Indiana leads the nation in hate: Anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill becomes law

Indiana leads the nation in hate: Anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill becomes law March 26, 2015

Boycott Indiana: Today Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law legislation that permits discrimination against LGBT people and others when such discrimination aligns with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The mean-spirited legislation is supposedly meant to prevent the government from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion. However, in reality, the bill is an anti-gay measure sponsored by Christian conservatives in a despicable attempt to protect bigoted business owners who don’t want to provide services to same-sex couples.

Yet the legislation is so poorly written and so sweeping in its language that it opens a Pandora’s box for people to ignore any law that conflicts with their “sincerely held religious belief.”

Theoretically, the law would allow restaurants to refuse to serve gay or interracial couples, hotels could refuse to provide lodging for Jews, landlords could refuse to rent to African Americans, pharmacies could refuse to dispense birth control to women, and employers could fire anyone, so long as such behavior was justified by “sincerely held religious belief.”

In a statement Pence tried to justify signing the bill into law by making a facile appeal to the fact that some misguided Christians feel persecuted:

The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.

And while conservative Christians in Indiana are no doubt pleased that their ignorance and bigotry has been endorsed by craven Republican lawmakers, the new law is being met with howls of protest, as good people reject this ugly legislation.

Speaking for many decent Americans, George Takei is now leading a well orchestrated and large scale boycott against Indiana. After the ‘religious freedom’ bill became law, Takei immediately expressed his disappointment and outrage on his Facebook page:

I am outraged that Gov. Pence would sign such a divisive measure into law. He has made it clear that LGBT couples, like Brad and me, are now unwelcome in his state. The notion that this bill was not driven by animus against our community is belied by the record and frankly insulting. I will join many in demanding that socially responsible companies withdraw their business, conferences and support from his state and that LGBTs and our friends and supporters refuse to visit or do business with Indiana. It is a sad day for the Hoosier state, and indeed for the many good people of Indiana, for whom this law now stands as a terrible blight upon that state’s reputation.

Indeed, it is a sad day for Indiana: a day when religious bigots, led by Governor Mike Pence, shamed and humiliated the state with this ugly, backwards, mean-spirited legislation.

Writing at Danthropology, Dan Arel notes:

Secularism is dead. At least it is in Indiana….

Arel is right. Secularism is dead in Indiana, and in its place, there is this perverse Sharia for Hoosiers, as Christian theocracy tramples upon the U.S. Constitution and the secular values upon which this nation was founded.

The movement to boycott Indiana is growing rapidly, and is a necessary reaction to this naked bigotry, bigotry inspired by religious hatred and ignorance.

Boycott Indiana (#BoycottIndiana).

Indiana Flag (Wikimedia)
Indiana Flag (Wikimedia)

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