by Don Ewing, Meredith
They say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Similarly, you can present facts in clear language using small words to make it simple, but if the facts don’t coincide with a leftist’s fantasy world, then the leftist will refuse to acknowledge the facts and respond with name calling and irrelevant or false charges to try to intimidate people into silence.
Leftists are wrong so often that they have become very creative in their name calling, diversions, and false charges. A good example is Ed Allard’s letter of April 15, 2015.
Allard’s letter is a response to my letter (April 11) regarding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In Allard’s fantasy, the Indiana law allows people to frivolously discriminate against others; it doesn’t.
The Indiana law is similar to the Federal RFRA which describes (Sec 2A3) the purpose of such laws: “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification”.
Allard insists that the words “substantially burden” don’t exist in the Indiana law although my letter quoted them directly from the law and provided a link to the Indiana law. So I checked again; there they are, “substantially burden”, right in the Indiana law, Chapter 9, IC 34-13-9, Sections 8, 9, and 10.
The RFRAs are not intended to allow discrimination, for examples of their use: http://tiny.cc/tvdfxx.
Since Allard wants to make these laws about discrimination against gays, let’s consider it. A business owner couldn’t successfully use these laws to deny any normal non-religious service they offer. A business owner without serious evidence of their religious convictions couldn’t successfully use the protections of these laws. A business owner who faithfully practices his/her religion which believes gay marriage violates God’s Laws and can convince a court how performing a religious related activity “substantially burdens” his/her religious exercise MIGHT succeed in court in using this law as a defense UNLESS the state can show a compelling justification for burdening the person’s religious exercise. Allard hasn’t presented and I am not aware of any successful use of any of RFRA to defend against discrimination.
This issue is about the rare conflict of two rights that we all want to protect, Religious freedom, the first right protected in the Bill of Rights, and the right to equal treatment. The RFRAs provide reasonable frameworks for resolving those rare conflicts.
Allard also makes the ridiculous suggestion that the RFRAs are the same as the Jim Crow laws which were state laws which enforced discrimination; Jim Crow Laws couldn’t be more different from laws that help resolve a conflict between people’s legitimate rights.
Allard also seems to think that people can have their religions if they want, but they must confine them to their places of worship. It seems to me that our society would be much better off if more people lived consistently with their religious principles in all aspects of their lives, not just in their places of worship.
Allard charges that the RFRAs are “a smokescreen to impose their dogma” on others, but he presents no (and I am aware of no) evidence of that happening in any case involving a Religious Freedom laws, none of these people tried to prevent the gay wedding. In the cases where a bakery and a flower shop denied serving gay weddings both owners had previously provided the participants with non-religious related services, civilly explained why they couldn’t participate in the wedding, considered them friends, and wished them well. Then the businesses were sued.
If we expect to have a free and peaceful society, then everyone should be respectful of everyone else’s rights, customs, and beliefs because it is the right thing to do, not because it is required by law. No one should knowingly offend another person or ask them to violate their beliefs or rights. Unintended offenses or (non-harmful) violations should be ignored.
The uproar over the Indiana RFRA is part of a decades’ long attack by leftists on America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and values. Have you seen the media reporting the real incidents of Muslim bakeries refusing to provide cakes for gay weddings? Probably not. Isn’t real discrimination a bigger offense than hypothetical discrimination?
Have you heard of any Indiana businesses which discriminated against gays? I haven’t. But, you probably heard of an Indiana pizzeria which responded to a reporter’s theoretical question that they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding. You probably didn’t hear that the media had to search to get the story they wanted, nor that the pizzeria advertised its Christianity, nor that it hadn’t ever been asked to cater a wedding. Also, you may not have heard that the diversity advocates closed down the business by threatening to burn down the business and harm the people there.
Why should someone be able to demand a service that the service provider feels is offensive, promotes harmful actions, or violates his religious beliefs? Must a business make “T” shirts saying things like, “Muslims deserve to be killed” or “Gays deserve to be beaten”? I don’t think so. The same people who refused to participate in gay weddings because of their religious beliefs probably would also refuse to make “T” shirts sayings those things, and they should be able to do so. A society that wants to be peaceful must allow people to act in according to their beliefs (that don’t harm others) of right and wrong.
Unfortunately the leftists who constantly advocate for diversity and demand their “rights” are unwilling to accept the diversity and rights of others. Leftists aren’t satisfied that people tolerate their beliefs or actions, leftists demand that everyone endorse and support their beliefs and actions; this is tyranny.
Tyranny does not lead to a peaceful and prosperous society.