Conservative Defense of Indiana’s Hateful RFRA is Awash in a Sea of Lies

Republican and Religious Right damage-control over Indiana’s RFRA is chaotic and entertaining, and as dishonest as the day is long.

World Net Daily, in an attempt to defend Indiana’s so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act claims that the “Fine print doesn’t mention ‘Christian,’ doesn’t target ‘gays.’

If the fine print doesn’t mention Christians and doesn’t target gays, “how can it be an anti-gay hate bill?” they ask triumphantly.

How about I pose a question for World Net Daily:

The United States Constitution does not mention God, Jesus, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or Christianity. Using your own logic, how can the United States be a Christian nation?

We have already seen efforts to claim that the RFRA is just the federal version writ small. The Christian Post attempted this a few days ago, claiming, “Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a state-level version of the federal RFRA.”

This is not true, and charitably, I will suggest the possibility that CP did not bother to actually read the bill. The White House has debunked this lie.

What’s more, Pence and his fellow Republicans KNEW this was not just a repeat of the federal law, and 30 law professors warned them of this fact beforehand, informing them, in a letter,

The proposed state RFRAs threaten to destabilize the harmony among fundamental rights struck by Indiana courts in a long line of cases and in a complex set of contexts. The proposed law seeks to override this reasoned balance among rights by bluntly and categorically granting religious liberty rights a special status.

We’ve even got Sean Hannit and Dinesh D’Souza asking why gays are mad at Indiana but aren’t getting all hot and bothered by Sharia law.

Well…I’m making a wild guess here, but maybe it’s because nobody is legislating Sharia law in Indiana?

It is obvious who the RFRA is directed toward. Its architects were anti-gay Religious Right activists – Micah Clark, Curt Smith, and Eric Miller – who then had their photo taken with Governor Pence at the signing ceremony, and who now vociferously defend the law:


EVERYONE knows what this bill is designed to do, from Franklin Graham on down. You might remember Graham’s exclamation of joy, posted on Facebook just before the bill was signed into law:

“Thanks to those in government who are standing up for the freedom and protection of Christians to live out their faith.”

Christians. Not Muslims. Not Jews. Certainly not gays, whatever their religious leanings.

Then there is the little matter of Indiana lawmakers admitting that the law permits “no gay” signs, which sort of puts paid to Ann Coulter’s dishonest claim yesterday about “the utterly apocryphal assertion that the law will be used to turn gays away from restaurants.”

Enter Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, whose owners, Crystal and Kevin O’Connor, had already admitted they would refuse to cater gay weddings (does anyone order pizza for weddings?) thanks to the new law. The local ABC affiliate said they were the “first business to publicly deny same-sex service” after Pence signed the RFRA into law.

THEY understood what this law does. And at least, unlike World Net Daily or Ann Coulter, they were being honest and up front about it, however bigoted they might be.

You can bet they expected to be the first of many as all the world rose up to denounce gay-dom in America’s basketball heartland. Except, the day the law was signed might become the day basketball died.

Turns out, there are a lot fewer bigots than the bigots thought. People who don’t think faith is defined by who you refuse to serve, or who you refuse to do business with. That discrimination is not a testament to faith.

Especially faith in a guy who hung out with prostitutes, tax-collectors, and other low-life’s – a guy like Jesus.

It is wrong, if it happened, for people to have harassed the owners into closing their doors. I have not seen any examples of threats, or of anything beyond criticism, which is certainly fair, given the owners are more than happy to criticize gay people.

What the owners have to realize is that they are not martyrs. LGBT people experience this level of persecution all the time. They are bullied, beat, harassed, and refused service. The persecutors are not the victims.

Still, the best response would have been to simply decline to give Memories Pizza their dollars. There are other places to eat.

An irate business owner could have even refused to serve the owners under the new law. A vendor could refuse to supply them with ingredients. Religious convictions, you see. All legal. All protected by the well-meaning fascists at the American Family Association who didn’t think very far ahead about some of the unintended the consequences of their new law.

Conservatives are in damage-control mode now. With the Arkansas bill’s unraveling and denunciations coming in from all across the country, with Mike Pence stammering that maybe some clarification is needed and the Religious Right and Republican presidential hopefuls all saying “no gays” signs equal God’s love, and Ann Coulter saying people like the O’Connor’s don’t exist, obfuscation and panicked lies seem to be the order of the day.

It’s the Iran-Contra hearings all over again. And like the Iran-Contra hearings, it’s entertaining, to a degree.

I don’t think it’s all intentional either, this confusion. It’s just that they are all so flabbergasted at the rejection of their message that they don’t know what to say, so they’re all saying different things.

Pence has even been Romney-ized by the experience, saying more than one different thing all by himself.

It’s not pretty. But neither was the law or its intended effects pretty. The lies that have followed have just made an ugly situation worse.

Maybe we should just tell the law’s defenders that when they have got their story figured out, to get back to us. In the meantime, we will keep our dollars away from Indiana. Oh, and use our own First Amendment rights to make our opinions of their bigotry – and lies – heard.

37 Replies to “Conservative Defense of Indiana’s Hateful RFRA is Awash in a Sea of Lies”

  1. Unfortunately, the Arkansas governor has positioned himself better than Pence. In Arkansas, if nothing is done by the legislature to change it, the bill becomes law even without the governor’s signature. I’m not sure if the Arkansas governor is more “human” than Pence, or just sneakier.

  2. Could this be the beginning of the end for the influence of the religious right on the Republican Party? One can only hope.

  3. Bill F, This isn’t just the end of goper/religious right influence, it is the beginning of the end of religion in politics nationwide. The new paradigm is… RELIGION = DISCRIMINATION. That’s what the over-reach in Indiana has created. Americans need and want simple answers to complex issues, and Pence and company just tarred and feathered religion and ran it out of “town”.

    Just remember the new mantra: RELIGION = DISCRIMINATION.

    There is no way the gopers/religious right will be able to nuance their way out of that simple message they have placed before the American people.

  4. I think the argument can be made that what Pence signed was Christian Sharia Law. Throw that back at ins-Hannity.

  5. According to the Democratic minority leader in Indiana, the Republicans voted down EVERY amendment offered to add non-discrimination language before the bill was passed and sent to Pence for signature. That tells me that DISCRIMINATION was the INTENT ALL ALONG of this terrible bill.
    I’ve also heard that the Arkansas bill is even worse than the Indiana bill.

  6. This time Republican politicians were caught with their hands in the till and couldn’t ‘hide’ their intent like they have easily in the past – like surpressing voting.

    Little by little Republicans have tried to take away our freedom of choice to give corps like Hobby Lobby theirs; I’m sure everyone found it hard to believe that Republican governors would use religion to discriminate (like the Germans in the 30s) and they almost did it. They did not expect the sheeple to notice. We have to take back ‘We the People’; the irony is that it wasn’t actually ‘we the people’ who focused on this inequity, it was corporations that made these politicians stop and modify their hateful stance [so $$$$ corps also trump religion].

  7. I just love how they throw “trick words” to their audience to get them to promote their propaganda. Things to scare their 80 yr old viewers like “sharia law”, “nuclear Iran”, “Saddams wmd’s”,”fema camps”, “death panels”. I know there’s a million more.

  8. The new paradigm is…
    RELIGION = DISCRIMINATION. That’s what the over-reach in Indiana has created. Americans need and want simple answers to complex issues

    Uh-huh…and criticizing and insulting 85% of the nations population who self-identify as either Catholic/Jew/Christian/ Muslim etc. is a sure-fire way to win them over to your side.

    Great idea…run with it.

  9. 100% of slave states supported slavery before the civil war and all 100% of those slavery supporters were wrong.

    Religion does equal discrimination, as it is designed for men to control everything, animals, environment, women. That’s wrong too.

    The emperor has no clothes.

    One child who spoke the truth against the 100% who would not dare speak against the powerful emperor.

    A long journey begins with the first step.

    Religion is a plight, a sickness where people can claim their invisible friend judges human behavior.

    God says it’s wrong, they say.

    Bull crap.

    Say it loud and often, “Religion equals discrimination”.

  10. Dinesh D’Souza – I thought that asshole was doing some time as a guest of the government, is he out already?

  11. Well, that didn’t take long:

    The political whiplash on the right will be most severe, especially with the teabaggers who defended the law.

    So now the pizza store will be forced into serving everyone. But they made enough from their Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs, so bigots can rest easy knowing their money was taken in a scam directed specifically at them. Hannity will have trouble spinning this as anything but a conservative rout.

  12. So the “fix” of #RFRA by Indiana’s GOP Congress, in other words, is repealing the law without appearing to do so. This discrimination law was NEVER only about gay people; they were the foil for outright discrimination in other areas; this was an ALEC supported law I’d bet.

  13. I’m not a lawyer so I have to ask … about the just released Indiana amendment … is it usual to state what the law doesn’t do rather than what it does do?

    The amendment states … “This chapter does not authorize …”. Isn’t that much less definite than, say, “This chapter prohibits …”? Why a negative instead of a positive? It seems there is wiggle room in the way it’s presently written.

  14. Say it loud and often, “Religion equals discrimination”.

    Go for it.

    But your strategy to combat bigotry and promote and increase protections for gays is as well-designed as a football bat.

  15. America encouraged these laws by not protecting women’s Constitutional rights to control their own bodies and eggs, fertilized or not. ‘Fetal rights’ laws are no different than anti-gay laws.

    Those ‘pro-life’ license plates are no different than ‘white only’ placards.

    The vicious Hyde amendment, ‘partial birth’ laws, clinic protests and cold-blooded murder are all unremarkable parts of daily American life. Because we allowed it.

    America sold women’s right to be free of religious dominion. Pandering to $$$$. Pandering to priests.

    Now, everyone is shocked, shocked that the religious hatemongers didn’t stop their assault on the Constitution with disenfranchising women.

    Has anyone noticed that Indiana has sentenced a woman to 20 years in a prison work camp for miscarrying? Didn’t think so.

    This is the America opponents of Roe v Wade demand. And we handed it to them. One law at a time.

  16. Those who support the law are probably ones who think it won’t affect them at all, as business as usual, and won’t get kicked out because they’re like the right kind of customer, but of course they would sing a different song if it did happened to them and they would probably think that it was unfair, because it’s always different when it happens to them.

    As for people who refuse to do business with Indiana, they’re “ironically” just following the law, refusing to do business with others that go against their beliefs, and Pence is discovering that life isn’t a one-way street, especially when it comes to a law like this.

  17. Only in private when he admits that his show is all a pack of lies. He’s “just an entertainer” of course.

  18. wow, robyn ryan. just wow. excellent response. i, for one, have noticed all those things. including the 20 year punishment for miscarriage. when will you announce your candidacy for elected office? if your statement here is any indication of your critical thinking skills and your stance on social issues, i would support you for election. where will your campaign office be? how can i help? how’s this for a campaign slogan: rockin robyn! thank you for an excellent post.

  19. This country does not need to worry about being attacked by ISIL and the like. We are being destroyed from the inside by Radical Christian Terrorists.

    NO government in religion.
    NO religion in government.

    Each and every one of our elected officials must know this and support this and keep this kind of Indiana style … excrement of the male bovine variety … from EVER again coming to a vote!

    Each and every declared or potential candidate for any elected office who declares support for this type of … excrement of the male bovine variety … is, by that very declaration, not qualified to hold public office – at any level.

  20. I don’t know if he is “out” or not but he is one stupid looking uglier than sin man. And then he opens his mouth…

  21. Go to Yelp and look at the comment section. The only hope for Memories Pizza is that there is enough bigots in the area to keep them afloat. I played a lot of music all across that area, and i believe there is enough to keep them in business, and yes, being on the road, you eat at small places like that. The Pizza was great, a little high, as I also ate in Papa John’s first store there in southern Indiana before he went national, and his pies were a lot better then, and he would come out and chat with band members, he said he was a fan and bought one of our Cassette tapes way back when.

  22. Somebody said, “religion = discrimination.” Well, so what. Every choice equals discrimination. Discrimination is a trait to be cultivated. Human beings who do not discriminate have no taste or education. The people who wrote on this thread all discriminated. Each of them evaluated various points of view, and then they approved one and rejected the other.
    Religious people do not pretend that they accept every view as equal. All views are not equal, as evidenced by the people who have written comments in this thread. Every one of them says that some views are good and others are bad.
    RFRA simply establishes that in a dispute between a prevailing government interest and any view that rejects the behavior mandated by the prevailing government interest, the courts will be open for discussion. If a person has a religious conviction about behavior, the solution least burdensome to conscience will prevail. Isn’t that fair to everyone? Don’t LGBTQ advocates have consciences?

  23. Katherine, I’m the one who started the religion = discrimination. You are right of course. We all discriminate. Every living thing survives on its ability to discriminate. But this isn’t philosophy 101 and the average American isn’t interested in the subtleties of that profundity. The common take on the word is negative intent, and THAT is what has come from this ridiculous law. It is exactly what most Americans will remember.

  24. Sneakier for sure, smarter maybe.
    You see, Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 101 has another bombshell that’s been ignored in all the very necessary brouhaha over the parts eviscerating local civil rights ordinances that were the only protections against discrimination LGBT Hoosiers had.
    It the removal of the requirement that daycare and schools had to conform to state health and safety laws and regulations. The same proponent lobbyists that are now griping about the loss of the license to hurt LGBT people had been introducing legislation to make church-run schools and daycare centers exempt from these vital state laws and regs. Now, not only church-run ones can claim religious-based exemptions, so can private businesses.

  25. Will the Republican Party now see the harm their association with religious political extremists is doing to them and disavow them? Depends on which Republican Party you’re talking about. In Indiana, the bulk of the Republicans have ties enough to their business roots that they have, for the moment, shown the HateMongering Three, the lobbyists who cooked up SB101, the door. But the Three have just trotted right over to Pence and now Jim Atterholt, the former Patriot Militia/TeaBagger state legislator now Pence’s right hand man, is saying the governor still might not sign the back-to-the-status-quo “fix”. What this says is that Pence is still either dumb enough not to have figured out that his mismanagement of this crisis has revealed him an incompetent governor and even less qualified to be president or he’s just confident that the base will see him as the best of the Righter-Than-Rand lot they really want. Isn’t Repug-watching dandy fun!

  26. Interesting.

    And just so I’m clear…

    you would describe the above proposed scheme to cultivate an equivalence between religion and discrimination – and to indiscriminately blanket millions upon millions of people with ties to religion with false accusations of bigotry as…..????

    I usually charge for my direction Alton.

    It was all quite rational advice and it was completely free.

    Indulge me.

  27. Marla, I live in one of the four cities that have installed anti-discrimination against LGBT people as a “protected class:” Indianapolis, South Bend (home of Notre Dame,) Bloomington (home of Indiana University) and Evansville.

    The vast majority of Indiana has NO protection for LGBT folks against discrimination. They can be fired, evicted and spat upon without consequences.

    The “fix” in the new law actually “fixed” nothing at all. To the rest of the country, keep up the boycott, please!

  28. Real Christian people don’t act like the phony Xtians we’re seeing now.

    Christians need to fix their own cult, just as real conservatives need to fix their own party by rejecting the crazies and showing them to door.

  29. James, you are correct. I’m a Hoosier, and have a very good friend who is our representative in Indianapolis (Gail Reicken – D,) so I’ve closely watched this entire debacle to unfold.

    The Republicans, unfortunately, hold a super-majority of seats in our legislature, and they don’t feel any inclination to listen to anyone else.

    I’m hoping that all fair-minded Hoosiers are as disgusted by this disaster as I am, and will get off their arses and vote these idiots out next year.

  30. Pattie, they didn’t “almost” do it. They DID do it!

    The new language mentions discrimination against gay folks using religion as a spiked club, but includes no one else.

    I know my state, and these “religious” baggers are still delighted that the can refuse birth control for women, etc.

    This isn’t over. Keep up the boycott until the Hoosier teabaggers get a clue. They’ll have to be forced to get off their discriminatory bandwagon.

  31. NO! They didn’t repeal this discriminatory law. They “added language” to it, which is useless, at best.

    The law still enables faux Xtians to use their “religious beliefs” to discriminate!

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