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Indiana now faces wrath of faith groups

Indiana now faces wrath of faith groups

Indiana’s idiotic Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – universally regarded as an overt attack on the gay community – is now being perceived as a real danger to folk belonging to faiths other than Christianity.

According to this report, the Islamic Society of North America, for example, issued a statement expressing concern that the law could open the door to discrimination against Muslims. The statement said:

If a corporation refused to hire a person because they were a Muslim and their religious beliefs did not permit them to hire Muslim, then the prospective employee could not succeed in a lawsuit alleging discrimination against the corporation, because the law is a defence to liability. Similarly, the state government could not levy fines or other punishments against a corporation for discrimination.

ISNA President Azhar Azeez also urged Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana legislature:

To either repeal this law or add sufficient anti-discrimination protections to insure no one’s rights are undermined in the name of religious freedom.

The Sikh Coalition’s Rajdeep Singh, while arguing that fundamental protections for religious freedom should remain intact, declared:

It is wrong to discriminate against people based on what they believe, but we also cannot allow RFRA to be used to discriminate against people because of who they love.

Enter the Jews. In a statement to The Huffington Post, Rachel Laser, deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said that the matter at stake is bigger than Indiana and bigger than just one marginalised community. Laser said the RFRA offers an opportunity for minority groups and all people of conscience to stand together to protect “fundamental” freedoms.

Our nation’s dedication to religious freedom has allowed religious minorities, including Jews, to flourish across America. This history inspires us to speak out – not only to ensure that individuals and religious communities can freely practice and observe their faith – but also to fight discrimination against other minorities.

We can protect fundamental religious freedoms while ensuring that the LGBT community, as well as other communities in need of protections, are treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of public life.

And the Central Conference of American Rabbis argued that the bill had been:

Motivated by animus against LGBT Americans.

CCAR, which appointed its first openly gay president in March, drew upon Jewish history to make a statement of solidarity with all people targeted by “state-sanctioned” discrimination, and said in a statement:

We further call upon Gov Pence to declare that Indiana will not tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation or perceived orientation, gender identity or expression or perceived gender identity or expression.

Christian groups, too, are unhappy with Pence’s law. The Disciples of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination that has long made Indiana its headquarters, is seeking a new location for its 2017 General Assembly in protest of the law.

The group said in a letter to followers:

Religious freedom is also one of the cherished tenets of our Disciples tradition. The freedom of one goes too far, however, when that one’s freedom threatens to exclude or inhibits the freedoms of others.

Bishop Catherine Waynick of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, called the RFRA “an embarrassment to ‘Hoosier Hospitality’” in a pre-Easter letter to the clergy. Holy Week and Easter offer an opportunity for Christians to “become faithful advocates for justice,” Waynick wrote, and to reflect on the “indiscriminate love of God.”

Pence said on Tuesday that he supports amending the RFRA with new language to clarify that the law does not allow businesses to deny services to anyone. He has stopped short, however, of calling for a state law that would explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Thee beleaguered faith-head said:
I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the General Assembly to create a license to discriminate, or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state. And it certainly wasn’t my intent. But I can appreciate that that’s become the impression – not just here in Indiana, but all across this country. And we need to confront that.
• The top picture was taken at a demonstration by thousands against Governor Pence’s law in Indianapolis on March 28. (Photo Reuters/Nate Chute.)

7 responses to “Indiana now faces wrath of faith groups”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Pence has done a quite remarkable job here. In trying to use a bill that is ostensibly deigned to protect religious belief, but as the whole world knows is really designed to discriminate against gay people, he has managed to place every last American religious group squarely between a rock and a hard place. Do they say thank you very much and risk getting branded bigots, just as Pence has been? Or do they begrudgingly accept that maybe it isn’t such a great idea to give certain groups special privileges after all?

    While I’m sure they would all really have loved to have had their silly beliefs given special status in the eyes of the law, at least most of those groups have realised that they have more to lose than they have to gain by siding with Pence. Doesn’t your heart just go out to them in this terrible, no-win dilemma situation?

  2. L.Long says:

    So a few dozen religious realize that theocracy is nothing but bigotry toward others you don’t like. Wouldn’t be nice if the 85% of ‘mericans would wake up and smell the rotten BS they are peddling and accept secularism in gov’mint? Well that was a nice fairy tale dream.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Any religious group in the USA that speaks for or against a candidate or a law relinquishes their non-profit status.

    The law grants a (rotten) privilege to religious people that an atheist could never have.

  4. sailor1031 says:

    Pence says: “I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the General Assembly to create a license to discriminate, or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state.”

    It is obvious to the meanest intelligence that that was precisely the intention of the Indiana General Assembly. It is therefore also obvious that Pence is a complete moron, an unprincipled liar or both. I incline to the latter of these options.

    “Any religious group in the USA that speaks for or against a candidate or a law relinquishes their non-profit status.” They do not and never have ‘relinquished’ their non-taxable status. That would depend on whether the IRS would take away their non-profit status for such flagrant breach of law. So far the IRS has been completely intimidated by these religious vultures and has done nothing to enforce the rules. Nor will it IMO.

  5. Broga says:

    @sailor1031: I would opt for “unprincipled liar in cynical pursuit of political advantage.” We have similar people in the UK.

  6. Caute says:

    I once read that the definition of Politics is “The Art of Deception. May I extrapolate that definition to define Religion with the qualification that Religion is the Ultimate Deception upheld by the continuous use of barefaced lies against credulous vulnerable fools, by wicked power hungry charlatans who distort laws to suit their own agenda and threaten divine punishment upon those who challenge them. I cannot think of any exceptions. Its just that one of them resorts more readily, and usually as a first response to any perceived or confected insult or threat, to murder, sometimes on near genocidal scale.

  7. dennis says:

    so now i should only purchase my groceries from an Atheist grocery. well maybe i could raise my own and commit to Vegan life style. i am just digging my own hole here.
    its funny but back in 1990 my first Afro-American bride could not find a wedding cake ornament with a white man and a black woman but she was able to locate gay and lesbian ornaments. i am starting to think that my beautiful bride got snookered by the racist wedding cake makers.