism, harassment, or even persecution. In fact, Jesus said (Matthew 5:10-11) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” But a key word in those verses is “falsely”. We don’t get any credit if what they say is true.

    • HornOrSilk

      But it doesn’t. That is not the law. That is the false representation of the law.

      • Eve Fisher

        Perhaps, but that’s actually irrelevant. A lot of false representations of law have been used to hurt a lot of people. “Separate but equal” cut off a lot of black kids for years from a decent education.

        • HornOrSilk

          What the law does is irrelevant? That it protects Native Americans is irrelevant? Ok… so truth is irrelevant. Got it. Done with you.

          • Eve Fisher

            How laws have been used to discriminate is irrelevant? Fine. Thanks for the summary judgment.

            • HornOrSilk

              You are the one who said what the law DOES is irrelevant, not I. You are the one who gave the judgment. Goodbye!

              • Eve Fisher

                I’ll try once more and rephrase this: the law may be falsely represented (although I disagree with you); however, false representations of the law have been and were used to discriminate throughout the Jim Crow South, against Jews (see “Gentleman’s Agreement”), against all kinds of ethnicities, creeds, etc. That is the danger of laws which are crafted to place vague “religious objections” above civil rights. There are “religions” that I object to greatly, especially the Aryan Nation variety. I believe that their “religious objections” to life, liberty, and freedom for black people to be abhorrent, unAmerican, and should not be allowed. Thankfully, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did that. I don’t want that undone just so that someone might not have to deal with gay people. I hope you can understand.

          • Newp Ort

            You’re certainly feeling snippy today.

        • LFM

          It is not possible to impose a law where there is no will to enforce it. Where the public will is strong enough, any law can be misused or actively ignored.
          Meanwhile, I doubt very much that African American children in the US would, historically, have received better educations if the “separate but equal” idea had never been introduced into law. They are scarcely receiving better educations now that the concept has been stricken out of the law. Forcible desegregation of public schools often ruined good ones, black or white, by all accounts I’ve read.
          Where black students do receive good educations is where parents, teachers and administrators have been allowed to create good schools, unfettered by some of the more unfortunate union rules that hamper teacher discipline, and public education rules that hamper student discipline.

    • Athelstane

      The reason why I am opposed to the Indiana Religious Freedom Law is that, being deliberately vague, it gives any business the right to refuse to serve anybody they don’t like and claim religious objections.

      Really, it’s not a free pass to businesses to discriminate against gay customers. All it does is grant religious people the right to a court hearing in such matters, to determine if there is a way that the state can better achieve its aims than to compel the business owner to violate his conscience. That’s it. That is how RFRA’s have functioned in other states that have them.

      • Eve Fisher

        I presume you’ve read that this RFRA is different from the others: it includes partnerships and corporations as well as individuals as those who have religious rights. And – while it may have been about gay wedding cakes – this law opens the gates to discrimination against all minorities: blacks, Jews, hispanics. There is great danger with laws that are crafted to place vague “religious objections” above civil rights. There are “religions” that I object to greatly, especially the Aryan Nation variety. I believe that their “religious objections” to life, liberty, and freedom for black people to be abhorrent, unAmerican, and should not be allowed. Thankfully, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did that. I don’t want that undone just so that someone might not have to serve gay people.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          There are “religions” that I object to greatly, especially the Aryan Nation variety.

          Help me out here: do you think the law should require you to serve these Aryan Nation types if they came into your business?

          • Eve Fisher

            Yep. If they threaten me, I can also call the law on them. But if they want a quiet cup of coffee, they get one.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              Well, you’re more principled than many people that I have seen on your side of this issue. But most importantly, what you’re describing isn’t sinful for you. And few devout Christians would say that giving drink to the thirsty – even if he’s gay – is sinful. Helping him get his gay on… different story.

              Here’s the thing: your experience twenty-three years ago notwithstanding, what you’re describing is pretty rare. (I mean, it was twenty-three years ago, and I presume that if you had a more recent example, we’d hear it.) The Christians I know don’t have a problem selling gasoline, birthday cupcakes, or office supplies to gays, Muslims, polytheists, fornicators, etc.

              But what we do have a big problem with is having our creative efforts enlisted for immoral purposes. If I were a florist, I wouldn’t want to create flower arrangements to help people better worship Vishnu. I wouldn’t want to bake a cake that said “Congratulations on your marriage, Brian and Steve.” I wouldn’t want my photography to memorialize a female circumcision.

              If we could guarantee that anti-discrimination law would only be applied to prevent businesses from refusing service on the basis of identity rather than on activity, I think there could be a compromise, but I have no idea how that would work in practice. It’s easy to say that you can’t turn away gays from your coffee shop, even if you think they’re sinners doomed to Hell. Being gay has nothing to do with buying coffee. Where the rubber meets the road, though: an overnight stay at a motel, a same-sex wedding – the objections bear less on personal identity and more on activity. I don’t know if the law is capable of making that distinction.

              And because it’s not, I err on the side of liberty. I see little of a photography crisis, or a wedding cake crisis, or a florist crisis, such that this is the only place where we can get a wedding cake, therefore you must serve us. This ain’t a lunch counter in Mississippi in 1958.

              You can quote Jesus on suffering and oppression if you wish, but the suffering in the Beatitudes isn’t the requirement that we participate in evil acts. It may mean that we suffer the consequences of the state punishing us for refusing to do evil, but doing evil itself isn’t the suffering we should rejoice in.

              • Eve Fisher

                Re the 23 years ago, yes it was a while back, and now that I’m old and grey, I get a lot more respect. But I also know that discrimination is alive and well in many parts of the country. Out here in the High Plains, where I live, there are lots of towns where there is only one motel, one restaurant, only one gas station, only one public restroom – and people have been turned away from using them; are still being turned away from using them. Because, to be honest, when the town is isolated enough, and there’s only one venue – nobody’s going to make them do anything they don’t want to do. You learn, after a while, where not to go. There’s a dark side to this country. In the immortal words of Sherlock Holmes, “the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful
                record of sin [or racism or discrimination] than does the smiling and beautiful countryside”. [My addition.]

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  But do you see how this works? When it’s time to oppose RFRA laws, it’s a big ugly parade of America’s sins, from gas stations to motels to the Woolworth’s counter. Then in practice it’s about forcing someone to take pictures of or make a cake for a gay wedding.

                  And your examples prove exactly the opposite of what you think they do. Nasty people are going to be nasty. We’ve had public accommodations civil rights laws for a half-century now, and people are still doing hurtful and hateful things, uncorrected, unpunished. They’re going to continue to keep you out of their washroom, RFRA or no RFRA.

                  But the good people, the decent people, who have an honest belief that sex between men is morally wrong and don’t want to be seen to be endorsing it – those are the people who this law protects. Those other folks don’t need it. They’re going to discriminate, law or no law.

                  We don’t need speculation or anecdotes. We’ve got something better: fact. The RFRA isn’t a silver bullet. You don’t get to yell “religious objection” and ignore any law you want. You can’t shut someone out of your business and walk away from a lawsuit by saying “RFRA.” You can still be sued, and the government can still come after you. So if RFRA laws were really just a tool for cruelty, well, our court cases would reflect that. This hasn’t been the history of the two decades of this law.

                  • Eve Fisher

                    Except that you’ve just said that the RFRA is all about religious objections to gays – and that’s not in the law. Instead the law is as broad and vague as possible, which is why I oppose it. If the purpose of the law really is to defend the baker, photographer, or wedding designer from having to participate in gay weddings, then have the guts to say so and take the licks that will come from doing that. But everyone is saying , “Well this law is all about religious liberty”, and then all they talk about how it’s to defend people from having to officiate at gay weddings, and deny that it will be used for anything else. I don’t believe it. I think it will be. And everyone should be afraid it will be.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Except that you’ve just said that the RFRA is all about religious objections to gays

                      I said nothing of the kind. I don’t “deny that it will be used for anything else.” I haven’t seen what you’re describing. To the contrary: I see the law’s supporters noting that RFRAs have protected the right of Sikhs to carry ceremonial blades and of Muslim prisoners to grow beards.

                      I don’t understand this objection. Why must the RFRA be limited to gay weddings in order to be valid? Gay weddings are a hot-button issue today, but why can’t we have a law that protects religious expression more broadly? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of other things that the RFRA can and should protect:

                      -A Jewish caterer who thinks that Jesus was a false prophet not catering a celebration after a baptism.
                      -A Baptist photographer who believes that statues of Mary are graven images, and who therefore refuses to photograph a wedding in a Catholic church.
                      -A Catholic baker who believes that remarriage after divorce is sinful refusing to bake a cake for a remarried person’s wedding reception.

              • Eve Fisher

                “If I were a florist, I wouldn’t want to create flower arrangements to help people better worship Vishnu.” But, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. So we can’t refuse to serve someone just because they’re a Hindu. Or Muslim. Or Buddhist. Or Protestant. Or Catholic. Or Mormon. (PS, my understanding is that Hindus use huge amounts of flowers in their ceremonies, so it would actually be a real money-maker. So far, I’ve never heard of a florist refusing to serve one, have you? As I’ve said, religious objections only seem to be raised when it comes to the sexual behavior of others…) Also, female genital mutilation is illegal in this country (thank God!), so that wouldn’t ever be in question.

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  So we can’t refuse to serve someone just because they’re a Hindu. Or Muslim. Or Buddhist. Or Protestant. Or Catholic. Or Mormon.

                  And that’s a travesty. What’s your point here? To tell me what the law is? Okay, mission accomplished. We’re not discussing what the law is. We’re discussing what it should be.

                  • Eve Fisher

                    And that’s where we disagree. You see, I want freedom of religion for ALL religions, not just my particular brand of Christianity. And I want to protect everyone from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, ethnicity, etc., not just my particular race, religion, sex, and ethnicity. I want the law to be equal for all, to protect all, and that means that sometimes I have to do things I don’t necessarily want to do or like doing. I can live with that.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      I can live with that.

                      If you can, it’s only because you’re in a line of work that doesn’t pose a risk of requiring you to actively participate in activities that you think are evil.

                      Suppose you’re an artist. People come in and ask you to paint things: their kids, their childhood home based on a photograph, a still life here and there. And you’ve always done it, because none of that stuff offends your morals.

                      But then one day into your studio walks a Satanist. That Satanist wants you to paint a portrait of him defecating on a Bible. You can live with laws requiring you to do that?

                      A less extreme example: you own a print shop. A Jewish person walks in and wants you to print 10,000 flyers that says “Jesus was a false prophet.” You can live with laws requiring you to serve him?

                    • Athelstane

                      Apparently, she can.

                    • Eve Fisher

                      Actually, artists are independent contractors: they can accept or reject commissions all they want. They might not get any more work, but artists are used to rejection.

                      So, re this whole “actively participating in evil”: was Jesus actively participating in evil when He had dinner with Zaccheus? or with the gang of tax-collectors and prostitutes at Matthew’s? when He let the whore wash his feet with her hair (knowing that the Pharisees around him are thinking the worst)? when He talked with Samaritan woman living in sin with her latest squeeze? when He let the adulteress go without anything more than a “neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more”? or when Paul said (1 Cor. 10:27) “if an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience”? Seriously, if the only way to get to heaven is to keep yourself pure from any contamination by and with sinners (1) it’s impossible; (2) you probably won’t make many converts.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Ah, I get it it: you can’t deny anyone a service because of your religious beliefs… unless you create a sufficient legal fiction to justify treating them differently.

                      So a painter who doesn’t want to paint something that he finds offensive to his religion can do that, because he’s a “independent contractor.” But a photographer is not an “independent contractor” and he must photograph your wedding or goat sacrifice.

                      How about a painter – an “independent contractor” who can reject business for any reason, in your view – who is asked to paint a lesbian couple in their wedding gowns?

                      As for dining with tax collectors and sinners, no, that’s not a sin. The question is whether you’re participating in evil. Eating is not intrinsically evil. Befriending sinners is not intrinsically evil. If during your meal with said sinners you encourage them to sin futher? That’s evil. But taking the meal and sharing friendship is not evil. Similarly, eating meat that may have been sacrificed to idols is not intrinsically evil, but participating in the sacrifice is.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      You see, I want freedom of religion for ALL religions, not just my particular brand of Christianity.

                      Of course, if we scroll up a bit, we read:

                      Also, female genital mutilation is illegal in this country (thank God!)

                      Huh.

                      If a woman wants to mutilate her genitals because she believes that her deity wills it… what happened to the whole thing about wanting “freedom of religion for ALL religions”?

                      I suggest you amend that to read “freedom of religion for ALL religions that I approve of.”

                    • Eve Fisher

                      So freedom for all religion – a guarantee given in the First Amendment, which everyone on this post is saying is being violated if the RFRA isn’t a go – is now equivalent to wanting FGM to be legal? Wow. That’s an “argument to the extreme”, isn’t it? http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/30-appeal-to-extremes
                      Let’s stick with real life. Do you believe that Hindus, Muslims, or Buddhists should or should not have the same right to worship in this country as you do? How about Jews? How about Protestants? Mormons?

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      I’m just trying to figure out what you you mean by “”freedom of religion for ALL religions” because you seem pretty eager to outlaw certain religious practices that cause no harm to you other than offending your sensibilities.

                    • wlinden

                      And what if she wants to commit suttee because she believes she has a religious obligation? OBVIOUSLY you are in favor of burning widows, you misogynist! That is what “religious freedom” laws will lead directly to!

            • antigon

              And if they came in naked as a jaybird, would you reinforce our society’s viciously bigoted anti-nudist prejudices by calling the cops on them?

          • Eve Fisher

            Oh, and also, I’d be required to give them medical treatment, of course.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Can you explain your objection to the extension of religious freedom rights to partnerships? If my buddy Chris and I work separately, we can have our religious objections, but as soon as we form Chris & Me, LP and combine our efforts, we no longer get to exercise our consciences?

          As for the Aryan dudes, “their ‘religious objections’ to life, liberty, and freedom for black people” don’t stand a chance of being protected by RFRAs. You can’t kill a black man and say “I have a religious objection to his continued existence.”

          • Eve Fisher

            A business is a legal entity, not a human being. In case you can’t guess, I find Citizens United abhorrent, and the Hobby Lobby decision, simply because they give corporations the same rights as individuals. Now this (to me) is double talk, since corporations already have a special set of rights that grant the individuals who make up that corporation immunity (limited liability) to lawsuits against the corporation, liabilities of the corporation, etc. So the individuals are protected financially and legally by being shareholders or limited partners from anything the corporation does amiss. Even if those liabilities are the result of the actions of the individual which of course they are… because corporations aren’t self-aware robots wandering around making decisions. But now the corporation is supposed to be the extension of the individuals religious rights as well… I don’t buy it.

            Sorry I wandered there. Look, you and Chris get to exercise your consciences every day in your private life. But when you set up Chris & Me, LP, you have undertaken a public commitment and contract to the corporate laws of the land (such as they are). (I find it interesting, BTW, that all religious objections raised so far by corporations are about sex in one form or another; let me know when a corporation won’t work with the covetous.) Thus, as a corporation, you have to obey the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and not discriminate against people due to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Period. I don’t understand the problem with that.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              I asked about partnerships. I know what your objections to corporations are.

              • Eve Fisher

                Well, according to Wikipedia, limited partnerships have the same limited liability of a corporation; and “As with a general partnership, “an act of a general partner which is not apparently for carrying on in the ordinary course the limited partnership’s activities or activities of the kind carried on by the limited partnership binds the limited partnership only if the act was actually authorized by all the other partners”. That’s all I know about the difference between limited partnerships and corporations – i.e., not that much.

            • JM1001

              …they give corporations the same rights as individuals.

              I find this kind of thinking truly baffling. Either corporations — no less than individuals — have the First Amendment right to freedom of speech or they don’t. If they don’t, then how can one make any sense of cases like New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and New York Times Co. v. United States?

              However one feels about the details of how Citizens United was ultimately decided, the government action at the center of the case — denying a private group the right to engage in the core political speech act of releasing a documenary (Hillary: The Movie) just because it’s right before an election — was odious and wrong. Such a denial deserved to be struck down.

              Regarding the Indiana RFRA’s inclusion of corporations as “persons” for the purposes of the law, I don’t see how that is any different from what is already contained in the Dictionary Act, which a court could legitimately use in a statutory interpretation of the federal RFRA.

              • ManyMoreSpices

                I’m always curious about the other rights that the anti-Citizens United folks would deny corporations. Maybe the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures? How would this argument go? “You can have privacy in your home, but as soon as you incorporate your business, the cops can come in any time they like and search your office without a warrant.” Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process? Third Amendment? “Oh, this building is owned by a corporation? We’re going to use it as a peacetime barracks now.”

        • Athelstane

          Yes, I read the Epps piece at The Atlantic. But all that the extra provisions do is to expand the possible class of parties who could raise this defense in court. It doesn’t guarantee that they will actually prevail on it.

          Is it really so unconscionable that (say) a photographer, baker, or wedding invite designer should be able to refuse a wedding client due to religious objections? Because this is the sort of thing we are talking about – a very narrow class of possible cases.

          • Eve Fisher

            Except that that narrow class of possible cases is nowhere listed in the law – instead the law is as broad and vague as possible, which is why I oppose it. If the purpose of the law is to defend the baker, photographer, or wedding designer from having to participate in gay weddings, then have the guts to say so and take the licks that will come from doing that. But don’t say, “Well this law is all about religious liberty”, and then ONLY talk about gays, and deny that it will be used for anything else. They’re trying to have their cake and eat it too, literally. Because the truth is, I can guarantee you that the law will be used for other situations.

            • Athelstane

              …then have the guts to say so and take the licks that will come from doing that

              Well, right now, that means facing prosecution by the state and civil lawsuis from angry gay couples, usually resulting in closure of the business and bankruptcy for the proprietor.

              Is that really fair?

              • Eve Fisher

                Or they could always go into another line of work. Was whipping, beating and stoning fair in the Biblical times? If you’re going to stand up for what you truly believe, at some point you’re going to take a punch or two. Jesus promised us that. But we want an easier way through the narrow gate. All the privileges of being persecuted and none of the pain and suffering.

                • JM1001

                  But we want an easier way through the narrow gate. All the privileges of being persecuted and none of the pain and suffering.

                  Perhaps. But I don’t think Jesus meant that you needed to go further, and be an apologist for the persecutors.

                  • Eve Fisher

                    “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”? Maybe. I just see a lot of people screaming about being persecuted, instead of thanking Jesus for the privilege of suffering for and in His name. That’s hard doctrine – today. But it’s all over the New Testament, not to mention the lives of the saints.

                    • JM1001

                      But your argument is not that we should forgive them for their sins, but that they have committed no sins in the first place. Indeed, you praise their actions.

                    • antigon

                      Do you mean those damnable whiners in ISIS-occupied Iraq, or would your prefer to be selective about these demands you humbly make on people who disagree with you?

                    • Eve Fisher

                      No, I’m talking about all those in America, in the most protected, safe, free, open society in the world. I would not dream of speaking about anyone in any country where practicing Christianity actually puts life and liberty in jeopardy.

                    • LFM

                      Does it occur to you that by trying to stop this kind of thing *now*, people might be intending to prevent the creation of a society like those occupied by ISIS? Are you really unaware of the limits to freedom of speech, association and religious expression already being imposed on any dissenters from progressive orthodoxy in academia, the media, and the public service? The campuses where neither students nor professors are allowed to say anything that might “trigger” the sensitive? The scientists who try to ensure that any of their fellows who have even mild doubts about or arguments with global warming have to retire from academia? The journalists who for some years (this is thankfully no longer true) were scarcely willing to question anything Obama did?

                      You make frequent reference to the duty of Christian patience and the acceptance of persecution for Christ’s sake. Does being a Christian mean abandoning one’s rights of citizenship, or indeed human rights (the latter an almost exclusively Christian concept in origin)? Would it not be wrong merely to acquiesce to state power-grabs before they could become full-blown tyranny?

                      I live in Canada, where the situation is in some respects more acute than in the US. One big difference is that we’re not so lawsuit happy, which makes life easier; our (Conservative) government has also removed a section from our federal human rights act that was in essence a carte blanche invitation to progressive agitators to make trouble for anyone with conservative views.

                    • Eve Fisher

                      I’m sorry I keep quoting the Bible, but Jesus was pretty plain, imho, when He said: “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” (Luke 6:27-28, 35) That’s the way He lived. Just because we don’t want to actually live it, too, doesn’t mean those weren’t His marching orders.

                    • LFM

                      That was a thoughtlessly condescending reply that managed to ignore the questions I actually put to you and to imply, without any reason at all, that I am somehow disagreeing with Jesus’s teaching. I am not. Whether I’m failing to follow it myself is none of your business in this context. I don’t know that there are any of us who can count ourselves to be perfect followers of His.

                      Do you or do you not think people should fight perceived injustice? That’s what I asked, if you need a simplification.

                      You are arguing in bad faith, without attending to or any intention of attending to the comments people actually make. Unless your reply to me, if there is one, indicates otherwise, I won’t consider it worth responding to you again.

                    • Eve Fisher

                      You found my reply condescending; I was actually being polite to criticism of my beloved country by a foreign national.

                    • LFM

                      You have not answered my question.

                    • Eve Fisher

                      “Does being a Christian mean abandoning one’s rights of citizenship, or indeed human rights?” No, it doesn’t – but it also does not mean that you can abandon one’s duties of citizenship, such as obeying the Constitution and other laws of the land, without experiencing repercussions of that. In other words, being a Christian does NOT mean that you can have all the laws of a secular country match your particular belief system so that you never have to, say, go to jail for protesting something, much less feel uncomfortable.

                      We live in a country in which the First Amendment not only promises freedom of speech, but freedom of religion – ALL religion. Here’s my question: Do you believe that? Do you believe that Hindus, Muslims, or Buddhists should or should not have the same right to worship and freedom of religion in this country as you do? How about Jews? How about Protestants? Mormons?

                      BTW, the United States you described in no way resembles the United States I live in; nor, as I read to the end, the country you live in, either, since you live in Canada. You might want to check your news source.

                    • LFM

                      Madam, I’m now convinced that you’re a concern troll – and to judge by your final paragraph, one who has her head in the sand, too. Good bye.

                    • LFM

                      My original response seems to have disappeared for the moment. If it reappears, that will be the reason there are two (quite different).

                      No one here is seeking to disobey the Constitution; they are attempting to remind people of what the Constitution has always meant. No one is attempting to suggest that the laws of a secular country should match their particular belief system.

                      Indeed, your First Amendment not only provides for freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but for freedom of association, an important point that seems to have been neglected in recent US debate.

                      I certainly believe that freedom of religion ought to include Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Protestants, Mormons and even the Amish, whose rejection of the ordinary duties of citizenship is rather more radical than anything the posters here are requesting – even if you insist on interpreting their views in the worst light.

                      Your last paragraph is nonsense and shows no knowledge of what is going on in the world around you.

                      p.s. I have to conclude that you are a “concern troll”, defined by the Urban Dictionary as “A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of “concern,” to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don’t really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.” In your case, the authority or power with whom you think we might be in in trouble is God…

                      Anyway, under the circumstances, it seems a waste of time debating with you. Good-bye.

                    • antigon

                      ‘Just because we don’t want to actually live it…’
                      *
                      Speak for thyself, Mz. F., tho loving, blessing, doing good & praying for one’s enemies does not mean confirming them in their self-destruction, despite what our oligarchy would have you believe.

                    • Eve Fisher

                      Okay. I am.

                    • antigon

                      So then you don’t hold this matter ‘of thanking Jesus for the privilege of suffering for and in His name’ as a principle, but only applicable to folk with whom you disagree. A most touching piety Mz. F.
                      *
                      As to our plutocratic Empire being ‘the most protected, safe, free, open society in the world’ – cling to that illusion too if you like.
                      *
                      http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/13-ways-the-nsa-has-spied-on-us/ar-AAagKCL?ocid=DELLDHP#page=5.

                • Athelstane

                  “Or they could always go into another line of work.

                  Until you take that away from them, too.

                  In short, you give up ALL of your First Amendment freedoms when you enter the stream of commerce in any way, shape or form?

                  • Eve Fisher

                    Sorry, I have to go cook dinner. Will respond tomorrow.

                  • kenofken

                    ALL freedoms? All they have to do is not withhold their normal goods and services from people based on who they are. They don’t have to silence their opinions or views about it. If he were still around in his prime, Fred Phelps could be a wedding cake baker in any of the states with the strongest LGBT anti-discrimination laws on the books. He could come to work every day in an apron that says “God hates fags.” So long as he didn’t turn away gay business, he’d be good to go where the law is concerned.

                    • Eve Fisher

                      Thank you for summing it up better than I could.

                    • Athelstane

                      All they have to do is not withhold their normal goods and services from people based on who they are.

                      They are insisting on refusing to take commissions based on what their customers are DOING, not who they ARE.

                      I utterly reject this pernicious notion, ken, that we must abandon all our First Amendment rights the nanosecond that we enter the stream of commerce. That’s tyranny by any other name. It’s intolerant of any differing viewpoints. It leave no room in the public square for those who dissent. It says: “You can have your beliefs so long as you don’t actually ACT on them or LIVE by them, and by the way, if you do get caught expressing them, we will do everything in our power to marginalize hateful, evil bigots like you, just like was done to the KKK two generations ago.”

                      The carveouts that are being demanded – and they have a long pedigree in American law and culture – are extraordinarily limited. Doctors and nurses should not be forced to perform abortions. Artisans should not be forced to take commissions for expressions they morally object to. The number of economic transactions in question is infinitesimal. If the New York Times can refuse to take advertisements or print letters it disagrees with, then by God Joe the photographer ought to be able to decline a commission to shoot an event he finds morally repulsive.

                    • antigon

                      Or nudists! The real victims of persecution in this vicious theocracy!

                    • carlamariee
                  • Eve Fisher

                    Ken summed it up better than I could.

  • Dave G.

    Here’s what I remember. I remember an interview with Barry Lynn and Anderson Cooper during the John Roberts hearings. Lynn was raising the alarms because James Dobson had sent a card to Roberts, suggesting some form of theocracy was at hand. Then Anderson did something I didn’t expect. He turned on Lynn and asked him where he was when religious leaders had appeared in Washington to insist that congress strike down any attempts at a Protection of Marriage Amendment. I could tell Lynn was stunned. He talked around the issue, but Anderson wouldn’t let him off the hook.

    Anyway, Anderson kept on asking why the differences. Finally, Lynn laid out what I call the Barry Manifesto. He said what those religious leaders were doing in opposing an amendment to ban gay marriage was True. They were Right. There is nothing at all wrong with True, and nobody should be turned away from partaking in our government and social discourse when they are advocating the Truth.

    Beliefs, even religious beliefs, that advocate hate, bigotry and discrimination, however, have no part in our civil discourse, and certainly should expect no connections with our government or publicly funded venues.

    I wanted Anderson to respond “so you’re saying that any belief that doesn’t conform to your [liberal] values should not expect the same rights and liberties as those that do?’ But he didn’t. I couldn’t believe that Lynn was so flagrant, and chalked it up to him being shaken by the question.

    After watching the last couples years of development, however, I see now that Mr. Lynn was merely echoing a growing sentiment that is being embraced by an increasing number of Americans. See a pre-Christmas poll by CNN that said more than half of Americans believed that where contraceptives are concerned, religious belief cannot be what presents access to coverage. Well played liberalism. Well played indeed. Getting a college educated generation to agree to compromise liberty in the name of tolerance. Nice.

    • Athelstane

      I wanted Anderson to respond “so you’re saying that any belief that doesn’t conform to your [liberal] values should not expect the same rights and liberties as those that do?’ But he didn’t.

      Because he can’t.

      The emerging zeitgeist will be happy to accommodate and cherish Christians, so long as they are of the Barry Lynn, Katherine Jefferts-Schori variety – in short, indistinguishable from garden variety secular liberals.

      • Dave G.

        I agree. We call it ‘liberalism’ or ‘the Left’. It is a global revolution. A new religion if you will. Like others in history, it will accommodate, to a point. But like most revolutions, it seems to be long on promises, and short on delivery (Americans are spoiled to think that any revolution will work and keep its promises, because for all of our Founders’ sins that we focus on, they set up a country that worked and they more or less kept their promises). Within my children’s lifetime, they can remember hearing that nobody would ever be forced to compromise their religion over gay rights. Just as this movement that we called liberalism once promised a nation of tolerance, diversity, agreeing to disagree, respecting everyone’s views, accommodating all perspectives. I wonder if we will wake up in time. Based on the backlash against this, and the growing number of people saying that rights only matter when set against the real rights we call ‘liberal’, I’m not optimistic .

  • TheFrequentPoster

    The problem with Indiana’s law isn’t wedding cakes. If that was the issue with equal accommodations for gays, I wouldn’t even bother to comment about it. To me, the wedding cake and flower cases are absurd and trivial from both sides. Especially the florists. I never imagined that there was an anti-gay florist anywhere in America. Learn something new every day.

    What matters here, in the real world, are things like restaurants, hotels, stores, hospitals, doctors — off the top of my head. There is a long list of goods and services that people depend on, sometimes in emergencies and other times when, even if not an emergency, for one reason or another “shopping around” isn’t possible or practical.

    Aside from this or that transaction, this is an effort by far right wing “Christians” to exempt themselves from civil rights laws. Why? So they can discriminate against homosexuals. If this stands, it makes them second-class citizens. I can’t see how conservatives support that.

    • Athelstane

      What matters here, in the real world, are things like restaurants, hotels, stores, hospitals, doctors — off the top of my head.

      Except, of course, that there is zero evidence of such goods and services being refused to gays anywhere, nor of any demand to be able to do so.

      It’s instructive that the florist in question had been selling flowers quite willingly to the man in question for years, knowing he was gay. She had no objection to do doing so, since there were no moral implications to such transactions. She only objected when she was asked to set up floral arrangements for his same-sex “wedding.”

      Look at the actual application of RFRA’s, and how they’ve been applied – either to profits or non-profits.

      • kenofken

        The concept behind civil rights public accommodations laws is that someone offering a good or service must offer it to all, not “most of the time” or “unless we really, really don’t want to.”

        Your example of the florist is not one of a functioning civil right. It was a case where the gay customer was a second-class citizen who received tenuous and perfectly revocable magnanimity from the owner.

        Civil rights laws with asterisks and opt-outs are not civil rights at all. They’re a toothless plea for people to be nice to each other.

        • Athelstane

          The concept behind civil rights public accommodations laws is that someone offering a good or service must offer it to all.

          Yet, until the late 20th century (when the Supreme Court started to enter the picture on a constitutional level with cases like Braunfeld v. Brown (1961) and Sherbert v. Verner (1963)), states did, in fact, often provide statutory and common law exemptions for businesses to deny accommodations – and not just on the basis of race, but also religion.

          And the difficulty in adopting the principle you defend here – which I realize has wider purchase now, unfortunately – is that it has no apparent limits. It’s hard to come up with an activity that can’t be said to enter the stream of commerce -indeed, the Supreme Court did a booming business beginning in the 30’s expanding the scope of the commerce clause to almost all extremes (including even growing crops strictly for your own consumption). Is not a religious school in the stream of commerce? What about a religiously operated soup kitchen? For that matter, how is a church hosting weddings not providing a public accommodation? Where are the limits? Because on this principle, it certainly looks like my free exercise rights end the nanosecond I leave the door of my house or my church (and maybe even before it).

          They’re a toothless plea for people to be nice to each other.

          As the debate over the Indiana RFRA law shows, I think we are well past the point of hoping that people will be nice to each other.

          • kenofken

            Civil rights law is indeed rooted in the Commerce Clause, at least on the federal level, and that clause has been interpreted quite expansively. The only laws specifically barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation are at the state and local level so far, so interstate commerce is not a factor. These laws generally carve out exceptions for places of worship and for the organizations they directly operate, like schools, and maybe things like soup kitchens or other ministries. A church hosting weddings? That probably depends on the nature of that hosting. If they’re in the public rent-a-hall business, where anyone can walk in off the street and book space, they’re probably going to be considered a public accommodation under the laws.

            • Athelstane

              These laws generally carve out exceptions for places of worship and for the organizations they directly operate, like schools, and maybe things like soup kitchens or other ministries.

              For now.

              • kenofken

                How do you figure that pre-emptively trying to gut basic gay civil rights and making religious freedom synonymous with a culture war agenda is going to foster the traditional respect for those exemptions?

        • antigon

          ‘Civil rights laws with asterisks and opt-outs are not civil rights at all.’
          *
          Save of course when they apply to civil rights – freedom of religion, say – about which the plutocracy disapproves.
          *
          Tho then it’s not just asterisks.

  • KM

    The hysteria is now spreading to Arkansas. Walmart “bravely” takes a stand for the core basic belief of re$pect for the individual, and urges the Arkansas governor that it would be best for the “spirit of inclusion” to veto its RFRA bill.

    So if Gov. Hutchinson does not veto its bill, would this mean that the much-reviled Walmart would have to boycott its headquarters and leave the state?

    • D.T. McCameron

      Heh. I know some people that’d be mighty torn over that exchange. I suspect their hate of Walmart would lose out in the end, though.

  • AnonyMom

    Is it possible that people like myself can believe wholeheartedly in free exercise of religion and conscience protection AND think this is a bad law? Is that allowed in the canon of what we’re allowed to think?

    • chezami

      Sure.

      • antigon

        Dunno. Use of the word ‘think’ as a verb for the noun ‘thought’ might be a tad broad here.

    • iamlucky13

      Only if you have actually read the law and can explain specifically how it infringes on the rights of homosexual persons.

      For bonus points, explain how it infringes in a legally actionable manner, meaning that restricting the freedom of a person to decline work on the basis of religious beliefs is the least intrusive option available to ensure that a homosexual person can purchase an artistic work like a cake, flower arrangement, or photographic service commemorating a personal event not related to their employment, housing, access to public services, or even access to privately provided healthcare.

      Granted, you don’t have to be educated on a topic to have an opinion about it, so really you don’t have to read the law itself instead of the mischaracterizations of it written by a media industry that thrives on controversy, but you’ll at least have a justifiable reason for your opinion if you do read it.

  • kenofken

    If the Indiana bill and others of its vintage really don’t have anything to do with circumscribing LGBT rights, why is it that the religious right has articulated no other substantial reason for needing RFRA laws post-haste? Why do they need to be rushed onto the books now, just as SSM becomes the norm and probably the law of the land? Curious timing, considering that the limitations of the federal law have been known for 25 years now. If it’s not about denying the basics of public services, employment and housing, why is it that the Indiana Republicans are fighting tooth and claw to resist adding sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination statutes?

    • iamlucky13

      Your question is nonsensical. First of all, the urgency suggestion is backwards. Restricting gay rights is not urgent.

      Secondly, if the idea was to restrict rights, RFRA is a pathetic attempt at it. “Let’s see, what can we do to make gay people cry. I know! We’ll prevent them from prosecuting photographers who don’t want to attend gay weddings. Muahahaha!” Really? That’s merits comparison to racial segregation.

      Third, your claim, “it’s not about denying the basics of public services, employment and housing” is factually false. It does and already has affected employment, including that of the Oregon baker who lost her livelihood as she neared retirement, and the Mozilla executive forced out of his job literally over a matter of free speech completely independent of his job.

    • mts1

      I find it curious timing how all Democrats are against this all of a sudden when bi-partisan support was the hallmark of similar laws passed in the states, and it passed the US Senate 97-3; Chuck Schumer (D) and Barney Frank (D) made sure it went through, the ACLU thought it was great stuff, state Senator Obama (D) voted yes for it when he voted present for much of everything else, and President Clinton (D) signed it into federal law. It was a gold standard for both sides of the fence until Friday.

      • Carol Lemons

        Obama was an opponent of gay marriage at the time.

    • SteveP

      #StraightLivelihoodsMatter

    • Carol Lemons

      Possibly because of all the business owners who have lost their businesses and homes due to expenses of law suits. Enough is enough.

    • antigon

      ‘Why do they need to be rushed onto the books now?’
      *
      Because folks recognize the real issue here is your perspective that ‘for any group to tolerate a sworn enemy who poses an ongoing existential threat to them…would be insane and/or suicidal’?

  • Pete the Greek

    I know I’ll probably get accused of being a Republican sycophant for saying this, but…

    In Benghazi our diplomatic mission was attacked and destroyed, it’s defenders and the ambassador murdered, so…

    I dunno, in my humble opinion that DOES seem to rate a bit above whatever the Kardashians were doing that week.

    • iamlucky13

      I do have to agree the degree of complicity and incompetence of the Administration did get significantly overblown, but they turned it into a serious issue by staging a nonsensical coverup.

      It was preposterous. A full week after an attack where supposedly random protestors showed up with mortars, RPG’s, and machine guns, the White House was still claiming “based on information that we – our initial information,and that includes all information – we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.”

      All information available at that date includes the Libyan president’s own statement that it was preplanned for months, the video feed from a drone launched when the first reports of the attack were made that arrived in time to provide warning to those now sheltering in the CIA annex that the militants were regrouping for an attack on that facility, giving them enough time to escape, the testimony from the debriefed survivors that there was no protest, only an attack, and of course, the followup inspections of the sites confirming the use of heavy weapons.

      In short, the administration told a bald-faced lie. Before they started lying, it was plausibly a case of forgivable poor judgement and/or bureaucracy getting in the way of recognizing the security situation in Benghazi, and I got annoyed really fast at the hysteria over it.

      Then the lie started falling apart, and that was when I realized the Benghazi attack actually was a problem, because they were lying for no reason.

  • LFM

    I confess that I’m really confused about why gay rights activists are taking such exception to this legislation. Am I missing something because I’m Canadian? Below is a text that Rod Dreher quotes from an Indiana law professor named Daniel O. Conkle, who is himself a supporter of gay marriage, etc., but also supports the new law; if Prof. Conkle is mistaken, can anyone explain how and why?

    It’s because — despite all the rhetoric — the bill has little to do with same-sex marriage and everything to do with religious freedom.

    The bill would establish a general legal standard, the “compelling interest” test, for evaluating laws and governmental practices that impose substantial burdens on the exercise of religion. This same test already governs federal law under the federal RFRA, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. And some 30 states have adopted the same standard, either under state-law RFRAs or as a matter of state constitutional law.

    Applying this test, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a Muslim prisoner was free to practice his faith by wearing a half-inch beard that posed no risk to prison security. Likewise, in a 2012 decision, a court ruled that the Pennsylvania RFRA protected the outreach ministry of a group of Philadelphia churches, ruling that the city could not bar them from feeding homeless individuals in the city parks.

    • Andy

      Here is why people are upset and think that Indiana’s RFRA law is a problem:

      But while RFRAs advanced in previous years were designed to prohibit the government from burdening the religious beliefs of citizens, Indiana’s bill would allow individuals to use their religious beliefs to defend themselves in court even if the state is not party to the case.

      Thus, this would allow a business owner to use their religious beliefs to
      justify refusing services for a same-sex couple’s wedding. As a state law, this would supersede any municipal nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people.

      During a joint press conference, Brian Bosma, Speaker of the House and the Senate’s Pro Tem David Long acknowledged that “homophobic shop” keepers will be allowed to display “No Gays allowed” signs.

      • LFM

        My understanding is that this law would only give those people who wished to deny services on such grounds the opportunity to defend themselves in court, rather than create a blanket exception for them. Here’s more from Rod Dreher’s discussion http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/indiana-a-religious-liberty-bellwether/

        Conkle points out — as have others in recent days — that the Indiana law is not a free pass to businesses to discriminate against gay customers. All it does is grant religious people the right to a court hearing in such matters, to determine if there is a way that the state can better achieve its aims than to compel the business owner to violate his conscience. That’s it. In other states that have RFRAs, Conkle says, courts have heard cases related to supposed anti-gay claims, and ruled against the religious plaintiff.

        More [these are Prof. Conkle’s words]: In any event, most religious freedom claims have nothing to do with same-sex marriage or discrimination. The proposed Indiana RFRA would provide valuable guidance to Indiana courts, directing them to balance religious freedom against competing interests under the same legal standard that applies throughout most of the land. It is anything but a “license to discriminate,” and it should not be mischaracterized or dismissed on that basis.

        I repeat: this is the opinion of an actual law professor in Indiana, a professor who supports same-sex marriage and gay rights. Law professor Josh Blackman compares in detail the Indiana law and the federal RFRA, and says the Indiana law is essentially the same thing as the federal one. Excerpt:

        I should stress–and this point was totally lost in the Indiana debate–that RFRA does not provide immunity. It only allows a defendant to raise a defense, which a finder of fact must consider, like any other defense that can be raised under Title VII or the ADA. RFRA is *not* a blank check to discriminate.

        • Andy

          See above –

        • HornOrSilk

          As you can tell, people don’t care about the law itself. They just want to scream and shout and call people bad names because a group is worked up and saying people are hating on gays. Doesn’t matter if they aren’t doing so.

      • HornOrSilk

        I would recommend you dig deeper instead of the poor reading of the law being used in the news. Here is a more in depth presentation and why the news is once again, wrong:

        http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2015/03/indianapolis-star-story-accidentally.html

        To quote:

        So what are these “significant, legal differences” between the federal and state law? The first difference raised by opponents centers on the inclusion of for profit corporations in the state law’s definition of covered persons. The federal RFRA law failed to provide a definition of the “persons” allowed to assert a religious liberty right as a defense to action compelled by a law, but the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case relied upon the definition provided in the Dictionary Act for the U.S. Code, which includes in the definition of a person “corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies and joint stock companies.” The opponents rely upon this supposed expanded definition to
        argue it broadens the idea of who has the right to religious liberty.
        The opponents’ argument fails because nobody can argue with a straight face that covered persons under Indiana law is broader than the federal law.

        The second point on which the opponents argue the state law is written more broadly than the federal law is the inclusion of religious liberty claims that include not only those cases where a person’s religious freedom has been burdened but also when it is likely to be substantially burdened by government action. The opponents claim this has the effect of expanding the type of claims covered persons can assert under the law. That argument similarly fails because the proponents point out that federal courts have interpreted RFRA to read “likely” into the statute
        so that one doesn’t have to be already injured before asserting a claim. As the proponents point out, it’s the difference in whether the relief being claimed is compensation for an injury already suffered or an injunction to prevent a violation. In other words, there’s no real difference between the federal law as applied by the courts and the Indiana law as written.

        The final major point on which the opponents claim Indiana’s law differs from the federal law is that it allows a party in a judicial or
        administrative proceeding between two private parties to assert a
        religious freedom defense under the act. The opponents suggest this makes it easier for businesses sued by persons discriminated against because of their sexual orientation to raise their religious beliefs as a defense to their discriminatory actions. In the years following the passage of the federal law, it has been interpreted in four judicial circuits covering half of the states to allow cases between private parties as well as those cases brought by the government to invoke RFRA if the burden is imposed by the law relied upon to assert discrimination occurred. So the Indiana law incorporates the prevailing rule applied in at least half of the states already. As the proponents point out, in virtually every case where discrimination based on sexual orientation was the basis of the underlying claim in cases between private parties, judges have ruled the government had a compelling interest in enacting
        the underlying nondiscrimination law to overcome the defense raised under RFRA. So again, this is another red herring where the opponents want you to believe that administrative bodies and judges in red states will rule against gays because that’s just the kind of people they are.

        • Andy

          First – l read what I wrote – I dind’t say I agreed with the reading – I said this is the reason why people think it is an issue. If you want to argue about how the law reads do it with somebody who actually gives a damn about how it reads or how it was/is reported.

          • Eve Fisher

            I’ve already been rejected from HornOrSilk’s discussion because I called the actual reading irrelevant to how the law will be interpreted and used on the street. All he is interested in is the exact wording of the law.

            • Andy

              Far easier to deal with then the idea of interpretation and use.

            • HornOrSilk

              Yes, you are not interested in the law, but delusion. That’s the problem: if we want to make things up and talk bad about strawmen, and complain about strawmen, well, we can all make strawmen about your real reasons for criticizing the law… since the law is to promote religious liberty, those who are opposed to it want secret death camps for anyone of any religious faith and that’s the intent of their rejection. What, it isn’t? And we shouldn’t have to talk about that as a talking point because it is nonsense? Then it is nonsense to say “the law isn’t the issue.” When people complain about a law, and then say they don’t care what the law really does, they show their agenda — and admit, it isn’t the law! If perception is all that matters, then we can’t hold any rational discussion: delusion rules.

            • wlinden

              Depicting a law by a parade of horribles it “could lead to” is dishonest.

          • HornOrSilk

            Ok, so you don’t care about the truth. Got it. Bye!

            • Andy

              The truth you can’t handle the truth. You are so blinded by your belief system and your overweening brilliance that nothing else matters. So I agree Goodbye.

            • kenofken

              “Gasp” – You pulled the dreaded television courtroom drama lawyer’s Gotcha maneuver, coupled with the “no further questions your honor”. How will they ever get out of the corner you painted them into?

              • HornOrSilk

                When people are saying they don’t care what the law really does, then they are no longer talking the law.

      • LFM

        What if the intent were not to post “No Gays Allowed” signs, but, as the piece from Rod Dreher suggested, to allow a Muslim to seek exemption from usual rules by wearing a short beard in prison? What if the purpose were to allow a food-truck caterer to refuse to hire out his services at a Gay Pride parade? (I am trying to think of the kind of individual or even one-off exemptions that people might understand.) And what if the absence of such laws made it impossible to refuse to do business with someone on other conscience grounds, like a green cafe owner refusing to serve oil company workers on a fracking project?

        I think that certain kinds of businesses – banks, hotels and motels (but not bed & breakfasts), grocery stores, or any business providing an essential service or a service that is not available anywhere else nearby – should not be allowed to refuse business on religious or other grounds (except where they have reason to suspect an inability to pay or other criminal behaviour).

        How is even that to be enforced, though? One earlier commenter here mentioned various encounters she has had or witnessed with refusal of service, as a reason for not permitting laws like the one being introduced in Indiana. But another poster then pointed out that apparently non-discrimination laws could not do much, if they were so often violated by business owners.

      • fredx2

        Why should someone who believes that gay marriage is wrong be forced to PARTICIPATE in that wedding? What gives gays the right to force people who disagree with their lifestyle to participate in celebrating that lifestyle. There is no rule that says you give up all your rights as soon as you own a business.

        What gays want is to force everyone who disagrees with them to particiapate and celebrate their ideas. This is the exact opposite of democracy and freedom and toleration, and is the beginning of fascism.

        Face it. For the first time in American history, the public is being told by the state that they must participate and celebrate tings that go deeply against their religious beliefs. And you can’t compare this to race, since every religion teaches that all races are equal. This is simply gross fascism, pure and simple.

        • Andy

          I am not arguing for or against the law – any law can be perverted to lead places where it should not – I have no problem if a person who has strongly held beliefs does not want to participate in something they do not agree with.
          I have a couple of points
          1. If you want to not serve gays in their marriage, put a sign in your window and announce it – that is the courageous thing to do and I would support that 100%. I believe in transparency. I would add that if you do so then you can not claim you are being discriminated against if people attack you – this attack behavior is what Jesus promised.
          2. The issue for me is how to define strongly help beliefs for the list of potential involved groups, businesses, corporations and so on. Is my simple statement enough to demonstrate strongly held beliefs. I think that this “test” is the stumbling block in these laws when they move outside of clearly religiously based entities.
          I did not compare it to race – however, not every religion teaches that all are equal and the Bible has been and is used to say that the Sons of Ham are lesser

        • kenofken

          Not nearly every religion teaches race equality. It is a very recent addition to even many major forms of Christianity and the LDS etc. Plenty of religions are explicitly racist – ie the Aryan “creativity” churches, strains of Norse neopaganism etc.

          At any rate, you don’t need to reference your religious belief to any orthodox religion at all under the Indiana bill. If you believe it, it has as much standing as anything in the Catechism.

          “As used in this chapter, “exercise of religion” includes any exercise of religion,whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”

    • kenofken

      People take exception to the Indiana bill and others like it because they were explicitly designed to deny LGBT people the recognition of rights they have achieved in recent years. There has been no interest expressed in any of the other areas of general applicability or any other broad threat to religious freedom articulated in Indiana. Republicans in the Indiana legislature are not terribly concerned about the rights of Muslim prisoner or the homeless.

      This bill was written for a specific, anti-SSM conservative Christian constituency. What they want is to create an asterisk around gay marriage and any other aspect of equality they don’t like. They want to be able to tell gay customers “you might be equal out on the streets, but in the walls of my business, you got another thing coming.” The bill was written and rushed through to a vote for the sole reason of creating this scenario, even though it would doubtless be used by others.

      • HornOrSilk

        Except, it was not made to deny rights. Others laws said nothing about sexual orientation. Saying nothing about sexual orientation is not a denial of any right, otherwise Obama, when he agreed to such a law (which at the time did not include anything about sexual orientation, that was made later) must be seen to be acting against gays. But that is absurd, so the position that the law is against gays is absurd. It’s a fiction created by a group which is, itself, working to harm people of religious faith, and are attacking them mercilessly now, with all kinds of hate speech, some saying that “we should have done something to eliminate religious superstition a long time ago.” Yep. Some are talking about THAT. And they are disguising it with Orwellian double-speak about right while denying basic fundamental liberty for people of religious faith.

        • kenofken

          Of course it’s not worded in terms of sexual orientation. That would make it even more politically (and probably legally) untenable. The legislative intent is clear however.

          In writing a very broad and powerful law for this one constituency, Indiana is also opening itself up to all sorts of unintended consequences. Their proposed legal standard, which makes it almost impossible to prevail against religious claims, will be an excellent vehicle for legalizing polygamy and ritual drug use, among other things. A lot of people who oppose the intent of the law will nevertheless take full advantage of it should it pass.

          • HornOrSilk

            So it doesn’t talk about sexual orientation. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It’s like saying a law talking about how to pave roads with proper equipment is bigoted if it mentions nothing about gay drivers. The law is about religious liberty, not sexual orientation. Because it is not about sexual orientation, it is not pro-or-anti gay. This is just a non-sequitur pushed on the law itself.

            • Newp Ort

              I’d be in support of replacing the ugly, heterosexist green road signs with pink or purple. Public roads need to be more inclusive. Why should left-handed people be forced to drive on the same side of the road as the rest of us? It’s positively sinister!

              • wlinden

                You should do punance for that. It is affecting my puncreas.

            • cmfe

              Actually, HOS, kenofken is spot on here. Following the discussion of this in the legislature, it was clearly intended to discriminate against gays. As broadly as this law is written, it could easily bite the very ones who intended to wield it against others. It’s a foolish and dangerous law.

              • HornOrSilk

                “It was clearly intended” blah blah blah. No, it was intended to give religious liberty. Period. Those opposed it are clearly intending to discriminate against religious faith.

                • kenofken

                  If it’s not about gays, why is it that nobody can come up with any citations of anything else? Was there some egregious case of zoning law abuse against an Indiana church? Anything besides the looming threat of SSM? If there is, I’m open to hearing it.

                  If the bill’s sponsors and supporters truly have no rational basis for needing a law, are we to believe that they’re really just affirming “religious freedom” as a good in the abstract? If so, passing a law is a really foolish way to do that. That’s what resolutions are for.

                  • AquinasMan

                    Perhaps it *seems* to be about homosexuals because homosexuals are the ones actively persecuting people of faith. It’s a spectacular exercise in projection by the very people who are guilty of what it is designed to counteract.

              • antigon

                Dear Mr fe:
                *
                Goodness, one could accuse you of being a bigot did that not violate Godwin’s Codicil.

          • JM1001

            …will be an excellent vehicle for legalizing polygamy…

            And just what exactly is the liberal argument for why that shouldn’t be permitted? If consenting adults should be allowed to marry whomever they please, then why not however many they please? Unless, of course, liberals would have no problem with that — in which case, they should be celebrating that potential “unintended consequence.”

            • kenofken

              I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve said for many years that polygamy should be brought out of the shadows and legalized or regularized in some fashion. It would require crafting new and complex sorts of family law.

              My point is that the Christian conservatives in the legislature are too clever by half. They’re addressing a narrow immediate need with a permanent wide-ranging law. They and their culture-war conservative constituencies are going to find themselves on the wrong end of that law more often than not. They’re going to find themselves forced to make concessions to Muslims that they never envisioned. The atheists and Satanists are going to have great sport with it. They’re going to find it impossible to oppose a lot of things they’d rather not see come to pass, and they will richly deserve it.

              As pagans, we stand to benefit in many ways. We generally oppose the bill because it’s not being done on the level or with good intentions, but we’ll use it to our advantage if it comes to pass. We frequently find ourselves being jacked around by small town authorities who use zoning and all other manner of law to keep us from opening shops or holding public events. This will make it much easier for us to fight that nonsense.

              • antigon

                Not to worry, Ken, all that’ll triumph, for a season, with or without the Indiana law.

              • JM1001

                So you admit the bill will be good for you, but oppose it anyway because it’s not well-intentioned? (And, of course, that claim itself is contestable, since protecting the religious liberty of individuals and business owners is a good intention.)

                Heck, I remember back when Obama “evolved” on gay marriage, there was a big debate among liberals about whether he did so merely because he wanted to shore up his base right before the 2012 election. Ultimately, liberals decided Obama’s “intentions” didn’t matter — so long as he did “the right thing,” whatever the motivation, that was all that mattered.

                So I guess intentions matter — except when they don’t.

                In any case, if you’re tired of being “jacked around” by authorities infringing on your civil liberties, then you should be in solidarity with those who also don’t want to be jacked around by being forced to condone and affirm a practice that is against their beliefs.

                • HornOrSilk

                  It’s always easy to suggest intentions. The absurdity is, even if the intention is as said, the law is not the intention behind it, but what is written. The law does not do as they claim the law intends. Laws are judged and followed by what is put in them, which is why in courts, many who intend something with a law find unintentional consequences for their laws… which must be followed so long as the law remains.

                  • wlinden

                    Ever hear of the Comma Case? Congress did not INTEND to exempt tropical fruit from tariffs…. but the law mandated what is SAID, not what they intended.

            • wlinden

              I keep asking why it is “hate” and “bigotry” to oppose recognizing “gay marriage”, but not “hate” to object to polygamy. Invariably, people who were just talking about “rights” and “equality” abandon all that and turn into flaming consequentialists in an attempt to justify their inconsistency.
              My polygamous friends are being treated as SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            will be an excellent vehicle for legalizing polygamy and ritual drug use, among other things.

            That’s an interesting hypothesis… and a testable one.

            Federal and state RFRA laws have been on the books for two decades, and there already is a legitimate religion (Rastafari) for which smoking cannabis is a sacred rite. And yet the Rastas have gotten pretty much nowhere with their claim that they’re exempt from marijuana laws.

            For all the discussion of parades of horribles that will result from these laws, actual results over twenty years have been modest, and their benefits have inured disproportionately to minority religions (Muslims, Sikhs, American Indians, Santeria).

            • kenofken

              From the Indiana bill’s language “…a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

              I would call your attention to that last part. Legal barriers to religious drug use rely on the idea that the drug laws do not target or disproportionately affect religion. They apply to everyone, and some religious adherents simply happen to be burdened by them. That barrier is swept aside with the Indiana RFRA. To maintain its position, the government must demonstrate both “a compelling interest” AND (more importantly), that the law is the “least restrictive means” of furthering that government interest. Can Indiana demonstrate a “compelling interest” in barring marijuana use? Maybe. They certainly cannot argue anymore that prohibition is the least restrictive means to address public safety issues. Colorado and Washington have the least restrictive means, and arguably more effective ones than prohibition.

              Or how about prostitution? In recent decades, at least two outfits within the New Age/Neopagan movement have set up “goddess temples” claiming either sacred temple prostitution or sexual healing as religious callings. Depending how you interpret their system of “donations”, it may or may not constitute prostitution. Even if it is, under this RFRA, your religious belief in it creates a strong presumption that it can’t be banned. Again, prohibition is not the “least restrictive” means of addressing public concerns. Nevada’s laws might just be.

              • antigon

                Well excuse me, Ken, how does legal prostitution hurt your marriage…oh, wait.

                • kenofken

                  It wouldn’t hurt my marriage. My budget, perhaps. I’m not into that actually, as the “transactional” part doesn’t work for me. I am in favor of legalization as it would lessen the exploitation and danger of all involved.

              • ManyMoreSpices

                You haven’t engaged with my argument. Nothing you’re describing about the Indiana RFRA is in any way different from the federal and state RFRA laws we’ve had for twenty years. Indiana hasn’t opened the door to sacramental drug use any more than the federal government and other states have, and they’ve opened it just a crack.

                If you disagree, the exercise you should be doing here is not to look at Indiana’s law in isolation, but to compare it to the RFRA laws of other states and show why Indiana’s is more expansive.

                You’ve gone through the paces of showing why sacramental marijuana use could be permitted under Indiana’s law. It’s a decent argument. Your next task should be to look to neighboring states and determine why the First United Church of Bob Marley doesn’t have millions of adherents, happily toking away free from government molestation.

          • antigon

            Well then, if the Indiana law helps combat such savage discriminations, why aren’t enemies of discrimination supporting it?

            • kenofken

              Because it’s not well-intentioned and I don’t see any crisis in religious freedom that warrants such an overbroad and ill-considered law. Courts already give pretty serious weight to religious freedom claims. I’m part of a minority religion which has been variously scoffed and hated for all of its history, and we’ve done alright for ourselves in courts mostly working with standard-issue establishment clause and equal treatment approaches. If we can survive on that, I’m pretty sure Christians, who still have overwhelming majorities in power and culture, can get by without a law which places government’s entire fist on the scale of justice.

      • fredx2

        The law was an attempt to realize that this counry, in the first amendment, recognizes freedom of religion. It is a state version of a law which has been on the Federal law for 20 years – with no ill effects on gays. Gays now presume to tell people that everyone must conform to their vision of the world, and this was a law designed to say, no, individual people still have rights to do what they want in this country, and you don’t have a right to use the law to force them to abandon their deeply held consciences.

        Note that your comment is simply a gross distortion of what the law was about. You don’t dare discuss it in reality, because you willl lose the debate. So you have to distort what the law is about and get hysterical. Your only hope is obfuscation.

      • LFM

        I get that that’s what you think. Given what some supporters of same-sex marriage are saying – that the new law won’t and can’t achieve any such effects – I don’t think your various assumptions are necessarily reasonable or well-founded.

        However, let’s take it that you are correct; that pressing the issue now is driven by a reaction against same-sex marriage, and not by any concern for any other group whose religious freedoms might be impinged upon – though they too will be able to make use of such a law if needed. But why is that any of your business, if the services involved are non-essential? (As I said, I think essential services should be excluded from the application of such laws.) You cannot and should not be attempting to coerce public approval by legal force. What’s more, the logic of doing so, given the handling of related (and unrelated) issues of identity politics in other situations, escapes me.

        For example, consider the reports of campus refusals to tolerate “micro-aggressions”: it is apparently possible to find oneself booted out of a course or a job for having asked questions or made points in class that “trigger” painful memories or feelings for other students. I think this is absurd myself, but it is growing more frequent everywhere in the Anglosphere, as is the use of the boycott to anathematize businesses of which this or that group disapproves. Why then does it seem wise or good or necessary to compel people who might refuse to perform particular services for you to do so anyway, knowing that they might perhaps hate you, or at the very least, hate you for compelling them? Would that level of hatred not spoil the party – or, to steal a page from *your* book, is the whole point of refusing to condone any religious exemptions to make religious people feel as miserable as possible, rather than any real concern for the inconvenience caused by denial of services?

        I will say that I think such denials of service are nearly always uncharitable – from a Christian point of view – and poor strategy from a secular or political one. But while I can’t imagine refusing food, shelter, or even wedding cake to gay people, I can imagine certain cases where such denial could be legitimate and understandable. In another comment I mentioned an imaginary case of a food-truck’s owners declining to sell food at a Gay Pride parade because they found the sexual displays there uncomfortable and immoral.

        Meanwhile, of course, supporters of same-sex marriage, of abortion rights, of the global warming hypothesis, and various other cherished progressive causes are not merely threatening to deny non-essential services to nay-sayers (though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of it) – they are threatening to deny them employment, tax exemption, and the right to utter such views in public. None of it makes sense to me.

        • kenofken

          The idea of “essential” vs “non-essential” goods and services is interesting, but civil rights law is not ultimately based on utilitarian concerns. It’s based on the idea that being told “we don’t serve your kind here” really spits on the idea of what America was created for. Civil rights law acknowledges that it creates a substantial burden on the freedom of business owners, but decides that the dignity of the buying public outweighs that.

          At any rate, determining what is too essential to permit discrimination (and thus the owner’s freedom), would be hopelessly arbitrary.

          • antigon

            Dear AK:
            *
            May we assume you are accordingly horrified by the brutal discrimination against public nudity?

            • kenofken

              I wouldn’t go so far as to say horrified. Bemused and annoyed, perhaps. I don’t find it a big hardship in day to day life. Many of our big festivals in the pagan community are clothing optional, and I have access to a nice resort of that type in the summers, and so I do less laundry on the weekends in warm weather. I also frequently spend time at a local Korean bath which is all public fabric-less bathing, albeit gender segregated. I think it’s a bit silly and priggish that one can be arrested for swimming trunkless or topless at most public beaches or otherwise “hanging out” if you’re not exposing anyone to lewd conduct. It’s not something I’m motivated to crusade over. I do think Indiana’s proposed law would make it harder for the state to uphold public nudity statutes in the face of a well-crafted religious challenge.

              • antigon

                ‘I have access to a nice resort of that type in the summers.’
                *
                Your closet nudism just reinforces the savage persecutions of out-&-proud nudists who want the same freedom to go to work, school or any other public function without any of that bigoted snickering.

                • kenofken

                  More power to them. I don’t want to have to carry a towel around that much, and the AC in my office is on the cold side.

            • wlinden

              “The only thing to do with nudists is ship them back!”
              “Ship them back where?”
              “You see?
              — “Mr. Monk and the naked man”

          • LFM

            There are *two* competing sets of rights here (as you acknowledge, sort of), and rights like freedom of religion, speech and association are as important – more important? – than the “right” to compel service from a business owner, something that hardly exists even as a concept anywhere except in the United States.

            Put it this way: if American history and law had not created the concept of the legal segregation of races, which made it necessary eventually to rescind such laws and clear up the mess of expectations and attitudes they had created, no one would ever have dreamed of saying that a business owner had no right to select his patrons, but that he must serve any and every person who requests a service of him.

            As for it being “hopelessly arbitrary” to create categories of essential and non-essential services, nonsense. At the very least, the idea that cakes or wedding invitations are an essential service that businesses MUST supply, on pain of lawsuits, ought to have been an obvious non-starter. Driving small shopkeepers out of business to proclaim one’s dignity is not an attractive pursuit, either. The propensity to use civil law to punish any and every perceived slight is one of the least attractive features of American life.

  • fredx2

    You know, I kept fairly well informed on the Ebola thing, but I never heard any of these things that Mark Shea talks about – never heard of anyone recommending that we kill all those wilh Ebola, never heard that the Tea Party did such and such, etc. Perhaps Mark Shea reads too many hysterical left wing web sites, which eagerly seek out every nut in the world and try to blame them on the Republicans. This happens on both sides. But wise people disregard the hysteria mongers on both sides, and don’t try to paint whole groups of reasonable people with their extreme ideas.

    But he is right on the rest of it. We have entered a very dangerous time in our country when the media is determined to desroy our first amendment freedom of religion rights, all in the name of sacred homosexuality. Homosexuality is now to be forced on us all, we are now going to be forced to profess opinions we don’t have. Ths is the first whiff of facism that I have ever detected in American life. With great glee, they are going after people of deep religious feeling and forcing them to conform to the ideas that the state demands we all have. And this is not race. This is personal sexual behavior. And suddenly we are not supposed to be able to form any ideas of our own on what is proper sexual behavior, and what is not.

    This movement is profoundly ant-democratic, anti-conscince, anti- religion etc.

    The media coverage I saw yeserday on CBS and ABC was horrendous. No one in either report explained what the law was about. The only thing you heard was that Indiana had suddenly passed a law discriminating against gays. No one who supported the law was allowed to speak or explain what the law was about. The law was not in the least explained. The only thing we heard was that it was outraging people all over the nation. Then we saw George Stephanopolous yelling at Governor Pence. Governor Pence was not allowed to defend himself.

    It was simply horrendous propaganda. We have been reduced as a nation to hearing gross propaganda rather than seriously discussing public issues. This can’t go on – our nation is at risk. Everything seems to be falling apart in the counry right now.

    • RodH

      Your reponse is funny to me because it is identical to what I intended to type. In fact the reason I even read this piece of Mark’s is because I wanted to see who “on the right” was clamoring for mass executions and the like. Turns out this is just another of Mark’s normal jobs where he feels compelled to pretend to be even-handed…must “tit-” the “Right” {whatever that is} in order to “tat” the “Left” {whatever that is}, thereby duping the slow-on-the-uptake folks into believing Mark represents the Middle Truth.

      Oh, well, the issue at hand is fairly well covered I guess. Yeah, those who support gay marriage in general and this issue in specific have nowhere to go other THAN bullying, because the entire history of humanity stands against their assertions and they have no measured and thoughtful defense for what they seek to impose on the vast majority. They are good enough students of history to have learned one thing; bullying works. At least for a while.

    • Carol Lemons

      If you follow the link that is in Mark’s post you will see that is 1 SC GOP leader. The name is given. It is his solution to the ebola problem.

      • RodH

        Exactly. One lunatic. Hardly representative of anything, much less a significant sector of the culture deemed to the “the Right”.

        • Rob B.

          Was the GOP leader in question called out on his ridiculousness by his fellow conservatives?

          • RodH

            Might be a good question if the guy was a legitimate representative of anything, but why would they? I haven’t seen anything from SC Barristers trying desperately to protect their good name, either. LOL.

            The guy very briefly held a position with the GOP and is best known for being a…troubled individual {trying to be charitable here}……

            Anyway, to suggest, imply, state or otherwise try to make the case that this guy’s outrageous and insane “position” represents a view held by anybody other than his own lonesome, messed up self {“Conservatives” included} is disgusting and ridiculous.

            • Rob B.

              Fair enough. Thank you for answering my question.

          • wlinden

            You might try reading this column. Including the part about invoking an obligation to “repudiate” every weird outlier.

          • wlinden

            I never heard any “liberals” “calling out” the SDS thugs who beat me up for dissenting from their dissent. Instead, they STILL sneer and tell me to my face that IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

            • Rob B.

              A fine and decent point. What’s good for the gander is, of course, good for the goose…

  • Merrymom

    Great article Mark! I am so tired of the hysteria going around and the outright lies being perpetrated by the homosexual community regarding this law.

    I just had a homosexual friend on Facebook put up a post about this and it was extremely hurtful to me. She is buying right into the BS about her and her girlfriend being denied service in restaurants and blah blah blah. Horse crap. She than went on to refer to people like myself as being hate filled. She capped off her rant with the fact that her and her girlfriend will be getting married whether people such as myself like it or not. That’s what this baloney is really all about. The forced acceptance of gay marriage on Christians and other faiths that do not agree with it!

    Why is it okay for people to try and force me to go against my religious beliefs? I don’t hate homosexuals. I don’t hate anybody. However I can’t condone their lifestyle just as I couldn’t condone a heterosexual couple living together before marriage. A sin is a sin and truth is truth. That being said, I will always love the sinner and hate the sin. Yet I am accused outright of hating the sinner because I will not bend and give their lifestyles a pass. I cannot do that! Not because I hate them, but because I love them. They just won’t get it. It’s not that they can’t get it. They just won’t!

    As for Ebola, the only gripe that I had was that the CDC lied and said that they were ready for it if it were to arrive in the US and they damned well were not ready for it. It almost cost two nurses their lives!

    • People who think they have no souls find it very difficult to distinguish the sinner from the sin.

    • Kyle

      You see, the problem with that kind of logic is that you don’t have the right to enforce your own belief system upon others. America is a nation founded upon secularism, and for good reason. To deny gay people the same rights as any others is akin to denying black people similar rights. You don’t choose to be gay any more than someone chose to be black.
      Furthermore, how does it impact you at all if gay people are given the right to marry? Does it impact your own marriage at all? Impact your life negatively, to know two consenting people who live each other are allowed the same rights as you yourself?
      Finally, not everyone follows the same system of beliefs as yourself. I am an atheist personally, and myself I can’t see how gay people can still hold to religions whose holy books call them abominations. There’s a certain level of cognitive dissonance going on there, which I don’t understand. But you have to realize that, as a secular nation, America was not founded solely to cater to any one belief system, no matter how fervently you may believe yours to be the true one. Religion can not be the basis for law in a secular nation.

      • antigon

        ‘you don’t have the right to enforce your own belief system upon others.
        *
        I don’t know, seems to me this worship of the Sacred Hole seems pretty determined in that regard.
        *
        ‘To deny gay people the same rights as any others is akin to denying black people similar rights. You don’t choose to be gay any more than someone chose to be black.’
        *
        Not to mention people who are born to be nudists.
        *
        ‘how does it impact you at all if gay people are given the right to marry?’
        *
        Why, no more than it would disrupt your dinner should Lindsay Graham waltz into the restaurant buck naked. But that’s still illegal in this vicious theocracy we still hypocritically pretend is secular.

        • Kyle

          Worship… Of the Sacred Hole? I can honestly say I’ve never heard that one before. Might I assume you’re referring to atheists? Well, I won’t waste any time informing you that atheism entails a distinct lack of worship, but… The secular movement does not impose anything on people other than universal rights of all people, not just a select group. They just don’t play favourite to your particular set of myths.

          Nudists… Now that’s just silly. Funny guy.

          And as to your last point, I assume you’re trying to make a point based upon the ‘ick’ factor someone might feel of the see a homosexual couple together? Well, so what? Being disgusted or offended doesn’t really entitle you to anything in this case. What makes it any different than how people fifty years ago may have viewed an interracial couple?

          • antigon

            ‘Nudists… Now that’s just silly.’
            *
            That’s what they used to say about Nancy-boys you horrible bigot!

    • Carol Lemons

      I live in Indy and am astounded by the name calling, f-bombs, downright hate coming from people against this law. It is being stirred up and encouraged by the local tv stations and the daily newspaper. It makes me sick and disgusted with people in general.

      Even some in my own family.

      • antigon

        ‘for any group to tolerate a sworn enemy who poses an ongoing existential threat to them is not just unlikely. It would be insane and/or suicidal for them to do so.’

  • Elaine S.

    It appears to me that BOTH sides have it wrong to some extent. The Indiana RFRA is more than what conservatives claim it is and less than what liberals claim it is.

    Conservatives claim it is no different than the federal RFRA or those currently in effect in 19 or 20 other states. Actually, it is different in at least one important respect. The previous RFRAs are designed merely to protect individuals against infringement of their religious freedom by a government entity unless the government can prove a “compelling interest.” The Indiana RFRA, however, applies to all “persons” — meaning not just individuals, but business partnerships, corporations, etc. — and applies not only to actions brought directly by government, but also to court actions involving private parties, i.e. lawsuits. So it is significantly broader in scope than the earlier laws.

    However, liberals are wrong in claiming that the Indiana RFRA grants business owners a carte blanche to discriminate against gays or anyone else. The law (as I understand it, and anyone out there with more details feel free to correct me) simply says that if an individual, business owner, etc. gets sued or sanctioned for discrimination, they CAN use religious freedom as a defense if/when they contest or appeal the action. That does NOT mean that this defense will necessarily succeed — it simply means it can be used. Religious freedom is a defense under other state’s RFRAs but it doesn’t always succeed in those cases. It would still be up to the judge or the government agency hearing a discrimination case or suit, to decide whether the religious freedom defense was valid. So bakers who don’t bake cakes for gay weddings, etc. can still be sued and they can still lose, they just have an additional defense they might not have had before.

    With all the hysteria about the effects of this law on gays, there are other scenarios that aren’t being considered. What if, say, a devout Catholic pro-lifer who ran a restaurant or a catering service refused to host a Planned Parenthood fundraiser? What if a Jew who had relatives living in Israel refused to host a gathering of Hamas or PLO supporters? Or what if a Palestinan restaurant owner refused to do the same for a pro-Israel gathering? Are they, too, all just ignorant bigots who need to get with the program?

    • HornOrSilk

      Again, I recommend this, because the whole “difference” bit is itself a false construct:

      http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2015/03/indianapolis-star-story-accidentally.html

    • Athelstane

      So it is significantly broader in scope than the earlier laws.

      Still the same process, though. It’s just a possible defense. Does not mean it will be accepted by a court.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Are they, too, all just ignorant bigots who need to get with the program?

      I think you know the answer to that one. In order: Yes, Yes, No.

    • Tina

      The actions of the evangelicals are calculated and manifest in their efforts to ostracize any who do not hold their beliefs as outright truth.

      I suggest you listen to the hate-speech of Bryan Fischer, the expose of ‘the Family’ by Jeff Sharlet, the abduction of our non-denominational chaplains corp by the fundamentalists- and then get back to us.

    • wlinden

      Elaine, how dare you try to confuse us with facts by writing objectively and dispassionately? Don’t you know that all that matters is unthinking loyalty to the “side” that has decided it owns you?

  • Celtic Tiger

    You’re of course entitled to your opinion, Mr. Shea although religion is opinion based on beliefs, not fact or reason.
    Sadly, your clever weasel wording about the Indiana RFRA — ” a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, pretty much like ones on the books in 19 other states, as well as one signed into law by the currently-fake-outraged Hillary Clinton’s husband in 1993″ — diminishes any claim to intellectual honesty you might have on this issue. Because, despite right-wing claims to the contrary, it is not like the Federal law that’s being referenced. But then intellectual honesty and inquiry isn’t a requirement for religious belief, is it?
    The intent behind Indiana’s majority GOP legislature and Governor Pence in presenting and signing this bill is clear to a lot more than your strawcase “lefties.”
    The major corporate leaders weighing in on this law and Arkansas’ pending one are hardly “leftists”…whatever that means these days. The Indiana small business owners putting signs in windows saying “We Serve Everyone, Welcome” are unlikely “leftists.”
    And just exactly how are businesses being “persecuted” for religious beliefs which is the flimsy rationale given for the “necessity” of this law in the first place?
    Bottom line? America’s diverse culture requires separation of church and state. If you’re doing business you can’t refuse service to people because they’re not your race, religion, or sexual orientation. That’s what separates America from theocracy…at least for now.

    • Sue Korlan

      We now live in a country where people are being persecuted in a small way already for their faith. If you are a Roman Catholic who doesn’t have health insurance because of its coverage of contraceptives, you must pay a special tax because of your faith. You also have to struggle to get health care. Welcome to the American version of the Penal Codes.

      • Celtic Tiger

        Sue, that persecution as you call is the result of your Church’s corporate institutional decisions not the US government’s.

        Put it another way: what if you’re a non-Catholic working for a Catholic-owned institution that denies you access to birth control and other reproductive medical services? Now who’s the “persecutor” and the “persecuted.”

        • Iacomus

          I don’t care for the “what if?” game nor political parties. Dear Sir or Madam, your earlier comment reads “America’s diverse culture requires separation of church and state”. We Catholics (should) live in obedience to God. This freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution. So if one doesn’t like the Church’s rules they are free to work for non-Catholic institutions, yes? Of course, even secular businesses have their rules…

          • Celtic Tiger

            So your argument is…Catholics are special and therefore persecuted when they have to pay for health insurance because their employer…a Catholic institution…either doesn’t provide health care or refuses to allow employees, Catholic or non-Catholic to make their own moral/faith choices about reproduction? And that makes the Catholic employees “persecuted”? And non-Catholic employees of said institution should either pay the out-of-pocket costs (which many low-wage employees cannot afford) or find another job. But Ms. Korlan’s burdened because she has to do what those non-Catholic employees must?

            And Catholics are free to believe in whatever god they choose. Just as other faiths can or atheists can avoid. What they can’t do, despite the 5 Supreme Court Catholics’ attempts, is impose their god or beliefs on any other American. That would be Sharia law, Christian edition.

            • Iacomus

              I’m sorry. What? I wasn’t making any argument, simply stating fact. I am obedient to God. Separation of church and state is good, that means the civil authority shouldn’t become the state religion, interfering in the affairs of other religions. I don’t know about this vague law in IN but I don’t think you need to worry about theocracy, nobody in their right mind wants that.

              • Celtic Tiger

                Obedient to whatever god you choose is fine. Your right at least for now in the US. Civil authority is just that civil. Conflating it with “state religion” is daft. Religious entities don’t pay taxes yet enjoy the benefits of the commonwealth we all pay taxes for. Democracy isn’t a religion. It requires respect in law for all regardless of race, gender,creed or no creed, sexual orientation,: all equal under the law.
                The whining victimhood behind the RFRA laws is ludicrous. Explain how
                Christians, Catholics are being “persecuted” in America. That’s
                downright laughable except for Fox News simpletons

                • AquinasMan

                  We don’t choose God. God chooses us. Until you understand that reality, you will never fathom the Truth, but merely continue to promote whatever shadow puppets the media and cultural elitists throw upon the screen. You can be right all-day by the standards of a generation that is passing away as we speak. We are right for all ages to come.

                • antigon

                  ‘except for Fox News simpletons.’
                  *
                  And Apostate Ken, not to say other principalities a tad more perspicacious than thee, Tiger ol’ boy. Though you’re on to something when you note the right to worship God is ‘fine…at least for now.’
                  *
                  Maybe not tomorrow tho, given those principalities’ view that ‘for any group to tolerate a sworn enemy who poses an ongoing existential threat to them is not just unlikely. It would be insane and/or suicidal for them to do so.’

                  • Celtic Tiger

                    Wow. What vocabulary! What jesuitical rhetorical flourishes! Onward Christian soldier!

              • kenofken

                If not a theocracy, many certainly want a confessional state, or at the least to have their version of Christianity to hold a privileged and unquestionable position in law, or above the law. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the fight over SSM has not been about sacramental marriage. It has been a fight to try to make everyone’s civil union adhere to the dictates of one religion. Let’s also not forget that the birth control debate is not only about who pays for what. The Church has fought to prevent people from accessing birth control even with their own money, and it would bar them from doing so in a heartbeat if they had the power to do so.

        • RodH

          You said it. “Catholic owned”. Think about that for a moment and your whole argument is exposed for the rubbish it is.

        • Athelstane

          If it is persecution, it’s persecution people are voluntarily signing up for – by choosing to work for the Church as their employer.

        • Chris

          Celtic Tiger – you have it backwards and upside down. Let’s review a history timeline: The US Gov’t came centuries AFTER the Catholic church, and Christianity in general. America sprang from the very notion of religious freedom…inculcated into western civilization BY Christianity. It is the moral foundation of Christian teaching that formed our entire civilization, and gave life to our laws and precedents. As for a Catholic-owned institution denying you access to birth control; if you feel that an employer in America has such control over your life that they can “deny” you anything, then I feel sorry for you because you’ve deposited yourself into a prison of your own making.

          • Celtic Tiger

            Right. I’m not sure what your point is about the Catholic Church predating America’s nationhood. But your view of American history is a bit, shall we say, selective? The country was established by wealthy landowners (slave owners in some cases), merchants and intellectuals in revolt against paying taxes to a monarch who was also the religious head of England’s State religion. Freedom FROM religious rule was a key part of the American Revolution and the Consitution. You’re free to worship as you choose. Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples don’t pay taxes on those centers for that reason. And Catholic hospital systems are more than happy to accept taxpayer money for their services, regardless of whether said taxpayers are Catholic, agnostic or worship chickens.
            Sharia Law, Catholic version, might be your preferred legal state but, for now at least, that movement is in abeyance.

        • Sue Korlan

          If you’re a non – Catholic working for a Catholic – owned institution, you can still have access to birth control and other reproductive services by purchasing them for yourself. You aren’t being persecuted because you can’t make me participate in the evil you are doing. And when you attempt to force me to participate, you are persecuting me.

          • Celtic Tiger

            I see. So the non-Catholic isn’t being “persecuted” …discriminated against for their non-belief by being forced to pay for something because they work for a Catholic institution? You believe birth control and reproductive services are evil? Well, don’t do ’em.
            An institution that receives US taxpayer funds which that person pays and is possibly tax exempt even though it isn’t a house of worship.
            Neat. So you and your fellow travelers cry “Persecution” when you and your “faith” institution are required to follow the laws of the State from which you benefit but when you discriminate it’s called “religious belief.”
            Self-serving much?

      • kenofken

        I didn’t get the memo, so on what date are Catholics going to be barred from elected office, from voting, from the legal profession and teaching. When will be be banned from buying land, adoption or entry to the top universities?

        Wait, I know, those things are all next on the slippery slope if you aren’t granted the inviolable divine right to push back gays to their pre-Stonewall status.

        • antigon

          ‘those things are all next…’
          *
          Dear Apostate Ken:
          *
          You know, I got the memo, from you in fact, when in speaking of the Faith as said enemy you wrote that ‘for any group to tolerate a sworn enemy who poses an ongoing existential threat to them is not just unlikely. It would be insane and/or suicidal for them to do so.’
          *
          Nothing new about that goal, been around a long time, since it was popular on the streets of Jerusalem just around this time actually.
          *
          Sometimes it fails despite great effort, as in the Roman Empire, sometimes succeeds fairly well, as in Asia Minor once the Armenian irritation – enemy as you would have it – was addressed, & then there remains the ambiguity, which often seems the most maddening thing of all to your side.
          *
          In any event, while we understand that in pursuit of the goal you sometimes have to pretend it doesn’t exist, we do appreciate your stating it so succinctly when the mask slipped there for a minute.
          .

          • kenofken

            I stand by what I said in that instance. I was not speaking about the Faith but about the anti-SSM movement, in reference to the passive aggressive innocent victim posturing it is cloaking itself in these days. After decades of jailing gays, destroying their careers and characterizing them in the most inhuman ways possible, conservative Christians pretend they just can’t understand why gay rights activists seem so angry and uncompromising. They have vowed, in many instances, to reassert that persecution of gays if they ever again have the power to do so. Of course it would be insane for gays, or any human being, to accommodate their own destruction.

            The anti-SSM movement is rather like a defeated army after a bitter multi-generational civil war. They’re cornered, and they don’t really want to die on the hill, but they’re demanding victor’s terms of surrender. “And oh, by the way we’re not really surrendering. You have to let us keep our arms, and be prepared for an insurgency like you can’t imagine.” They either cynically or (worse I fear), in delusion, assert that they don’t see the problem with driving that sort of deal.

            • antigon

              ‘I was not speaking about the Faith.’
              *
              Sure you were, but even if one grants the pretense, your dictum sums up what the principalities that worship power have felt since that moment recalled on Friday when they thought they’d won for good.

        • wlinden

          Have your forgotten 1960? “If Kennedy wins, the Pope will move into the White House!” But, of course, we’ve gone SO far beyond that.

    • Dave G.

      I read your comment and thought of Genesis 25.34. I don’t know why.

    • Athelstane

      …religion is opinion based on beliefs, not fact or reason.

      In truth, all opinion is based, at root, on belief.

      • Celtic Tiger

        Not quite. Scientific opinion, for example, such as medical opinion is based on observable fact and reason. Religious opinion is based on belief. Gravity, for example, is not a matter of opinion. You’re free to believe it is of course.

        • kenofken

          Science has never proposed to hold absolute knowledge. If offers working models of reality which, at any given time, offer the best explanation for what we observe based on accumulated evidence. It does offer one thing that religion cannot: it’s proposed explanations are testable and refutable.

    • antigon

      ‘intellectual honesty and inquiry isn’t a requirement for religious belief, is it?’
      *
      Requirements? Why, they’re absolutely forbidden – although grammar’s allowed.

      • antigon

        ‘If you’re doing business you can’t refuse service to people because they’re not your sexual orientation. That’s what separates America from theocracy.’
        *
        And Wal-Mart, Tiger, don’t forget Wal-Mart!

      • Celtic Tiger

        Good one, Antigon. Must be a Jesuit education shining through.

  • Old Beardo

    I can’t see that this isn’t just a facile attempt to turn logic on it’s head. It’s more bigotry, with the cloak of “It can’t be bigotry, because I said it. And I’m not bigoted.” Sure.

    • antigon

      Mr. Beardo, are you unaware that Godwin’s law – that anyone who introduces Adolph & company into a debate automatically loses the argument – now applies to charging bigotry?

  • heidi jo bean

    If anyone has any question about what Mike Pence’s motivation was in signing this law, read his 2000 campaign agenda here: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/exposed_mike_pence_s_2000_congressional_campaign_site_was_a_war_on_lgbt_people_and_women

    • kenofken

      Yeah, but we’re not allowed to consider that, because reality and facts are things made up by the liberal media to confuse us! And anyway, Pence has invoked righteous indignation at the idea that he has any anti-gay motivations, and if a politician does that, we have to accept it at face value. (Unless it’s Obama, because he’s Satan’s evil big brother).

    • Carol Lemons

      Perhaps he “evolved”, as did esteemed leader of this country.

      • heidi jo bean

        But he didn’t evolve! He tried to push through this discriminatory law and now has gotten called on it.

        • HornOrSilk

          Except it is not discriminatory, but ends discrimination against religious. You are so upset that religious people have rights, I think most of us get that. The people who are bigots are those like you who think it is fine to threaten women and create fake websites using images they have no right to use.. oh wait, we get it, your bigotry is ok. No, it isn’t. The law says nothing either way about gays, as the law didn’t say anything about gays before it was passed. It didn’t suddenly change anything about gays. Just like when Obama agreed to a similar law in Illinois, when nothing was said about gays, it didn’t suddenly make gays discriminated against in Illinois. The bigot is you. The one pushing discrimination is you.

  • HornOrSilk

    When you look at the “fix” which is being discussed, it is going to make things real bad in Indiana. This is what happens when you give in to bullies. The language being discussed is that businesses will be told not to forbid services(!) to people based upon sexual orientation(! — think people, pedophilia is a sexual orientation according to some psychologists already) OR gender identification (! watch out world with that one!).

    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/01/indiana-rfra-deal-sets-limited-protections-for-lgbt/70766920/

    “A draft circulated early Wednesday said that the new “religious freedom”
    law does not authorize a provider — including businesses or individuals
    — to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, goods, or
    public accommodation to any member of the public based on sexual
    orientation or gender identity, in addition to race, color, religion,
    ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, or military service.”

    • Celtic Tiger

      Wow, if you’re right, that means Catholic priests will have to pretend they’re not priests or be refused services. Unless of course they’re a Bishop or Cardinal.

      • Farelle

        all priests you mean, priest and paedophile being interchangeable terms now.

        • HornOrSilk

          And here we see, once again, the anti-religious hate speech, which is based upon propaganda, not truth.

          • Farelle

            oh it’s based on truth, it was church doctorine for decades to cover up sex attacks by priests and excomminicate anyone who dared complain, so they are either complicit in the attacks or carried them out, or are willing to knowingly serve an organisation that viewed the rape of children as a PR problem, not as a massive crime, so yes, they are either rapists or endorse that rape.

            • HornOrSilk

              Nope. It was not church “doctorine.” Never has been, never will be.

              • dagobarbz

                More like a perquisite of the job, along with the best food the starving peasants could provide.

                • antigon

                  That fellow who’s avatar you’ve adopted disagreed dear schizophrenic bz.

        • Celtic Tiger

          Sadly.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Oh dear, this is worse than before.

      • HornOrSilk

        Indeed, and they don’t even get what they wrote.

    • kenofken

      If it was never about denying gays anything, what’s the beef over clarifying that?

  • Andy

    A fascinating display of America. First I think that the women in Mark’s above article/post of today is entitled to her belief, and to live out her belief – to receive death threats, threats of arson and perhaps thinking that she has to close her pizza place is wrong. In fact it wrong to threaten anyone for expressing and attempting to live their lives according to deeply held religious beliefs. This is what the RFRA law in Indiana is designed to do – to protect a person’s right to act upon their deeply held religious beliefs, and to have a defense if someone claims discrimination. The courts would then decide if discrimination occurred.

    I would also posit that gotcha journalism, that seemingly frappe the above referenced individual, is “time-honored” activity by all new agencies – left-, moderate- or right-leaning. Personally I find it revolting, but that is me.

    What is fascinating is that Indiana – the government of Indiana I should say is caving in on its religious principles because of pressure from businesses and “outside” media. They do not want to be seen as bigots, so that they do not face any economic downside to the law they pass and signed. Someone below mentioned freedom of association – it the Indiana law was indeed about religious freedom then why give into the economic pressure? If the Indiana law is about religious freedom then it should not need a fix. So the questions become what is the name calling so problematic, which according to the eight beatitude – Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven leads- to a heavenly reward? Why is the fear of economic sanctions so problematic when according to Matthew 6:19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

    • HornOrSilk

      We strive for justice. We don’t go looking to be martyrs.

      • Andy

        I thought the greatest homage to God was to be a martyr for Him – to demonstrate publicly that your faith in God was above all else. My comment though point out how powerful we have allowed economic interests to become – a quick history idea – when younger I recall that stores and most restaurants were not open on Sunday. This was to allow the traditional day of rest on the Sabbath – or at least that is what I was taught. However, various business saw a buck to be made on Sunday and now Sunday has become a day of labor and not the Sabbath, the day of the Lord. Where was/is the justice there? We speak about the dissolution of the family- yet what came first – the family breakdown or was it the insistence that to be valued as a person you had to make lots of money – to demonstrate that you made it and worthwhile.

        • HornOrSilk

          To seek to be a martyr is not to be a martyr. The same can be said about all suffering: it can be a good for the soul, but because of that, we don’t go around maiming everyone. Or poverty has its own virtue, but because of that, we don’t make everyone poor.

          • Andy

            And as I said -the pizzeria which I just heard may have closed its doors should not be punished. My point is that we make all too often our religious beliefs subservient to economic interests. That allow folks to question how deeply held the beliefs are.

            • HornOrSilk

              You are promoting injustice, I don’t.

              • Andy

                Wow – I am promoting injustice – how? When we make our religious beliefs subservient to economics to name-calling? Injustice? Pointing out what appears to be happening is promoting injustice? I have far greater respect for the owners of the pizzeria, and their decisions then I will have the legislature and governor of Indiana. The owners of the pizzeria are living their professed beliefs, that takes courage. I do know how the church defines justice/injustice , but I also know that fortitude is needed as a virtue as is faith in the Lord – as Matthew says “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26″Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

                • JM1001

                  I do know how the church defines justice/injustice…

                  For the Catholic Church, human work is described as “a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ”; work is the means by which a person “exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature.” Furthermore: “Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.” (CCC 2427-28)

                  Justice is the moral virtue of rendering to each person what is due to them. Since the dignity of work proceeds from the dignity of the human person as such, then meaningful and productive work is something to which every human person has a right. Therefore, to deprive someone of their work (the means by which they provide for their family and serving the human community) without just cause, either by direct governmental pressure or through vicious social pressure (like what was done to that pizzeria) is wholly unjust.

                  Now, you make the point that a Christian should trust in Christ during such sufferings. But that doesn’t forbid the Christian from acknowledging the grave injustice that was done to them, and calling it such.

                  • Andy

                    I agree with you about acknowledging grave injustice – we must work against them and if possible. What was done to the pizzeria was totally unjust which I thought I said above – maybe not clearly enough. I admire their courage, and do not know if I would have that courage.

                    My comment and perhaps I am not making it clear enough is that the government of Indiana is surrendering its deeply held beliefs at the altar of the economy. If indeed this law was widely supported by all the folks in Indiana or even the majority then they would be able to rally to support one-another and maintain what is called for in justice; what is called for in the CCC.

                    I think that instead of fighting the fight- the fortitude I spoke of- that the government of Indiana gave up. Giving up calls into question how deeply held the religious beliefs are/were. I think that we have to be aware of how we have surrendered not just on this front but on many fronts our beliefs to the over-riding economic interests of major corporations – how we have surrendered our ability to live Catholic lives or at least Christ-centric lives.

                    • dagobarbz

                      Their religious beliefs are as deeply held as their bank accounts.
                      When they feel the pinch, the state will yank this disgusting law and return to worshipping Mammon.

                    • antigon

                      Which is a very central point, about this or any other passably decent law, when you realize who’s got the mammon.

                    • antigon

                      ‘we have to be aware of how we have surrendered not just on this front but on many fronts our beliefs to the over-riding economic interests of major corporations.’
                      *
                      T’would be nice, yes, but the very nature of oligarchic class power is to laugh when the hoi delude themselves into thinking a law with widespread support can triumph. Some 35 states & counting have voted down or otherwise rejected ssm for but one example provocative of much plutocratic chuckling.
                      *
                      This latest little K-nacht was engineered, dear A, & there will be more if or until we learn to submit.

                • dagobarbz

                  Pfff…it also takes courage to drag your dogma door to door on a Saturday morning but I don’t like that, either.

                  Brave enough to flaunt their bigotry, the first ones will get a million dollars while those who follow will wish they’d been first for the big payday.

                • dagobarbz

                  People around the world are starving, so take your bird example and shove it. It’s stupid anyway, birds spend most of the day foraging.

                  As a human, good luck with that. You’ll be competing for garbage with bears, raccoons and possums. Enjoy that “heavenly father” food truck, pal. It sounds a lot better on paper.

                  • antigon

                    Absolutely, bz. What a jerk that Jesus was. But at least you can be happy He got what He deserved over the weekend.

            • dagobarbz

              They’re not “being punished.”

              People are free to express their disapproval. Who wants to go out to eat at Pizza Hate?

              • HornOrSilk

                Apparently you do. It was hate which was sent to the pizza shop.

              • antigon

                Absolutely. Nothing says hate like doubting the glories of that Sacred Hole.
                *
                We’re just lucky there’s no hate from your side bz.

            • antigon

              ‘That allow folks to question how deeply held the beliefs are.’
              *
              What? Politicians don’t have deeply held beliefs? C’mon Andy, who would believe a thing like that.

      • kenofken

        Conservative Catholicism in this country has no sense of identity other than a martyr complex and victimhood. Since the first backlash against Vatican II, the movement has been carrying on as if they were getting it worse than Syrian Christian. When you trace these screams of anguish to the source, you don’t find real martyrdom. You find that their “persecution” amounts to seeing their position slip from absolute hegemony to pretty good privilege. They have to share the civic space and give up the power to define everyone else’s lives and obey the same laws as the rest of us. You don’t go looking to be martyrs, but you do go looking to have everyone else believe you’re martyrs.

        • antigon

          ‘Conservative Catholicism in this country has no sense of identity other than a martyr complex and victimhood.’
          *
          Dear apostate ken:
          *
          Since like the Sanhedrin & so many since you have publically held ‘it would be insane &/or suicidal’ for ‘any group to tolerate a sworn enemy who poses an ongoing existential threat to them’ – allow me to be the first to congratulate you for this latest libel in pursuit of that aspiration.

    • dagobarbz

      If they don’t want to be seen as bigots, they should quit acting like bigots.
      It’s tht simple.

      And you know what? Mammon will win out over all this “deeply held religious’ crap once they feel the hit in their wallets.

      Mammon always wins with these people. If you notice, they’re not exactly clad in rags and wandering the desert talking to god.

      • antigon

        Ta-ta. Godwin’s Codicil. The first person to charge bigotry loses the argument.

  • Ronald King

    This situation appears to me to be another experience in which light is brought into the darkness of our fears and the beliefs which support them in order to purge us of what prevents us from being united to one another through the love which we were created to receive and give. We appear to be strong in our beliefs but weak in our ability to love. It is love which guides us to the empathetic understanding of the other regardless of what beliefs we cling to. Justice begins with empathy.

  • dagobarbz

    You need to stop talking about bakers and start talking about real issues, like denying same sex partners medical care.

    • radiofreerome

      For instance the case of Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond at Jackson Memorial Hospital. (http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/langbehn-v-jackson-memorial)

      I say let the mom and pop bakers be as fanatical as they wanna be.

      I just don’t want to have to take the n*gger entrance*** to the hospital. Taking that door into a restaurant is demeaning, but taking that door into a hospital is deadly.

      N*gger entrance is a side or back door service entrance to a restaurant built in the Jim Crow era.

      • dagobarbz

        Yeah, buddy. I do know that, but growing up in Socal, all the stuff that went on over in the deep south was not real relevant to us. We had black kids in class. They were just who they were, you know? We didn’t think about hating them for their skin color. I did hate this one kid because he stole one of my textbooks. He said it was his. I opened it up to the little animated cartoon bunnies I drew in pencil in the page corners.

        Of course I got in trouble for violating textbooks, but at the end of the year you have to pay a fine if you lose your book. It just would not occur to me to dislike him for his skin. We were kinda bemused by those primitive Southerners.

      • LFM

        I checked both this link and the previous one about the Philadelphia gay couple who were beaten up, and both came up “page not found”.

      • antigon

        Just for the record, am quite in accord with the Church that anyone who denies legitimate medical care (sorry guys, killing babes don’t qualify, tho the murder of Terri Schiavo does) to anyone should be prosecuted by legal authority. And doubt anyone but a handful of nutballs disagrees.
        *
        Not that we shouldn’t indulge hysterical pretense whenever possible of course.

  • chrijeff

    “…the goal of gay lobby is to target people likely to have qualms of
    conscience about appearing to support gay “marriage”–people who have
    real issues of conscience–and use the cudgel of the state force them to
    give the appearance of approval to what they are regard as sin.”

    Wrong. The goal of “the gay lobby,” if there is one, is to simply guarantee that gay people are free to do as they please without harming anyone else.

    No one is saying that conservatives (Christian or otherwise) have to approve “sin,” or clasp gays to their bosoms. When Atlantic City legalized gambling (the first place except Las Vegas to do so since the end of Wild West days), nobody told the loyal opposition that they had to go to the casinos or approve of the people who chose to do so. The law was intended simply to give those people the opportunity to do something they wanted to, something which didn’t harm anyone else. The same thing is true of gay-marriage legislation. Why should it matter to a straight whether or not his neighbor is gay? Whether or not that neighbor is married to the person he lives with, or not? Gays certainly aren’t trying to entice other people into gayness; they have better sense. (In any case, sexual orientation is decided in infancy, long before the person even knows what sex *is*.)

    The one and only test of a person’s behavior is, or should be, is it harmful to someone else? If it’s not, they should be left alone.

    And BTW, I’m not gay. I don’t do sex at all.

    • chezami

      Tell that to the innocent owners of Memories Pizza who have been buried with death threats and driven out of business for ungoodthink.

      • chrijeff

        Any politicized group has its extremists. They’re usually a tiny, vocal, sometimes violent minority. That doesn’t mean you should tar the whole movement with the same brush. Don’t Muslims keep insisting that theirs is a religion of peace, and that most of them are not terrorists?

        • antigon

          ‘That doesn’t mean you should tar the whole movement with the same brush.’
          *
          Quite right especially since it was the plutocracy that arranged this little K-nacht.

      • SSipe

        The so-called “innocent owners of Memories Pizza” brought this on all by themselves when they said, ‘we’re will not willing to cater same sex weddings.’ Granted, death threats were way overboard, just like many twitter and facebook comments, I might add. From all appearances, it looks like a bad p.r. stunt gone bad. Funny thing, thus far their “gofundme” campaign has garnered them over $200,000!!

        • kenofken

          I could use some victimization like that.

        • AquinasMan

          “Way overboard”? Paying $9,000 a seat for the Mayweather fight is “overboard”.

          But at least we can all laugh about it since they can spend all that money from the attic they’re hiding in because, you know, “P.R. stunt”.

        • antigon

          “owners of Memories Pizza brought this on all by themselves when they said, ‘we’re will not willing to cater same sex weddings.'”
          *
          Absolutely. How dare they hold a moral opinion uncongenial to the oligarchy!

      • radiofreerome

        ***Tell a certain gay couple in Philly who were attacked by 10-12 alumni from a Catholic high school that the Catholic church doesn’t teach violent hatred of gays. Those students went on a search and destroy mission and assaulted the couple with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Now at least one member of the couple has to have his eye socket reconstructed. (See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2014/09/catholic-school-implicated-in-brutal-philly-gay-bashing-incident/)

        BTW, there has been little hue and cry over this incident. Assault (and battery) with intent to cause grievous bodily harm trumps long distance threats and tacky, obscene yelp reviews.

        The gay couple were assaulted and disfigured by kicks to the head for not being God’s children.

        ***This post is sarcastic, but it reflects the same demagoguery in yours.

        • antigon

          ‘The gay couple were assaulted and disfigured by kicks to the head for not being God’s children.’
          *
          Sorry to violate Godwin’s codicil here mr me, but that’s just bigotry, genuine this time.
          *
          Because those two are God’s children, just like you & me.

      • Phony pizza story.

        • antigon

          Albeit less phony than thy beard, o wonder.

          • I’m sure the Catholics here don’t appreciate your trolling any more than I..

            • antigon

              Perhaps more than thy inanities (& fake beard), tho, o wheel of wonder.

  • This article would have been on target but for one intervening cause: Hobby Lobby. The generic language of RFRA seemed innocuous enough when the Congress adopted it to protect Native American’s use of peyote for religious purposes. And that is why there was no outcry when the states started adopting similar RFRAs But that all changed with the Supreme Court ruling of Hobby Lobby turning the language and intent of RFRA on its head, and instead of protecting private RELIGIOUS PRACTICES from public intrusion reinterpreted RFRA to protect private RELIGIOUS INTRUSIONS into public business practices for discriminatory purposes..

    • antigon

      Like not making me pay for your Viagra Greg? Might be time for you to shave.

      • LOL! Ad hominem only reveals your ignorance, antigon.

        • antigon

          Caro Wonder:
          *
          You mean it’s birth control you want me to pay for? Or is that ad feminam?

  • “and use the cudgel of the state force them to give the appearance of approval to what they are regard as sin. It’s a form of bullying,”
    It’s hard to see a bridge from where this claim comes from and where I stand. From where I stand, the claim of “bullying” is completely delusional.
    1. When a person engaged in public commerce takes an order for a cake that is designed by the customer, then the maker of the cake is not giving an appearance of approval of the customer’s design.
    2. Yes there is a limit to a customer’s design request that would allow a cake maker to refuse to make that cake. For example, if the cake was an XXX pornographic cake, or a cake that depicted the mutilation of children, etc. Denying to make a cake like that would have a reasonable person basis and not offend discrimination against categories of people.
    3. There is no reasonable person basis to refuse to make a wedding cake just because it has two men or two women on the top and every thing else about the cake is just like any other cake the tradesperson makes.