Rejecting RFRA


Today I've seen lots of folks suggesting that RFRA is unimportant because there are so many other laws like it. I reject that argument for a few reasons.


As usual, application is what matters most about the law. How will laws be used in our lives?


Consider that the 14th amendment was originally intended to provide former slaves with full citizenship. It's now applied in dozens of different ways to ensure "the equal protection of the laws" regardless of condition. This expansion of original intent happens all the time.


A big part of what scares me about RFRA can be found in the NUVO article below. We already know how this law is intended to be applied. There is no mystery about it. It is clear that the driving force behind this law is exactly what everyone has said: Christian businesses will now have legal protections to allow them to choose which people can use their publicly offered services.  It is, at best, disingenuous for Governor Pence to pretend that there are no possibilities for bigotry associated with this law. Advance America specifically advocated for RFRA to be used in this fashion.


The other scary part is that Governor Pence was perfectly aware of the backlash that would accompany his signature and signed it anyway. He's made a clear choice  indicating where his deepest priorities lie and they are not to be found in the 'good for business' mantra he's claimed in the past. Attempting to use RFRA to attack ObamaCare in his public statement indicates that today's signing was, at its core, a calculated political strategy.


My hope is that Hoosiers recognize that we can make signing RFRA a losing political strategy. We can do that with our votes, petitions, voices, phone calls and dollars. Today, Indiana made a deeply retrograde move but it doesn't have to be a permanent step back. Indeed, I am confident that it won't be.


America is a vastly different place than it was 20 years ago, as is Indiana itself. More of us than ever recognize the need for the 14th Amendment's great concept of "equal justice for all". Social justice is a broader concern than ever.


Great gains have been made recently and will continue to be made as long as they are demanded by those of us who emphasize our shared humanity over the divisive politics of fearful hatred. History makes it clear that love wins in the end. This is so because we, the people, will eventually choose love.


Let us make that kind of history repeat itself.  Here, in Indiana. Soon. Let love win.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s