Before we get all butthurt about the rest of the piece: 1) About the only people I discriminate against a folks with bad tattoos…you obviously make bad decisions, but hey! that’ll look great at 65! 2) I live in a state with a RFRA and that didn’t lead to flaming pyres with homosexuals roasting upon them. 3) As a libertarian (or “real liberal”) I don’t care what you do, so long as you don’t scare the horse, and everyone’s on board with it. So check the pro- or anti-gay bullshit at the door if you choose to comment.
Oh, you might need this…
Indiana joined the ranks of 19 other states, and the federal government, that have some version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or “riff-ra”) last week and the interwebz melted down with deliriously outrageous outrage. Apparently, the passage of this bill will lead to some manner of Auschwitz-style oppression of homosexuals in the state. You’d be well forgiven for thinking this if you’ve been getting your news
Facefuck Facebook or some other mainstream media outlet (except Fox…then civilization is imperiled by the protests.) However, unless you are protesting and boycotting the other states on the map below, you’re a fucking hypocrite…or just really uninformed. You choose:
So doing what I know not a single one of the people complaining on Facebook has done, I RTFM (military folks know what this means, for the rest of you…) I read the damned bill before I opined. Novel, I know. Here’s a quick comparison of RFRA for those of you who can’t click here and read it.
What RFRA does, in this case, is — as in all of the other instances of this sort of law — establish that the state cannot “burden an individual’s exercise of religion unless the burden is of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Here are some examples of what that means:
- The government’s compelling someone to do something that violates his religious beliefs, or prohibiting someone from doing something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
- The government’s denying someone a tax exemption or unemployment compensation unless he does something that violates his religious beliefs, or refrains from something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
- As to state and federal constitutional regimes, it’s not clear whether the above also applies when the objector’s conduct is merely motivated by his religious beliefs (e.g., the objector thinks it’s a religiously valuable thing for him to stay home on the Sabbath, rather than a religious commandment) and not actually mandated by those beliefs. The federal RFRA, many state RFRAs, and RLUIPA expressly apply to “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by … a system of religious belief.”
- The beliefs need not be longstanding, central to the claimant’s religious beliefs, internally consistent, consistent with any written scripture, or reasonable from the judge’s perspective. They need only be sincere.
RFRA laws got their start in 1993, mostly due to the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith decision (Google it — research is good for you…) with a federal law that “statutory presumptive entitlement to exemption from generally applicable laws.” This doesn’t not abnegate other civil rights or legal obligations, but places the burden — rightfully — on the government not the plaintiff and states the State cannot compel you to do something against your conscience. You know, that conscience that people respect until it doesn’t align with their conscience.. RFRA, as The Washington Post tells us, are “…about accommodating religious belief, not authorizing discrimination…” no matter what Tim Cook’s (or your Facebook friend from England or France or Germany, or wherever they are whinging from) opinion on the matter might be.
“But, Scott,” someone is currently wheezing through their vapors, “It will be used to discriminate against gay people!” 1) Happy people are cool and shouldn’t be discriminated against, no matter their sexual orientation, but in case you mean homosexual, then 2) no it fucking won’t. How do I know? Let’s look at a few cases where RFRA laws were involved in legal cases concerning discrimination by businesses against homosexuals.
New Mexico has a RFRA. We’re also a recent cynosure for religious vs.
homosexual personal rights. Here’s some ways this has played out.
1) In 2006, a New Mexico church was using hoasca tea in their ceremonies…because it gets you high, if we’re going to be honest, but let’s assume that it is vital to their communications with whatever Almighty they worship. The federal government used the Controlled Substances Act to seize their hoasca and harass the membership. In a rare moment of protecting the interests of the people, the Supreme Court found against the government, thanks to RFRA.
2) Last year, a Elaine Photography was found to have violated the civil rights of a homosexual couple when they refused to provide services for their wedding. So right there is your precedent for why the Indiana law won’t discriminate against gays. It’s settled law.
But that’s just New Mexico, you say? I read in The Atlantic that it’s different in significant ways! Nope. But it says that religious protections exist even when the government isn’t involved in the case…well, that’s the pesky First Amendment for you; you can’t discriminate against me because I’m Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, an agnostic, or a Scientologist. Well…Scientologist…
It also establishes that companies, not just non-profits have the right to religious protections, similar to the Texas RFRA. This is due to the recent Burwel v Hobby Lobby decision. And what about Burwell v Hobby Lobby you ask? Even the creepily progressive rag Slate couldn’t find fault here –even Sam Alito, not a favorite of the Progressives, said the ruling was not a “…shield [for]…religious practice to escape legal sanction…” So that’s, again, precedence set by the Supreme Court of the nation. Nowhere, over the two decades of RFRA, has it been used successfully to discriminate against homosexuals.
You are, simply, wrong.
So why is everyone so fired up about this law? Here’s the truth: Progressives are trying to get in front of the 2016 election, in which Indiana governor Mike Pence was seen as a strong contender for the Republicans. They only wish this was happening in Wisconsin so they could go after Scott Walker. It’s political theater produced to make people who read headlines like they were the full story have a visceral, emotional reaction that goes viral on FaceTwitSpace.
You have, simply, been used.