Being Clear on Religious Liberty

Indiana passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which is fundamentally the same as the federal RFRA and the RFRA’s in force in 19 other States – and liberals went ballistic. Given the rapidity with which the outrage spread, I can only presume that it was all orchestrated – liberals, at any rate, not being given to doing anything until they are so ordered by the liberal leadership (no liberal wants to get out in front just in case the Party Line turns out to be different from personal opinion). As to why it was orchestrated – I figure that the left is trying to gin up its base for 2016 and this is just the start of it, and as Democrats have zero chance of winning Indiana in 2016, it makes the perfect target for liberal slander and hatred. Expect more and more of this sort of manufactured outrage as time goes on – Hillary’s only chance (other than the GOP nominating Jeb) being people upset over nothing rather than paying attention to what is happening.

Still, there is an actual issue here. Liberals are attempting to frame it as a replay of Jim Crow – the RFRA, it is alleged, will allow a “straights only” lunch counter and this will be a horrific violation of homosexual rights. The truth, of course, is completely different. The purpose of RFRA is not to harm anyone, but to protect the rights of a minority – in this case, a religious minority (orthodox Christians). Jim Crow was different – that was laws which required the treatment of non-whites as second class citizens by all and sundry. RFRA is just a way out if someone tries to get someone to do something in violation of their deeply held religious beliefs. It would not allow me, if I were a baker, to refuse to serve homosexual customers – it does excuse me from participating in a same-sex wedding by making the cake which will be consumed at that wedding. If I were a baker – and being that I am Catholic – you could get just about anything you want form me…but you couldn’t get a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. There are other sorts of confections you couldn’t get from me, as well…I probably would not want to bake a cake which, say, proclaimed some dogma of Christian Science. You just want a cake – you got it; you want a cake which requires me to sin: it ain’t happening.

And that is all RFRA does – it allows me to not do something for you. If I am not doing something for you then I am also not doing anything to you. I am not violating your rights by not providing a service. In fact, if you were able to compel me to do something for you, then not only would you likely be violating my religious beliefs, but you’d also be forcing me into involuntary servitude…and slavery is explicitly prohibited in our Constitution.

I would never dream of asking someone to do something against their conscience. I’d never ask a pacifist to serve in the army. I’d never ask a Jew to provide me a ham sandwich. I’d never ask a Muslim to sell me some wine. It is just plain and simple courtesy that I do this – it would be the height of arrogant oppression if I were to demand that everyone do for me as I wish. We do live in a pluralist society – in the United States there really are all kinds of people and the only way such a society works is if everyone respects everyone else. Doing it any other way just leads to anarchy, oppression, a disintegration of the ties that bind and a risk of complete societal breakdown.

Live and let live – wise words to live by.

10 thoughts on “Being Clear on Religious Liberty

  1. Cluster March 30, 2015 / 8:47 am

    Just another example of liberal moaning and whining in a long, long, long line of of liberal moaning and whining. Leftist Democrats have become the ignorant unruly children of our time. The RFRA passed unanimously in 1993 and was happily signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton in defense of Native American religious practices. It is also a standard that has been upheld in 20 states and at the federal level since it’s passage.Yet despite this 20 year old piece of legislation, we are now to be convinced that suddenly this is an egregious affront to the civil liberties of gay people?? All this amounts to is more loud and unfounded cries from yet another “aggrieved” minority constituency who the Democrats will take up issue with and use to divide the country.

    How about if gay people keep their rights and avoid those establishments that are unfriendly, and those on the religious right do the same. After all, I don’t think you will find any strict Mormons wanting to dine in the LGBT district of San Francisco and if they did enter that establishment with the intent of being offensive to the proprietors, I would support the LGBT proprietor for not allowing them to dine there. It works both ways. That’s what freedom is.

    • M. Noonan March 30, 2015 / 9:56 am

      Indeed – but our liberals aren’t like that…they are just oppressors…and whiney, gutless oppressors, into the bargain.

  2. Cluster March 30, 2015 / 3:09 pm

    Off Topic – but can we talk about what a colossal moron Obama and his administration are? At the last minute, Iran throws them a curveball effectively killing the deal. Who would have thunk it ???? Obama is a complete F****ing idiot.

    • M. Noonan March 30, 2015 / 6:25 pm

      Iran knows that Obama has boxed himself in a corner and must get a deal…so, they are just being absurd about it.

  3. Retired Spook April 1, 2015 / 9:12 am

    My wife and I just got back from our spring grandson fix in Kansas, and this issue was pretty much the topic of conversation the whole 6 days. You couldn’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing what an ogre Indiana Governor Mike Pence is, and what hateful bigots the GOP members of the Indiana General Assembly are. The Hypocrisy from the Left on this issue is stunning. Connecticut Governor, Dan Malloy, announced he will not send any Connecticut employees to Indiana for any reason. Apparently he doesn’t realize that Connecticut has the same law but worded in a broader sense than the Indiana law that sets the bar lower for what an injured party must prove in court. The Connecticut law says the injured party must prove that agreeing to perform whatever the request may be burdens the practice of their religion. The Indiana law adds the word “substantially” to “burdens. Don’t hold your breath that anyone in the MSM will pick up on this. But, perhaps, the biggest hypocrite of all is Apple CEO, Tim Cook.

    Apple builds most of its products overseas, in China specifically. The country is an environmental and human rights disaster. Much like the Soviet Union’s Gulag Archipelago, China has a loose network of shadowy installations that house great horrors. The Laogai system subjects to torture Christians and advocates of freedom and the innate, inalienable rights of man (the very principles that steered the founding of our nation). Men are grabbed in the dead of night and carried away to have their testicles crushed, physical emasculation before the State (coerced subjugation to other men and relinquishment of the lowest expression of innate dignity), mixed with other punishments of equal magnitude. Constant surveillance hounds the affected families, and harassment follows wives and children at all turns until they beg for asylum elsewhere. This is where Mr. Cook manufactures his products to utilize cheap labor and maintain profit margins exceeding 40% on Apple’s most important product, the iPhone. Human rights champion, indeed.

    Apple sells its products all over the world, deriving a growing portion of its revenues from China. On the last conference call, Mr. Cook boasted about how fast expansion is happening. A store a week, approximately, going to over 40 within the year. When has Mr. Cook said anything about the evils of the Chinese system? How well does one reckon that homosexuals are treated in that country? Apple is expanding across the Middle East, with retail stores in Saudi Arabia. Apple is happy to sell to those who mandate that women shroud themselves in hijabs and do not permit them to appear in public without their husbands or allow them drive a car. Homosexuals are subjected to death by beheading, stoning, being tossed off buildings across the region where Apple products are found to the delight of Mr. Cook. Like most who share the progressive ideology, he seems to lose his passion for the protection of so-called protected classes like homosexuals for the right price under authoritarian ideological governance.

    This current dust up is essentially about 3 things, none of which has anything to do with discrimination against homosexuals or anyone else. I think first and foremost, this is about marginalizing a popular governor who is a potential GOP presidential candidate. Second, this is about making the GOP in general look like anti-gay bigots; and third, it’s another attack on Christianity, something the Left is rapidly turning into an art form. You won’t see a homosexual (or the state on his/her behalf) sue a Muslim deli for not providing a pork sausage roll or meatball sub; or Muslim caterer for refusing to provide pork at a gay wedding, because they know the Muslim will likely not turn the other cheek.

    • M. Noonan April 1, 2015 / 12:32 pm

      It is just another manufactured outrage – showing up just how nauseating the left is these days. I’m really getting tired of all this – and getting angry! One has to show patience and mercy and forgiveness…but as one commentator put it, we’re all supposed to tolerate everything except Christianity. I’ve had about enough.

      • Retired Spook April 1, 2015 / 12:38 pm

        I’ve had about enough.

        You and a lot of other people.

      • M. Noonan April 1, 2015 / 5:23 pm

        Latest I saw is that the Pizza place which said it wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding may close down – they are getting death threats! This is the kind of people we deal with.

  4. Retired Spook April 1, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    This open letter at MarketWatch this morning pretty much nails what’s behind the whole issue.

  5. Retired Spook April 1, 2015 / 12:35 pm

    OT, but the chances of Hillary Clinton being the Dem presidential nominee continue to melt down. Too bad, so sad!

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