Under fire from a legion of protestors, corporate executives, and politicians, Indiana’s lawmakers are desperate to “fix” their Religious Freedom Restoration Act so this firestorm will quietly go away. Unfortunately, some of the propositions being made would swing too far in the other direction, putting the state in a worse position than it was to begin with. It’s commendable, perhaps, that Indiana is going to make sure gays don’t face discrimination, but some of the ideas could put religious freedom in dire jeopardy.
For instance, several Republican representatives said one possibility would include bringing sexual orientation and gender identify under the umbrella of Indiana’s civil rights protection laws. That would put them in line with 18 other states that have similar legislation. The problem is that we’ve seen how these laws can be used to target Christians in the workplace, limiting how and when they can express their religious beliefs.
These laws – employment non-discrimination acts – have been introduced federally on an annual basis since the early 1990s, and they have been shot down every time. And while many Americans believe that individual rights should and can be compromised if it means eliminating discrimination, there comes a point where the First Amendment must be respected. There comes a point where we’re no longer talking about equality; we’re talking about granting favoritism to a small minority of the population.
Consider the case of Regina Redford and Robin Christy, two city employees in Oakland, California. After their fellow LGBT employees formed an association, they decided to start one of their own. Calling it the Good News Employee Association, they passed out fliers to promote the new group. Calling it a “forum for people of faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day,” the pair were censured by their supervisors. An email was sent out staff-wide, decrying the promotion of “sexual orientation based harassment.” In other words, it’s okay to start a gay alliance, but it’s not okay to start a Christian one. Favoritism.
Then, of course, there are the cases that have made headlines in recent years. The business owners who have been sued successfully by state governments for refusing to provide services for gay weddings. Not for gay people, mind you, but for gay weddings. The LGBT activists think this is exactly how it should be. That’s why they have come out in force against Indiana’s new law. To their way of thinking, it’s better to see Christians forced to betray their beliefs than for gay couples to have to call another bakery. How is this equality?
Under ENDA laws, businesses would be forced to hire transgenders without considering what impact they might have on their clientele. This is a category – plainly speaking – that was defined as a mental illness only a few short years ago. Was this definition changed because of new insight in psychology, or was it changed due to pressure from the LGBT mafia?
Discrimination against women and racial minorities is one thing; discrimination against people who flaunt their alternative lifestyle is quite another. Indiana’s Religious Freedom law is intended to ensure that the courts give due weight to an individual’s religious beliefs when determining whether to infringe. Setting in stone laws that provide unquestionable favoritism for LGBT citizens isn’t “fixing” the law; it’s gutting it.