I've been somewhat vocal about my opinions on Indiana's Religious Freedom crap. But I've also been sitting back and reading and taking in opinions on both sides. Reading the actual bill. Reading what supporters of the bill have to say about it. Stuff like that.
A lot of people are very angry over this new legislation. Lots of big names across the country have called for a boycott against Indiana - cities have prohibited government travel here, conventions are considering cancelling, sporting events are looking elsewhere.
The supporters of the bill are angry that people are "over reacting" to the bill. They say that other states have almost identical bills. They say that this just prevents government over reaching. They say this has nothing at all to do with discrimination.
I call bullshit.
I'm just going to point out a couple of reasons why this is total BS.
1. Other states have primarily passed these bills 15-20 years ago - not in current years as a response to the legalization of gay marriage. And other states have legislation in place to protect the LGBT population from discrimination - making them a protected class.
2. One of the big supporters and lobbyists of this bill is Advance America. This group has a CLEAR homophobic slant - it's a group that was founded in 1980 by Eric Miller. And you can find posts from 2 months ago about the Religious Freedom bill and why it's "important."
"SB 568 will help protect religious freedom in Indiana by providing protection forindividuals with sincerely held religious beliefs, along with Christian businesses andchurches.
SB 568 will help protect individuals, Christian businesses and churches from thosesupporting homosexual marriages and those supporting government recognition and approval of gender identity (male cross-dressers).
Here are just 3 examples:
- Christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!
- A Christian business should not be punished for refusing to allow a man to use the women’s restroom!
- A church should not be punished because they refuse to let the church be used for a homosexual wedding!"
3. The context, as evidenced by the Advance America postings, makes it clear that the legislation is created to support the specific views of a specfic brand of Christianity. It does not represent all faiths. And that is pretty damn dangerous. I get that it isn't written in that way specifically. But again - read the spewings of Advance America.
4. Final straw was interview Pence did on ABC News this morning. When directly asked if he opposes discrimination against gays and lesbians - and he was directly asked TWICE - he hesitated and then avoided a direct answer of the question.
Maybe discrimination isn't written into the bill. And maybe anyone who tries to use this legislation to protect themselves will fail.
That isn't really the point. The bill itself isn't why people are so angry. The legislation is, of course, carefully written so that the supporters and authors can raise their hands and claim innocence and good intention. But the pretext and context is what is causing the issues.
We're angry because this bill was pushed through as a response to the passing of the legalization of gay marriage.
We're angry because the people fighting to support this legislation are clearly homophobic and discriminatory.
We're angry because the picture of Indiana has now been painting with a hugely bigoted and hateful paintbrush because of the clear context of this situation.
Anyone who wants to defend this legislation - go right ahead. But please own it. Please be honest and say that you want a way for businesses and churches to be "protected" from the evils of homosexuality. At least with Advance America, I can clearly see that they are not ever going to be a group that I would support or give any credence to because they are so far away from the values that I hold dear.
Values, by the way, that are completely based in my faith. Because I believe strongly in that most important commandment that Christ gave us. Love God, love others.
And I won't be arguing about this topic. If you want to unfriend me or unfollow me - that's probably better, honestly. The divisive nature of this legislation is bringing about ugly sides to people - sides that I don't need to see. If you want to be anti-gay, go right ahead. It is your right, after all. Just like people have a right to be racist. But just because you have the right to be that way doesn't mean that it is actually right to be that way.
Meanwhile, I'm just going to be over here doing my best to love all of you - even the haters and close minded people. I'll be praying for all of you - especially those who seek to make others "less than" in any way, those who feel injustice is allowed. I'm sure there will be those who feel like they need to pray for me - that I might see the error of my ways, that I might be more open to seeing God's will in all of this. Y'know, that God's will thing about loving others. Maybe we have different definitions of love - but that's a different post for a different day.