Monday, March 30, 2015

Anti-religion forces target Indiana - Updated

There's all sort of hoopla over the new religious freedom law in Indiana. The usual suspects are out claiming it discriminates against homosexuals, and are calling for boycotts and protests.

Apparently, few of these folks have actually read the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." Or are aware that such laws exist in more than 20 states. Or that the law mirrors one passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton.

But we are dealing with emotion, not reason here.

The key to the law is that there must be an undue "burden" placed on the person for it to go into effect - burdens that courts must rule on on a case-by-case basis. In more than 20 years of such cases, there are guidelines out there already. And those precedents make it difficult to discriminate under normal circumstances because the person claiming the religious out must prove a true burden.

Take the case of a religious baker, for example. If a woman comes in and is wearing a button that says "Lesbian," the baker could not just refuse to sell her a dozen cookies claiming it's a "burden" to sell to her. The law would not uphold that, as simply selling cookies to an individual under normal circumstances does not create a burden.

Now if that same woman came in and requested a wedding cake for her homosexual marriage ceremony, the law would allow the baker to say no, as taking part in a ceremony that clearly goes against the baker's religious beliefs/teachings would create an unnecessary burden.

So, refusing to serve homosexuals under normal circumstances would still be considered discrimination, but refusing to take part in an activity that goes against one's faith would be allowed.

As I said, these cases would be judged on a case-by-case basis. But it is clearly not a law that allows random discrimination.

And the service provider would have to prove it is a burden.

Now there are other areas where such an argument might not hold up.

Take a bed and breakfast. If a homosexual couple comes in and says they want to stay in one of your rooms, and you say no on religious grounds, but you do allow unmarried couples to rent the same rooms, your claim may not hold up. After all, fornication is a sin too, and it would be hard to argue you uphold your faith's teachings in one area but not another.

But again, this is not about reason or logic. It's about emotion and bullying.

The pro-homosexual side wants nothing less than to force people to accept them and their agenda.

Even if it means violating the Constitution and others' religious liberties.

UPDATE: The Democrats are jumping on the anti-religion bandwagon - but after the 2012 National Convention, what could we expect? Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo have joined the ranks of those calling for no official travel to Indiana. Predictable.

Meanwhile, Indiana Governor Pence is waffling under pressure from businesses and the pro-homosexual lobby known as the mainstream media. After all, the bottom line is the bottom line, right?

Pax et bonum


joe said...

Interesting generalization of the "pro-homosexual" side. Let me ask you, if my sincerely held religious beliefs were that any christian event such as a marriage, communion, etc., was not valid according to my doctrine and I chose to refuse service to a couple, or refused to provide service for a ceremony, should I claim this exemption as it would burden me due to my beliefs? Your logic for the bed and breakfast should also be used for providing services for marriages. How can you prove that someone would be substantially burdened by providing a service for an event they disagree with, while serving other events that they don't knowingly disagree with? They would probably do some sort of background check for re-marriages or divorces.

A Secular Franciscan said...
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A Secular Franciscan said...

If it is a clear teaching of your faith that assisting in any way with a Christian wedding violated your beliefs, yes, you should have the right to say no. (I ask though, what religion has a clear teaching on such an issue?)

Since my faith - and a number of others - clearly teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, and other forms of marriage are not morally acceptable, forcing me to participate in a homosexual wedding places an undue burden on me; it is forcing me to assist in something my faith tells me is not morally acceptable.

The situation with re-marriages and divorces are different - homosexual couples are blatantly, publicly obvious, so there's no way I could not be aware. The others are not so.

As for another point you make, there's a wording issue. It's not merely a matter of disagreeing with something - what we are talking about here is a clear teaching in a number of religious traditions. "Disagree" is too vague, too weak a word.

Now if I due to clear teachings have to decline to serve for certain events that violate my faith's teachings, the public can say, Okay, that's your beliefs, so I will just take my business elsewhere. But not in the form of public bullying - Boycott! Protests! Screaming names and stereotypes at you! The latter is what we are getting - and part of it is distorting what the law actually says and allows. Let's deal with the truth, not hysteria.