The once great state of Indiana is becoming a fly-over state, as freedom-loving Americans flee Hoosier theocracy for saner climes. We have already seen the reactions of the NCAA, GenCon, The Disciples of Christ, and Salesforce. Yelp and Eli Lilly have also expressed disappointment in the law.
We can now add to the list Angie’s List – you may have seen their commercials.
They are a word-of-mouth business rating network. And this one is going to cost Indiana more than just hurt feelings. It is going to cost Hoosiers some money – and about 1,000 jobs.
Apparently, word-of-mouth is that Indiana is not the place to be. So in the spirit of the free marketplace so touted by Republicans, Angie’s List has announced that they’re going to delay going forward with a $40 million expansion to their Indiana headquarters.
Of course, the egregiously misnamed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is touted as a protection for businesses, but this is one business that is not amused.
This is what co-founder and Chief Executive Bill Oesterle had to say:
“We are putting the ‘Ford Building Project’ on hold until we fully understand the implications of the Freedom Restoration Act on our employees, both current and future. Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.”
And what timing. Turning the old Ford assembly plant into a new office space was to have had its groundbreaking in a few days.
Ironically, Oesterle, a Republican supported Pence for governor.
On Saturday he had this to say:
Look, I’m very proud to be a Republican. I’m concerned about the direction that the legislature and governor have chosen to go here. … I’m concerned that very valid input around this type of legislation is not being heard in the Statehouse.
Of course it’s not being heard. Did you hear the one about the Republican Congresswoman who asked her constituents to post their “Obamacare horror stories” on Facebook and was swamped with success stories praising the president’s healthcare law instead? Did she change her mind about the law? Her answer: because she got only success stories, she used recycled stories from a GOP website to denounce Obamacare anyway.
They don’t want to hear the truth. Until Oesterle and other Republicans realize the full extent of the problem, it is going to continue to be a problem, and the people of states like Indiana are going to suffer for it. Pence’s corporate owners will fly him to basketball games, an option not open to most Hoosiers.
Oesterle seems to understand the source of the hate, at least, pointing to a photograph of Pence signing the RFRA into law:
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 26, 2015
That photograph told me everything I needed to know. I’ve been on the other side of this issue with them for a long time, going back to the governor’s (Daniels’) campaign. That’s when I first became exposed to those people. The most prominent three figures standing directly behind the governor were those three individuals.
He was speaking of Micah Clark of the homophobic and anti-Semitic American Family Association of Indiana (see some of his hateful quotes at GLAAD), Eric Miller of the ironically-named Advance America (whom NUVO calls the “most powerful man in the Indiana statehouse”), and Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute (see some of his hateful quotes at GLAAD) – all vocal supporters of religious tyranny and discrimination in the state of Indiana.
Maybe we should thank Pence for pulling these people out of the shadows in a way we can only dream of doing here. By all means, let’s have some more photo ops. As many of us have observed, the GOP is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s a pity the mainstream media refuses to receive.
The worst of it is – and I know this as a fact because I have family there – Republican Hoosiers will blame Obama for their economic woes, not the fact that they live in a Red State. They haven’t, and they steadfastly refuse, to learn a thing.
Even as the denunciations continue:
You may have noticed on Friday that Apple CEO Tim Cook, of the company that the phones that many of those Hoosier Republican bigots no doubt use – and who also just happens to be gay – has also come out against the law, tweeting,
Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015
On Saturday, there came a joint statement from the NBA, WNBA, and the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever joining the NCAA in denouncing the RFRA:
The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere.
Pacers and Fever owner Herb Simon had this to say, and it is not something Mike Pence wanted to hear:
The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis. Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be.
You have to wonder at what point enough will be enough. It is up to the people of Indiana – Hoosiers – to affect change in the next election. The people they voted into office are taking Indiana down a dark and troubling path, to a place America thought it had escaped from two hundred years ago, when bigotry was commonplace.
We have slowly, if imperfectly, and in fits and starts, but sometimes with glorious success like the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil Rights Act, and other shining deeds, continued to crawl out of that gutter. We might never reach our exceptions and our hopes, but we continue to try.
In a single act, the state of Indiana has committed itself to 13th century-style bigotry and persecution of minorities in the name of religion. It is illegal, un-American, and it is wrong, and if it is to end, Hoosiers will have to wake up and realize they’ve put fascists in charge of their state. All we can do meanwhile, is fly over the accursed place, or if you have to stop, enter only places that bear this sign:
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.