There is a legitimate reason Indiana theocrat Mike Pence claims he is surprised by the backlash against the religious law he just signed legalizing discrimination; there is nothing in the law stating it protects discrimination against, or targets the LGBT community. In fact, the law is very specifically written only to restrict the state from enforcing laws that ‘substantially burden’ religious expression; even though any sane person understands the law is specifically discriminatory on myriad levels. Regardless what the Dominionist governor says, there is a deeper meaning to the legalized discrimination bill he just signed into law than targeting the LGBT community and it is stunning that according to the events of the past two years, most opponents of the law are missing the bigger picture.
The reason Pence signed the theocratic legislation in private was to conceal its Christian fundamentalist advocates and sponsors who have, according to their bastardized religious views, decided what activities constitute a ‘mortal sin’ they will not countenance in Indiana or anyplace in America. In fact, nearly identical religious legislation is being prepared for enactment in 23 states across the nation at the behest of Catholic clergy, evangelical fanatics, and anti-gay groups and not one of them mention gays or discrimination. Pence actually had two separate ‘signing’ sessions to accommodate the two groups pushing the ultimate “conscience clause” that targets much more than just the LGBT community and it is something outraged opponents of the Indiana law are completely missing and it is curious why they are ignorant of what the law really means for all Indianans.
In the first ‘official’ signing session, Pence is surrounded by 18 primarily religious supporters including the law’s three main sponsors, and several Franciscan monks and nuns. One of the monks celebrating preacher Pence signing the law, Fr. David Mary Engo of the Franciscan Brothers Minor in New Haven, was a key voice in testifying for the bill’s passage during legislative hearings. Engo complained about righteous adherent’s desperate need for relief from the substantial government burden being place on their right to free expression of religion. By now only a fool does not comprehend that in 21st Century America ‘free expression’ of religion means the legal right to impose theocratic tyranny on other Americans. For Catholic clergy, the right of ‘free expression’ is primarily controlling ‘sinful’ women who believe they have a Constitutional right to choose their own reproductive health; that the government protects their right is a burden on the Church’s right to free expression. It was the impetus of the Vatican-5’s ruling in Hobby Lobby that did not go far enough for Catholic leaders.
Make no mistake, Franciscan monks and Catholic nuns are not concerned about following a Jesus Pence asserted would never welcome a sinner in his business; their primary regard is outlawing women’s access to birth control their Vatican regards as a ‘mortal sin.’ It is why during Pence’s signing statement he specifically noted Notre Dame’s crusade against government overreach in the courts to prevent any women from accessing contraception the Church claims is a mortal sin. Of course the American Church hates the gay community with religious passion, but they hate ‘artificial contraception’ even more. The new law gives them religious and legal cover to deny women access to what the Catholic Humanae Vitae labels a “dire mortal sin;” artificial birth control.
It is why although the law appears only to target the LGBT community and allow the ‘faithful’ to legally punish same-sex marriage partners by refusing to hire, serve, or provide them with medical care, it is important to remember there is no mention of gays in the law. In fact, there were amendments offered to the bill that were designed to make it explicitly clear that the law was not singling out the LGBT community, but Republicans rejected them out of hand several times; likely after the Franciscan monk testified that the Church’s religious freedom was under government assault by not allowing them to control the people.
On Sunday, Pence defended the law and claimed it had nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with “protecting religious liberties” and reminded that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allowed private individuals and ‘corporations’ to cite religious belief exemptions during litigation. As Pence said, “This is not about discrimination, this is about empowering people to confront government overreach.” When Pence says government overreach, he means laws preventing religious fanatics from controlling women as much as the 14th Amendment protecting the LGBT community’s equal and civil rights.
In a second signing session staged for the benefit of another theocratic group, religious right leaders crusading against the gay community, sworn enemies of homosexuals and same-sex marriage dominated the gathering. Of particular note in attendance were Micah Clark who is an anti-gay crusader who preaches that homosexuality is a treatable disease and publicly raged against a lesbian high school student over a prom tuxedo; Curt Smith, who helped write the Indiana license to discriminate legislation and equates homosexuality with bestiality and adultery, and Eric Miller who distributed flyers claiming that preachers are due to be imprisoned for preaching against homosexuality directly after same-sex marriage passed. Every time Mike Pence claims the law he signed is not about discrimination, he is lying through his teeth; a sin and violation of the Christian bible’s ninth commandment.
Obviously the Indiana law, like the 23 other states preparing to follow suit and usher in an age of religious tyranny and the end of equal and civil rights all have an anti-gay agenda. However, as ‘religious liberty’ laws they duly have no mention of the word discrimination, gays, or same-sex marriage that the overwhelming majority believes is their sole intent. These are conscience clause laws meant to give legal cover to any so-called religious devotee who takes it upon themselves to determine what is a sin, and how they react to that ‘sinner.’ That means that medical professionals can refuse to treat an injured person if they determine the person is a sinner. It also means a pharmacist can refuse to dispense contraceptives to a woman whether they are married or not.
The list of scenarios where a religious person can use ‘religious liberty’ as a legal defense is endless and although it appears Indiana’s law was created to target the gay community, believing it will stop there is a monumental error. Americans have underestimated the impending doom religious fanatics can bring on the nation for too long and what is happening in Indiana, and soon 23 other states, is a direct result of foolish thinking this country is immune from religious tyranny. If there is one thing history has borne out, there is no end to the damage religion can wreak on a society and American naïveté has played a major role in allowing this nation to fall prey to something as despicable as laws legalizing discrimination or controlling women. It is heartening that some members of the public are protesting the Indiana law because it targets the gay community, but the real danger is that they are missing the bigger picture that no group, race, or demographic in America is safe; including Americans protesting religious tyranny.
Author note: The ‘alleged’ quote from Governor Pence regarding Jesus never welcoming a sinner in his workplace cannot be verified unconditionally. It was gleaned from a Facebook group’s posting here that included the statement in quotes attributed to Pence. There is, however, no way of knowing what Pence uttered during two different private signing ceremonies where in all likelihood Pence may have made the remark based on his ardent defense of the law. The statement has been removed; all due apologies.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.