There is a current uproar because Indiana joined one of several States in passing a bill that they label as ‘restoring religious freedom’. Anytime you have a bill with a name like this it should be a red flag because hey, seen any Christians lately that have had trouble attending a church, praying the way they want, or reading the Bible in service? Seen the government raiding places of worship and throwing believers in jail? People being stoned or burned alive as heretics? Yeah, neither have I.
What these bills do of course is permit bigotry under the excuse of religion. Don’t want to serve a gay couple? Claim it is against your beliefs. Don’t like blacks eating in your diner? Quote the Bible and tell them to get out. And if you are an Arab Christian or Muslim well, pretty much do anything you wish.
These religious fanatics are no different than any other fringe orthodox group. For starters, religious freedom doesn’t mean you get to treat people like you want, anytime you want. Society would break down if that is the case. What would happen if some businesses denied service to white Christians? Religious freedom means you can go to the house of worship of your choice, worship as you like, without the government telling you how that should be. The Founding Fathers – many who were not Christians – set it up that way because their families had suffered deaths due to religious issues. They knew first-hand what it meant not to have that freedom.
Gov. Pence of Indiana, on national television this morning, refused to say if he believed LGBT should be discriminated against (seriously, even if you are a lying politician, how hard is it to say ‘no’ to that question? Apparently, pretty damn hard) and he flatly refused to make any changes into the law even as major businesses have cancelled job generating plans over the issue and some major corporations have begun to explore ways to leave the State. Bigotry trumps the future welfare of the State, I guess.
He kept talking about the gracious hospitality of the people of Indiana. Well, I was raised in Indiana so let me chime in on that. There are more than a fair share of racists in Indiana and when it comes to LGBT issues, the bigotry is even worse. It is everywhere of course but trying to set Indiana up as above the rest is a little ridiculous, especially in the obvious light of his actions.
Much of this attitude comes from changing demographics. A report about 2 weeks ago cited the fact that 19 States are no longer a majority of white Christian. They are still mostly Christian but now there are Latinos, Asians and large concentrations of Muslims and Buddhists. For many Americans, white Christians particularly, the changing demographics are jarring. They grew up in a world where white Christians always called the shots. The best jobs, education, houses, major decisions, were all in the white Christian camp and now suddenly they’ve woken up to the fact the world is an ever changing place. Probably be really disheartening to them to know that 1 in 3 people on the planet is Asian and only a 1/3 of the people are Christians.
If a society is to move forward then it must be inclusive. That doesn’t mean inclusive with limitations but rather inclusive as in we’re ALL created equal. Gov. Pence is a failed leader in a failed State. He can bellow all he wants about restoring religious liberty but that doesn’t disguise his real aim lies in the bounds of bigotry.