Thursday, April 2, 2015

Indiana

President Obama just announced the framework of a multi-nation, not-yet-completed treaty with Iran. Because the proposed treaty could either prevent or guarantee nuclear war, it sure seems like I should be blogging about it if I am going to blog about a current event.

However, there is no way I could do a thorough enough job researching the proposed treaty, analyzing it, and thinking about its myriad possible outcomes to do it justice on the same day it is announced. Plus, the treaty is not fully formed and remains months away from being finalized. Therefore, tonight I am going to finish and publish what I started writing last night, which happens to be a blog post about another current event that has dominated the air waves for the past several days.

The current event is the Hoosier State's recently enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). More specifically, it is the response to the RFRA, about which I say this: The reaction of pop culture and the Left has been filled with nonsense, falsehood, intolerance, and idiocy.

Liberty is America's founding principle. Boil the essence of liberty down to one sentence, and it is this: Nobody can be forced to engage in commerce or personal interaction against his will. This is common sense and should be obvious to every person with an IQ higher than an amoeba's. All Indiana's RFRA does is reaffirm this inarguable essence of liberty, yet it is being portrayed as the gateway through which tyranny akin to Jim Crow will be permitted to afflict our land. This portrayal is bullshit.

Freedom of association is integral to any free nation, for without it there is no freedom. Freedom of association means that I can choose to eat dinner with whomever I want assuming he agrees to eat dinner with me; that I was able to marry Erika because she wanted to marry me; that I can choose which company to work for assuming it agrees to hire me because I meet its criteria; that I was able to matriculate at Auburn University because it agreed that my SAT scores and high school GPA met its standards; and so on and so forth.

The above interactions are proper, just, and free, precisely because all parties enter them voluntarily. If you take away their voluntariness and make them compulsory, you render the interactions improper, unjust, and despotic. To say that Person A must do whatever Person B requests does not liberate Person B -- it enslaves Person A. Also, it turns the whole notion of rights upside down by forcing Person A to satisfy Person B's requests without any regard to what those requests impose on Person A.

Indiana's RFRA is being portrayed as something that gives homophobic troglodytes a license to push homosexuals to the back, and out the back, of the socially acceptable bus. But that's not true. The RFRA merely confirms that in the event a business (read: business owner) is sued for any kind of discrimination, one of the things he may cite when defending himself is that it would have violated his religion to engage in whatever it was he declined to engage. But it would still be up to the jury or court, on a case by case basis, to decide if that defense is sufficient to find him innocent.

Since 20 other states plus the federal government have RFRA's almost identical to Indiana's, it's worth noting that there has not been any outbreak of American companies refusing goods and services to gay Americans and justifying it by referencing their religious sensibilities. The foundation on which Indiana's RFRA is built is not some weird, illiberal, backwater concept. It comes directly from the First Amendment, which liberals claim to hold dear. In its entirety, the First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (italics mine)

If liberals genuinely disagree with Indiana's RFRA, then they genuinely disagree with their allegedly cherished First Amendment. If they really want to remove the legal imprimatur from Indiana's RFRA, they need to start agitating to repeal the First Amendment -- and if they succeed in getting it repealed, they better not complain when they themselves are subsequently prevented from speaking their minds, or when the government subsequently passes laws mandating that only certain kinds of stories may be printed in newspapers.

After all, if it's okay to force a fundamentalist Baptist baker who opposes gay marriage to accommodate a customer by baking a wedding cake that says "Congratulations on your nuptials, Mark and Ted," then it's also okay to force a gay activist baker to accommodate a customer by baking a cake that has this quote from the Bible: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable (Leviticus 20:13, NIV)."

By the logic of pop culture and the Left, it must also be okay to force a Muslim baker to accommodate a customer by baking a gay wedding cake -- or by baking a cake that has an image of Mohammed on it, never mind that his religion says creating such an image is a crime punishable by death. In Leftist Land, one must furnish a customer with whatever the customer wants.

So, it must be okay to force a black baker to bake a wedding cake for a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, should a Grand Wizard come into his bakery and place an order, should it not?

It must be okay to force an anti-gun vegetarian caterer to cook an all-beef buffet for a gun-rights fundraiser.

It must be okay to force a sign maker whose wife was killed on 9/11 to make a banner heralding the opening of a Sharia mosque.

It must be okay to force a gay commercial artist to paint a billboard for Westboro Baptist Church.

It must be okay to force a Hindu commercial artist to paint a Christian church mural declaring "Those who do not accept Jesus will spend eternity in Hell." After all, if the church's pastor asks him to do so, the pastor is a customer, and how dare the Hindu commercial artist "discriminate" against him.

And by the way, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Hollywood classic Birth of a Nation, which introduced so many groundbreaking film techniques that it is considered one of the most influential movies of all time. It was also deplorably racist and openly glorified the KKK... So I ask: If a movie buff wants to sponsor a centennial screening of Birth of a Nation, in recognition of its technological contributions to film-making, is it okay for him to force the black owner of his town's independent theater to do the screening?... After all, he approached the theater owner as a customer in a business transaction, and would never even think of encouraging anyone to harm the theater owner; and the theater owner would profit from movie historians and sociology students patronizing his business to take advantage of a rare opportunity to see a controversial but influential film; so how dare the theater owner "impose his values" on the customer by denying the request?

Do I really need to go on? Why is there even any controversy over Indiana's law? It protects freedom of association and by doing so it upholds a core American principle. It encourages tolerance, not intolerance, because it does not allow one person to compel another to do something he objects to. Why the outrage?

Oh, that's right: Indiana is a red state and liberals love to say that red states are filled with oppressive bigots eager to run roughshod over "people who are not like them."

So, the Left has collectively chosen to lie about Indiana's RFRA because that allows them to lie about the general character of Indiana's citizens. This deception is detestable, not only because it implicitly slanders the 6.6 million people who call Indiana home but because it intentionally attacks the core human values of tolerance, individual liberty, and individual conscience. In other words, it intentionally attacks the very values that liberals profess to uphold.

If liberals really believed everything they said, attacking Indiana over its RFRA would trouble them. That they are attacking it so ruthlessly proves, yet again, what many of us have long known: That in general, liberals only mean what they say when they say they hate conservatives.

Like I already mentioned, 20 states other than Indiana have RFRA's almost identical to Indiana's, and so does the federal government. What I did not already mention is that those other states are not all, shall we say, of the red variety. They include such strongholds of right-wing extremism as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, which should make it odd that Connecticut's governor has responded to Indiana's law by banning state-sanctioned travel to Indiana. But knowing the Left, it's not odd, because insincere poppycock is its stock in trade.

Oh, and back when Illinois passed its RFRA in 1998, one of the state senators who voted for it was a guy named Barack Obama.

About the federal government's RFRA: It was passed by a Democrat-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate, then signed into law by a Democrat president named Bill Clinton, whose wife is considered the front-runner to become president less than two years from now... And, it was/is so uncontroversial, non-threatening, and non-partisan that it passed the Senate by a vote of 97-3... And among the three who voted against it was Republican Jesse Helms, who liberals spent the first half of my life decrying as the personification of Lucifer himself. Since they accused Helms of being a bigot, does that mean those who now oppose Indiana's law are bigots?

Among the shrillest critics of Indiana's law is Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook is liberal, as is the norm for Apple executives and legions of Apple customers. Writing in the Washington Post about Indiana's RFRA, he called it "dangerous" and declared that he is "standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation wherever it emerges." Here's the problem I have: Apple does tons of business in Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of which put people to death for being homosexual, yet Cook has never penned an op-ed or staged a news conference to declare that he is opposed to those nations' laws.

In fact, Apple has many more stores in Iran's capital city than it does in the entire state of Indiana, yet Tim Cook will not bring himself to criticize Iran's death to gays policy even though he happily criticizes Indiana's policy of "can't be forced to bake a gay wedding cake if you don't want to." And, Tim Cook is gay!

The bottom line is that Indiana is right -- and its critics are wrong at best, devious at worst. When pop culture and the Left tell you to oppose something, you can bet your bottom dollar that what you should really do is support it.

The nutty, contrived brouhaha over Indiana's RFRA is a perfect illustration of the fact that pop culture is fueled by ignorance and the Left is full of deceivers.

1 comment:

James Thomas said...

In all honesty, I had an issue with it until I did a little digging. Based on the letter of the law your points are valid. I especially liked your array of examples!

To the concern of your point about the court hearing each situation on a case by case basis, that's where I believe the left gets concerned. And we all know, when one of the 2 sides gets their panties in a bunch, fear is the first tactic utilized.

Let me first state I'm a liberal. I wouldn't consider myself a radical and would argue some liberals would suggest I'm the second coming of Ben Carson merely because of the color of my skin. That was my clever way of bringing up I'm also black and from the DMV.

I worry this opportunity could be used as it was applied by a BBQ owner in SC in the late 60's when his religion wouldn't allow him to serve blacks at his restaurant. Then I worry about the jury of my peers hearing my case and the new norm it could create.

I will give pop culture this much, it sees all people the same and doesn't appear to have the same hang ups those born prior to the Nixon days. As my son reminds me, old people focus on what's different, young people look for common ground.

I'm very open to allowing a case by case basis to hear why a person is refused service or goods. But I hope there's an appreciation for why historically I worry this approach is highly probable for failure. But unlike the far right conservatives, I will openly tell you I don't have a better vetted solution at the time of this post. Therefore my critiques are limited until I have a better solution.

BTW, the Connecticut jab was nice! When I found that out I immediately thought that's gonna come back and bite him in the ass!