RFRA: Indiana Stampeded: Solid Law to Disaster

Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act before it was amended, which amendment was signed into law today by that state's governor, Mike Pence, was very solid, as far as secular laws can go. It rightly left room for religious conscientious-objectors to take their cases to the courts. The outcomes were not predetermined but would have been argued and decided hopefully on the merits of each case. I wrote about it here: "At Best, a Knee-Jerk, Superficial Analysis: 'Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act Allows Private Businesses to Discriminate Against Employees Based on Sexual Orientation,' by Garrett Epps — Atlantic Mobile."

Tom1

Tom Usher

If you bother to read that, you will see a hypothetical case that explains why it has been a terrible mistake for Indiana's political, rudderless leadership to have allowed itself to be deluged into a very poorly thought-out and crafted law.

I hunted for the actual new (amended) text. Indiana went from having the best law on the subject in the nation to the worst:

SECTION 1. IC 34-13-9-0.7 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 0.7. This chapter does not:

(1) authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service;

(2) establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal by a provider to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service; or

(3) negate any rights available under the Constitution of the State of Indiana.

SECTION 2. IC 34-13-9-7.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 7.5. As used in this chapter, "provider" means one (1) or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, limited liability companies, corporations, and other organized groups of persons. The term does not include:

(1) A church or other nonprofit religious organization or society, including an affiliated school, that is exempt from federal income taxation under 26 U.S.C. 501(a), as amended (excluding any activity that generates unrelated business taxable income (as defined in 26 U.S.C. 512, as amended)).

(2) A rabbi, priest, preacher, minister, pastor, or designee of a church or other nonprofit religious organization or society when the individual is engaged in a religious or affiliated educational function of the church or other nonprofit religious organization or society.

That language now says that the hypothetical professional photographer in my earlier post would have no option but to photograph the animal sacrifices I discussed. It wouldn't matter whether that photographer's religion is in direct opposition to such religious animal-sacrifices or not. The photographer, under the Indiana RFRA (if it is even constitutional under Indiana's Constitution, which I think it is not), would have no defense including concerning potential criminal prosecution. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) would rule on it and whether Indiana would step up at that time to nullify a bad decision by that Court.

This issue was, and remains, a question concerning the SCOTUS and nullification (not an endorsement of all things Tom Woods) if necessary but won't work right now in Indiana in any case due to the currently extremely weak political leadership in the legislature and governor's office.

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act is clearly overreach and plainly religious persecution (unreasonable, not based upon a compelling reason where there is no easier remedy; it's not as if homosexuals lack goods, services, housing, accommodations, and the like, from pro-homosexuality providers in Indiana, not that, that should be the litmus test regardless).

The law is based upon homosexual fascism. It is evil. It is a direct assault on the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution, which Amendment puts religion first among civil liberties.

The supposed right of men to sodomize each other has been elevated above express religious rights to even be considered in the courts of Indiana.

It's an unmitigated disaster.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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