Indiana Governor Calls For Changes To State’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

The devil is in the details of what the legislature passes, but Indiana's Governor has essentially conceded defeat in the battle over his state's controversial new "religious freedom" law.

Mike Pence

In the week since I first wrote about it, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has become something of a political firestorm to say the very least. Gay rights organizations and other groups that have been involved in the fight for marriage equality have argued from the beginning that the law was intended, at least in part, to provide the coverage of “religious freedom” for business owners who wanted to dicriminate against gays and lesbians, with the most prominent examples cited being vendors refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings. Once this perception of the bill took hold, the reaction across the country was swift and severe. In addition to setting off a debate about the relationship between religious liberty and pluralism, the bill also led to a huge amount of criticism from the business community and threats of boycotts against the entire State of Indiana unless something was done about the bill. Apple’s Tim Cook, the nation’s most prominent gay business leader, penned an Op-Ed denouncing the bill and calling on Indiana legislators to change the bill to address the concerns of the public. Businesses and other groups announced plans to cancel conventions in Indiana, and even businesses located in the state such as Angie’s List announced that they would hold off on expansion plans in the wake of the new law. With Indianapolis set to host the Final Four this weekend, the NCAA issued a statement stating that the law went against the organizations values, and the defenders of the law such as Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence seemed to be flummoxed by the swiftness of the negative reaction to the law in such as short period of time.

Today, in what can only be seen as a retreat and an effort to address the complaints that have been leveled against the law, Pence called on the legislature to immediately amend the law to make it clear that it would not apply in cases involving discrimination:

Facing a national uproar over a religious freedom law, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said Tuesday that he wanted the measure changed by week’s end, even as he stepped up a vigorous defense of the law, rejecting claims that it would allow business to deny services to gays and lesbians.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone,” Mr. Pence, a Republican, said at a news conference in Indianapolis.

He acknowledged that the law, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, had become a threat to the state’s reputation and economy, with companies and organizations signaling that they would avoid Indiana in response to it. Mr. Pence said he had been on the phone with business leaders from around the country, adding, “We want to make it clear that Indiana’s open for business.”

But the governor, clearly exasperated and sighing audibly in response to questions, seemed concerned mostly with defending the law and the intent behind it, saying, “We’ve got a perception problem,” not one of substance. He referred to “gross mischaracterizations,” “reckless reporting by some in the media,” “completely false and baseless” accounts of the law, and “the smear that’s been leveled against this law and against the people of Indiana.”

“If this law had been about discrimination, I would have vetoed it,” he said. “I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the General Assembly to create a license to discriminate, or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state, and that was not my intent, but I appreciate that that’s become the perception.”

Like the Republican legislative leaders who said on Monday that they intended to clarify the law, the governor said he could not say what form that clarification might take. “The language is still being worked out,” he said.

The law has set off a firestorm, with both critics and some supporters saying it would allow businesses to deny service to lesbian and gay customers if doing so would offend their religious beliefs. Businesses, organizations, politicians and many celebrities have spoken out against the law, some of them canceling events in the state.

Fellow Republicans have said the governor added fuel to the fire on Sunday, when he did not directly answer some questions about the law in an interview on the ABC program “This Week,” in particular a question about whether a florist could deny service to a gay couple on religious grounds.

“I could have handled that better,” he said Tuesday. “But going into that interview this weekend, I was just determined to set the record straight.”

Asked again about the hypothetical florist, Mr. Pence said, “This law does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and lesbian couples.”

“I believe in my heart of hearts that no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are or who they love,” he added. But at the news conference, and earlier Tuesday in an interview on Fox News, he did not say whether he thought such discrimination would be, or should be, legal under any state law.

During his press conference, Pence continued to try to take the position that the law was defensible and that it was not intended to sanction discrimination. However, the fact that he is endorsing efforts that are already underway among the Republican leaders in the state legislature to “fix” the law in some way seems to be an admission on his part that, at the very least, the state has lost the public relations battle over the law and that not addressing the concerns that have been expressed by business owners and sports organizations like the NCAA would only serve to hurt Indiana economically going forward. On some level, of course, Pence is right that the law itself is about more than just objections to same-sex marriage and the question of whether or not vendors who object to such unions should be able to cite their religious faith as justification for not providing services for such ceremonies. RFRA laws such as the one that became law in Indiana have been around for two decades now, and they are just as likely to be used over mundane issues such as zoning and land use issues impacting property owned by a church or other religious institution as they are to be used in a hot button situation such as this. At the same time, though, it is rather obvious that the Indiana RFRA, as well as similar laws now pending in the legislatures of Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia, was being advanced at this time largely in reaction to the same-sex marriage debate. In January, for example, The New York Times noted that legislation such as this had become a priority for socially conservative Republicans across the nation in the months since the floodgates were opened in the marriage equality wars by the Supreme Court’s refusal to dear the appeals of appellate court decisions striking down state laws banning same-sex marriage across the country. This motivation for the legislation seems to be even more apparent given that, when asked last week to name examples of cases that made the law necessary, Governor Pence could not come up with a single example. Additionally, as Zack Ford notes, the backers of the Indiana law made it pretty clear that it was the issue of allowing “religious” business owners to refrain from providing services to same-sex weddings that motivated them bringing the law forward to begin with. Given all of this, and given the fact that national attention is focused on this issue as we await the outcome of the cases now pending before the Supreme Court, the outcry should not have really come as much of a surprise  to Pence or anyone else in Indiana.

It’s still rather unclear just what form the “fix” to Indiana’s RFRA will take. One Republican state legislator who was interview on MSNBC this morning suggested that it could end up being as simple as a single sentence added to the law that states that the law cannot be used as a defense to a claim of discrimination by a business that holds itself out to the general public. One problem with this suggestion is that, other than a municipal ordinance in the city of Indianapolis, there does not seem to be any law in Indiana at either the state or local level that makes it illegal for business owners to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Given that, it’s unclear whether a gay or lesbian couple who was turned down by a business owner would have a cause of action under the law to begin with. Others have suggested that the way to fix the law is to pass a law making it clear that sexual orientation is a protected class under the civil rights laws in Indiana, but that seems like it would be a bit of a long shot. Obviously, the devil will be in the details but with the firestorm unlikely to calm down any time soon unless something is done, and given the fact that the Final Four is coming up this weekend and the state would obviously rather that this law not be the focus of media attention between now and Monday, it seems fairly clear that something will be done and that the backers of the bill are conceding some measure of defeat in the public relations war over a law that doesn’t really seem to be necessary to begin with.

Update: This post was updated to reflect the fact that there is a law panning discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation on the books in the City of Indianapolis. This appears to be the only such law in the state, though.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    So much for Mike Pence’s national political aspirations. All an opponent has to do is run highlights of that disastrous interview by Stephanopoulos. Today’s ridiculous exercise in self-pity and dishonesty just cemented it. What a pitiful display.

    All in all a useful reminder to politicians that when you let the Tea Party types set the agenda you end up with Tim Cook smacking you around in public.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    For a bunch of so-called conservatives they’re remarkably sanguine in this attempt to rip up 500 years of Public Accommodation law.

    It’s been fun watching the handwringing over at TAC as well. Of course, all of the bloggers over there invariably interpret this as Evil-Secularist-Against-Poor-Picked-Upon-Religious-Believers as opposed to what’s really going on, which is an attempt by Indiana to use “religious freedom!” as a way of getting around public accommodation law.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. I guess one good thing about this hooraw will have come about: Pence’s presidential ambitions are toast.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Pence is an idiot….perhaps the dumbest guy in a Party full of Stupid.
    But ultimately this is the result of the completely bogus decision in Hobby Lobby…which legalized discrimination, among a host of other evils. If you want to do anything…just claim religious freedom. It doesn’t matter that cake bakers will bake cakes for divorced people or adulterers or any other sinners…scream religious freedom and they are free to discriminate against the gays or single women. Pence walking back this travesty means nothing…it’s a blip in the trend line. The SCOTUS set this all up to play out just the way the Tea Baggers want it to.

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    Once this perception of the bill took hold, the reaction across the country was swift and severe.

    Shouldn’t that read “Once this perception reality of the bill took hold, the reaction across the country was swift and severe”….?

  6. DrDaveT says:

    So I went back and re-read the Indiana law to see what’s left if you remove discrimination.

    Here’s the meat of the law:

    Sec. 8. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability. (b) A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    Sections 3 through 7 provide definitions of “governmental entity”, “exercise of religion”, “Establishment clause”, “demonstrates”, “granting”, and “person”. Nowhere in the text of the bill is there any definition of the key term burden — so the thing that is to be prohibited is not, in fact, defined. Sweet.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @Rafer Janders: Well, it is a bit of a perception, because not even the lawyers could figure out if the law meant people could discriminate against gays or not.

    When you have that sort of ambiguity, it’s a bad law to pass, regardless of any discriminatory effects.

  8. James P says:

    As a right wing Christian conservative I am highly disappointed in Pence. I thought he had more of a backbone.

    The guy is capitulating to liberals rather than fighting. Stick a fork in him because his national prospects are O-V-E-R. We want someone who will bring the fight to the liberals and that obviously is not Pence.

    Scott Walker was willing to bring the fight tot he libs – Pence surrendered the first time he felt any heat.

    Will Illinois amend its RFRA statute (the one state senator BH Obama voted for) to clarify its purpose? Why does Indiana? Pence is weak and he is not up for the fight. Conservatives will never support him. We want someone who will fight for us – not someone who wants to capitulate to liberals.

  9. the Q says:

    What about the other 20 some odd states with similar laws? Hopefully this is the domino which begats focus on and the repeal of those other laws.

    Pence is a dipschitt of the highest order. He butchered his response because he knows deep down EXACTLY what the intentions of the bill are and he couldn’t force his lips to utter the truth since secretly he sides with these religious loons who voted for him.

  10. Modulo Myself says:

    One lesson of this story is that Indianapolis is now too liberal and freaky for traditional conservatives. When they lose Milwaukee, Bismark, and Omaha, what will they have–Wichita? Dallas? Colorado Springs?

  11. the Q says:

    “Pence is weak and he is not up for the fight. Conservatives will never support him”

    We need more wingnuts like Pence in the GOP, thus ensuring they will never win the Presidency for the next 20 years.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:
    The RFRA statute applies only to Government…not private entities.
    I’m not sure why you think you should be able to impose your superstitious dogma on me…but considering how you lie about your credentials…I suppose it makes sense.

  13. DrDaveT says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    When they lose Milwaukee, Bismark, and Omaha, what will they have–Wichita? Dallas? Colorado Springs?

    You keep naming cities. They won’t have any cities — they’ll have the spaces in-between them.

  14. KM says:

    something will be done and that the backers of the bill are conceding some measure of defeat in the public relations war over a law that doesn’t really seem to be necessary to begin with.

    Just to be clear: their precious morals are so vitally important to their practicing religious way of life they needed them protected by a (poorly) written law….. but they’re willing to negotiate on them now that people are seeing them in a bad light, socially ostracizing them and threatening to take those precious Benjamins away. Real show of faith there, guys. Way stand firm for Jesus until it compromises your financial ability to buy worldly crap! From the Man Himself:

    “Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” Matthew 13:18-22

    Hayseeds, in more ways then one…..

  15. EddieInCA says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Reading Dreher’s freakout has been… um…. interesting.

    So let me get the Conservatives take on this….

    Conservative legislature creates bill with language that COULD allow discrimination.
    People opposed to said bill create huge public backlash.
    Conservatives (looking at you, Mr. Dreher and Douthat), blame liberals for creating a toxic environment and being unfair to Conservatives.
    Public weighs in against Conservative position.
    Conservatives say liberals (and “the left”) are persecuting Christians.

    Here’s a clue. If Conservatives hadn’t passed a flawed bill, or had they added the protections for LGBT, there would be no issue.

    Pence was a moron as a Representative. He’s still a moron as a Governor.

    Epistemic Closure – Exhibit A: Pence, and the rest of the Indiana GOP were, SHOCKED, like Romney was shocked in 2012 after the election, that they were on the wrong side of this issue. If you spend all your time ignoring the reality-based world, listening to Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity, and Beck, while ignoring the Washington Post, NY Times, ABC, CBS, and NBC, and ignoring your OWN CONSITUENTS – who told you this was a bad law – you’re going to be shocked quite a bit when you realize your views differ from the overwhelming majority of US citizens.

  16. EddieInCA says:

    @DrDaveT:

    They already lost Dallas. Dallas and Austin are reliably Blue in a State of Red. I think San Antonio will soon be there as well.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: I think what really bewilders them is they’re getting so much attacked by business as well. They thought they could just make some reassuring noises (“oh no, we never intended to discriminate”) and the whole thing would blow over.

    Can’t continue to put the Business side of the GOP in the same pocket as the SoCons, guys!

  18. Modulo Myself says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I think you can shorten that to the following–

    Freedom means that the law allows me to discriminate.
    Freedom means that you can’t notice this or attempt to sway public opinion or object.
    Why don’t you love freedom? What else are you going to take away from me?

  19. grumpy realist says:

    And Pence is either the most clueless governor out there or a rabble-rousing oik.

  20. James P says:

    @EddieInCA: We did not LOSE Austin – it’s always been liberal – Travis County is a liberal cesspool. The same applies to San Antonio – all of Bexar is blue.

    The city of Dallas is liberal as well. However the DFW Metroplex as a whole is still solidly red and will continue to be for a long time.

    The city of Houston is liberal (it elected Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, and a homosexual mayor) but Harris County is red. Look at Sugarland and Katy — those are some of the reddest areas of the country.

    Texas is a very large state. It clearly has blue enclaves, but the state as a whole is solidly red.

  21. Modulo Myself says:

    @grumpy realist: @EddieInCA:

    Also, I love how Dreher keeps going on about how all the law does is give people their day in court. As if the business owners who were sued were not given their day in court. I think it’s a plain fact that segregation and injustice runs deep and people like Dreher NEED it in their lives. They can’t live otherwise.

  22. Slugger says:

    What problems was this bill supposed to solve? I don’t recall hearing about someone forcing unwanted things on people in Kokomo. Were the Amish being forced to electrify their homes? I have been thinking of starting a business that sells buttons that say “I only like straight People.”

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Modulo Myself: They’ll always have Amarillo.

  24. James Pearce says:

    @James P:

    As a right wing Christian conservative I am highly disappointed in Pence. I thought he had more of a backbone.

    Oh, he had plenty of backbone….Just no tact.

    I bet you never bought that “it’s not discriminatory” angle, did ya?

  25. James P says:

    The KKK offends me. I find their values obnoxious and offensive.

    Let’s say I own a banquet hall. Should I be forced to rent it to them and cater one of their white power rallies?

    Should I be able to tell them to go eff themselves and tell them that I will not do business with them because I find their values and beliefs odious?

    As a Christian, I find homosexual marriage similarly odious. It offends my religious beliefs.

    I should no more be required to photograph or bake a cake for a homosexual wedding than I should be forced to lease my banquet hall to the KKK for a white power rally.

  26. James P says:

    @James Pearce:

    I bet you never bought that “it’s not discriminatory” angle, did ya?

    It most certainly is discriminatory.

    Discrimination on the basis of race is odious. Discrimination on the basis of behavior is perfectly acceptable. That’s why pedophilia is illegal.

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @Slugger: That’s the other thing–when requested to state one case in Indiana of what this law was supposed to protect from, Pence said bupkis.

  28. Facebones says:

    @grumpy realist: Why is it either/or? Both seem appropriate.

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Remember folks, “it” is persona non grata. We should not respond to its noise pollution in any way other than to downvote it.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Identical to their response to voter suppression laws. “Conservatives” apparently love passing legislation to deal with non-existent problems, they just can’t come to grips with actual problems.

  31. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    It most certainly is discriminatory.
    Discrimination on the basis of race is odious. Discrimination on the basis of behavior is perfectly acceptable. That’s why pedophilia is illegal.

    Basis of behavior? A gay couple (I suppose you’d have to “ID” them to find out) wants to have dinner at a restaurant and it’s okay for the owner, on the basis of their “behavior” to decline service to them?

    Pedophilia? Would it be permissible for a restaurant to decline service to Catholic priests because the owner is appalled by the Catholic Church and its attendant molestation scandal?

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @DrDaveT:

    The important part of this statute – the part which differentiates it from the federal RFRA and which makes me much, much worse, is Section 9:


    Sec. 9. A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding. If the relevant governmental entity is not a party to the proceeding, the governmental entity has an unconditional right to intervene in order to respond to the person’s invocation of this chapter.

    Indiana just declared open season for any individual in the state to assert religious belief as a defense to violating an amazingly broad swath of law. Public accommodations laws just went out the window in Indiana.

  33. Apple’s Tim Cook, the nation’s most prominent gay business leader, penned an Op-Ed denouncing the bill and calling on Indiana legislators to change the bill to address the concerns of the public.

    I’d just like to point out Apple’s South Asia headquarters continues to be located in Singapore, where homosexuality is a felony punishable by up to two years imprisonment.

    But Apple sincerely cares about this issue and is totally not just trying to cynically exploit their customer’s current cause of the week purely for PR reasons.

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    See above. Please do not acknowledge “it” in any capacity. That only encourages it to remain.

  35. James P says:

    @al-Ameda:

    A gay couple (I suppose you’d have to “ID” them to find out)

    If they are attempting to “marry” then I think it is fair to say that they are identifying themselves as gay.

    If I were a bakery owner why would gays even want to buy a cake from me? I don’t want their business – why would they want to give it to me?

    Let the market decide.

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    377a is sporadically enforced, which is to say virtually never. What prosecutions do result tend to stem from public sexual conduct (bathroom stalls, etc.). The last prosecution under the chapter was in 2010, and even then they reduced the charges.

    That doesn’t excuse its existence, of course, but I think perhaps Apple isn’t as vocal about it as it otherwise might be because there isn’t a great deal of public support for guys getting their rocks off in a public bathroom.

  37. James P says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Tim Cook is a first class hypocrite. He is opening Apple stores in Saudi Arabia.

    In Saudi Arabia they behead gays. Christian conservatives in the US find that appalling. We only want to deny them the right to marry.

    Why will Cook do business with a country that executes gays but is offended by Indiana’s law. Could it be that he is a first class hypocrite with an agenda?

  38. James Pearce says:

    @James P:

    Discrimination on the basis of behavior is perfectly acceptable.

    Being gay isn’t a “behavior.”

    How old are you?

  39. sam says:

    @James P:

    Let me do a bit of rewriting (it’s based on history):

    As a White Christian, I find interracial marriage similarly odious. It offends my religious beliefs.

    I should no more be required to photograph or bake a cake for an interracial wedding than I should be forced to lease my banquet hall to the NAACP for a black political power rally.

    For the historical accuracy part, see When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia

    Now, I guess the question for you is, granting the sexual orientation differs from skin color, in what way does that difference militate against extending open accomodation protections to gay folks? The easy answer would be, Well, the protections ought not to be extended to black folks, either. But nobody, or almost nobody, believes that anymore. Black folks pay taxes that support the infrastructure (police, firefighters, roads, etc.) that allow the businesses to exist. Simple fairness dictates that such folks be availed of the services they — through their taxes — enable and protect. Why ought not the same logic apply to gay folks?

  40. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: When you reference voter suppression I assume you are referring to voter ID laws. Requiring someone to have an ID proving that they are who they claim to be is not suppression.

    The only people it impacts are illegal aliens, fraudsters, and the deceased (all large Democrat constituencies).

    Yes, I absolutely do want to suppress the votes of illegal aliens – that’s why I support voter ID.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Even I oppose screwing in bathrooms. Of course I’d impose the death penalty for failure-to-flush, so maybe I just have bathroom issues.

  42. EddieInCA says:

    @James P:

    James P –

    Wasn’t that long ago that California was reliably red.

    Demographics are working against you son. Florida and New Mexico and Colorado have already turned Blue for Presidential Elections, so has North Carolina. Georgia is probably next.

    As Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston keep growing, the state will turn Blue. It’s just a matter of time. For examples, see Pennsylvania, and Ohio. As the cities get larger, the rural areas lose their advantage. Do you think College Station is going to stay red? Waco? Not likely. Not with college students.

    Texas has 30M people.

    Of those 30M, 6.2M are in the Houston Metroplex, 6.8 are in the Dallax Metroplex, 1,9M in San Antonio, and 1.4M in Austin. That means 16.3 million of the 30M live in the four urban centers of Texas. Just a matter of time before those become 60/40 blue cities. That’s the trend. It’s just a matter of time.

    So enjoy red Texas while you can. It’s days are coming to an end. My guess, based on trends is that it’s a battleground by 2028 and solidly blue by 2036.

  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    GD people – it is a f*cking troll. It is not here to engage in honest discussion. It is here to inflame and to get a rise out of you. For the love of G-d stop responding to it.

  44. Modulo Myself says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m sure Tim Cook cares about it, since he’s gay. I’m not sure how exactly the entity known as Apple possesses consciousness, aside from being given it by the US Supreme Court.But I’m willing to bet Tim Cook rationalizes the whole thing behind a veil of money and markets, like the rest of us who buy their sweatshop-built products.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    College students are a major target of Republican voter suppression laws. They’re not just racist and anti-immigrant. They hate the youth too.

  46. James P says:

    @sam:

    Now, I guess the question for you is, granting the sexual orientation differs from skin color,

    Because one is a behavior and the other is not. I also support discrimination against pedophiles because their behavior is aberrant. I support discriminating against the KKK because their belief system is odious.

    You can try to play the race card against me all you want – it won’t work.

    I did not say I find interracial marriage odious – you did. You aren’t speaking for me with those words – are you speaking for yourself?

    And no, I would not lease my banquet hall to the Black Panthers for a black power rally any more than I would lease it to the KKK for a white power rally. I also would not lease it for a gay wedding, a NARAL meeting and I would not lease it to a Democrat Town Committee.

  47. David M says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And Pence is either the most clueless governor out there or a rabble-rousing oik.

    Mike Pence has been an industrial grade moron for quite some time now.

  48. @Modulo Myself:

    But I’m willing to bet Tim Cook rationalizes the whole thing behind a veil of money and markets, like the rest of us who buy their sweatshop-built products.

    Which is the problem. His criticism of Indiana isn’t sincere, it’s all about signalling their customers so they can make more money. If he thought there was more money to be made defending Indiana, that’s what his op ed would have done.

  49. Scott says:

    @James P:

    Let’s say I own a banquet hall. Should I be forced to rent it to them and cater one of their white power rallies?

    Actually, yes. If their white power rallies are legal and you are in the business of facility rental, then you should not be able to discriminate.

  50. EddieInCA says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yep. But at some point, they find out that even if they cut out the youth, the browns, the yellows, the old, the infirm, they STILL won’t have enough votes.

    That’s the sad part.

    The ideas are no longer vailid. The GOP – and Conservatives – are STILL playing with the playbook from 1980 and Reagan. There are NO new ideas.

    Tax Cuts for the rich.
    Cut the deficit.
    Break up unions.
    Fight the minimum wage or any living wage.
    Ban all abortions.
    Stop teh Ghey.
    More guns for everyone.
    Bomb everyone who disagrees with us in the Middle East.

    It’s a stale playbook. And they keep wondering why young people, educated people with college degrees, minorities, women, and other marginalized groups vote Democratic more than GOP.

    It’s baffling that so many smart people can’t see the weakness in the policies. It’s as if George Bush didn’t exist. It’s as if the problems in Kansas aren’t happening. It’s as if Wisconsin hasn’t absolutely lost it’s competitive advantage under Scott Walker. You can’t argue with the facts. Unless you’re a Conservative and you just choose to ignore them.

  51. sam says:

    He can’t read, either.

  52. James P says:

    @EddieInCA: Yes, College Station will stay red because Aggie students are entirely different people than Longhorn students. The Princeton Review consistently lists A&M as one of the most conservative campuses in the nation. That particular congressional district also has Baylor and that district is a Cook PVI or R+17. Gig’em!

    California went from red to blue because of amnesty/illegal immigration. California is the number one case study of why we need to oppose amnesty.

    Libs have been predicting Texas would be blue for a long time and for a long time they’ve been wrong.

  53. James P says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Tax Cuts for the rich.
    Cut the deficit.
    Break up unions.
    Fight the minimum wage or any living wage.
    Ban all abortions.
    Stop teh Ghey.
    More guns for everyone.
    Bomb everyone who disagrees with us in the Middle East.

    Absolutely!

    I’m not ready to endorse widespread war in the Middle East (unless Iran gets a nuke), but I agree with all of the domestic priorities you outlined with one slight tweak. I’d want to eliminate the minimum wage entirely and let the free market dictate wages.

    Ban murdering babies in the womb, yup. More guns, yup. Tax cuts for the rich, bust unions, balanced budgets? Yup, yup, and yup.

  54. CSK says:

    So, let’s see. If I’m a fundamentalist Protestant whose beliefs are offended by the tenets of Roman Catholicism, may I legally refuse to provide goods or services to Roman Catholic customers/clients/patients? If I’m a fundamentalist Muslim, may I refuse to provide goods or services to women not clad in burkhas? Can believers deny goods and services to atheists and agnostics? What about wedding cakes for Wiccans? Where does it end, logically?

  55. @HarvardLaw92:

    377a is sporadically enforced, which is to say virtually never.

    So was Texas’s law. Which just meant it’s an excuse for police to routinely harrass gays as long as the charges get dropped before they actually end up in court. Locking them up for a few days before dropping the case happens all the time though.

    An unjust law doesn’t become just because it’s sporadically enforced.

  56. James Pearce says:

    @James P: I noticed you didn’t answer my question. The reason I ask is that the “gay is behavior” argument is a young persons game. A little more experience will usually keep someone from making it.

  57. Tony W says:

    @James P:

    Texas is a very large state. It clearly has blue enclaves, but the state as a whole is solidly red.

    Perhaps so – geographically. Blue only comes into play where the educated people are, LOL.

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I don’t think you have any basis for concluding that about Tim Cook.

  59. James P says:

    @CSK: Yes, the owner of a private business should be able to choose to do business or not do business with whomever they choose.

    Let the market decide.

    This is entirely different than Jim Crow. Jim Crow mandated discrimination whether the owner of the establishment wanted to or not. If I owned a diner in the 1950s in the South I would happily serve blacks. However, Jim Crow would not allow it. Jim Crow was anti-free market because it was government telling private business owners how to run their business.

    I support a free market. Let people run their businesses whoever they choose. If they want to discriminate against Catholics, let them. They’ll be out of business in short order if they do.

    If I owned a catering company I would be willing to make a bet that I could turn a profit by catering only traditional normal weddings.

  60. @Stormy Dragon:

    Like or Dislike: 0 4

    Oddly proving my point. Tim Cook has signalled part of the right team, so he doesn’t actually have to do anything meaningful to further civil rights. He just has to mouth some pious words when a cause is fashionable before going right back to being a hypocrit and all the good little hipsters will fall over themselves to defend him because he’s on their “team”.

    God you guys are such phonies.

  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    It isn’t going to answer your question. It never does.

    BECAUSE IT IS A TROLL. It wants attention, and you’re feeding it. What part of that is difficult to grasp?

    Sheesh …

  62. James P says:

    I’d still like to know why Tim Cook is offended by Indiana’s law as it relates to gays but doesn’t seem to be offended by Saudi Arabia’s laws against gays.

    He doesn’t want to do business in Indiana, but is only too happy to do business with Wahabis. It seems like his moral outrage is selective at best.

  63. michael reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I think you’ve put your finger on it: their ideology is dead. That Stegosaurus is kaput.

    But let’s look at it from their point of view. The GOP is still made up of three wings: Money, Bombs and Jesus. The Tea Party pretends to be Money but of course they’re Jesus.

    Money doesn’t carry enough votes, and neither does Bombs. They need the Jesus votes. The Jesus folks are hung up on modernity, like a tamer Taliban, which frustrates Money and Bombs, but where are they going to get votes if not from the Jesus wing?

    So they keep kicking the can down the street with bulls–it like voter suppression and all-around obstructionism, hoping something will change. Their problem is that the Jesus folks are dumb enough to get played in 2012 and 2008 and 2004 and 2000 and 1996 and 1992 and 1988. . . But by God they can only be fooled, like, six or eight times, before it occurs to them that Hey, we’re just being used to line the pockets of billionaires and start wars we lose. No one is crapping on homos!

    What just happened in Indiana is that the Jesus wing passed their idiot bill and the Money wing woke up when the nation’s leading capitalist said, Knock it off. So Pence does the backward moonwalk and suddenly discovers a need for “clarification.” I’m waiting to see what the Jesus wing in the Indiana legislature has to say about all this.

  64. Modulo Myself says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Cook may be a hypocrite in that he’s loyal to and profits from a corporation that is content to exploit workers who live in restrictive/oppressive places and who have limited autonomy. But there’s no reason to think he’s insincere regarding the rights of gay people in America. Furthermore, one of the principle impediments to dealing with the power of corporations is the fact that America has to deal with the power of fundamentalist bigots, a cause which has united people who have much different views on capitalism and corporations. If Apple wants to deploy its social capital to take out social conservatives, let them.

  65. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    He is a hypocrite; most human beings are. I’d like to believe that his op-ed here is because he feels he can actually make some sort of difference in America whereas an op-ed in Saudi Arabia or South Asia wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on. The USA has an additional social pressure he can exert that’s lacking in these other places; all he has there is economic pressure he can’t utilize to its fullest without stockholders screaming.

    I’d like to believe that…. but really he probably just gives a damn about where he lives and not some far-flung place on the globe. Location, location, location and the money that goes with it. CEOs bleed green and are just as fragile as religious nuts when it comes to the almighty dollars’ power.

  66. DrDaveT says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The important part of this statute – the part which differentiates it from the federal RFRA and which makes me much, much worse, is Section 9

    Yes, I get that — but even that is not an issue if “burden” had been defined narrowly within the text of the legislation. How can you think you need to define “demonstrate” and “person”, but don’t need to define “burden” in this context???

  67. James P says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m waiting to see what the Jesus wing in the Indiana legislature has to say about all this.

    I have already received seven emails (from folks like the Christian Coalition, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Institute, etc) urging me to contact Indiana legislators. It seems like the strategy is to pressure legislators to refuse to amend the law even if Pence wants to do so.

    Pence, unlike Obama, knows he can not govern by decree – the legislature has to make changes. We can pressure the legislature to stand strong and hope that they have more of a backbone than Pence does.

  68. Modulo Myself says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Also–being sincere about gay rights in America is like being sincere about the rights of kittens and puppies in America. it’s a no-brainer. The only people who opposite are are f—ing insane, as in, “The secular left wants to destroy family structures and put an Orgone Box in every home and rule through enforced orgasmic control.” No one under 50 should be commended for their views on gay rights.

  69. Facebones says:

    @James P: This is a very fine work of political parody. A suggestion? Your avatar needs more eagles and american flags.

  70. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: Eh. fourteen-year-old troll acts like fourteen-year-old troll. No surprise here.

    It has been amusing/annoying to watch the pundits over at TAC yammer on about freedom of religion and totally ignore the whole honkin’ history of public accommodation law. But then, Rod’s one of those types who keeps going on about the morality of X and totally ignores the existence of law.

    Unfortunately, to him, religious beliefs of people are more important than The Golden Rule (which boils down to Don’t Be an Oik to Other People.)

  71. de stijl says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who hate-reads Rod Dreher. The man is fascinating. Utterly blind to his own bigotry, sincerely thinks he’s on the side of the angels while simultaneously being unable to argue in good faith, the Dante fetish, his wacky Benedict Option, and perhaps my fave – The Law Of Merited Impossibility. Just fascinating.

  72. Neil Hudelson says:

    So a few comments from someone fighting this on the ground, addressed to no one in particular.

    1. The ACLU (which is the org responsible for 90% of “Freedom Indiana” campaign), has been working with Indianapolis Republicans (the Rep. Mayor just came out against Pence), lobbyists, business CEOs, and religious leaders to clarify what they believe proper “clarification” is.

    The idea of a full anti-discrimination bill is a tall order, but the message coming from the above leaders is that anything less than an anti-discrimination law won’t cut it. If this was just a grassroots campaign, I would have doubt that it’s possible. With the business, lobbying, and (part of) the religious community backing the idea, it may gain traction.

    2. I believe most comments above have covered how Indiana’s law is substantially different than other state laws, but succinctly:
    a. Many other states have nondiscrimination laws that cover LGBT.
    b. Indiana removes the government as a party. This RFRA can be used person to person in civil cases. As I understand it, NO other state RFRAs are written this way. So the claim that it’s about protecting religion from government is false just from a simple reading of the bill.
    c. The language on what constitutes a burden is overly broad (although this is the same clause that might bring pot decriminalization to Indiana, so maybe it’s a wash?)
    d. Indiana’s definition of an “individual” includes all businesses and orgs, essentially. So now the McDonalds on 38th street can claim they have a religious belief and interest.

    3. Want to see this law truly fixed, and Pence f*cked? Donate to the ACLU of Indiana. Want to make sure NC, Virgina, and Georgia don’t pass a similar law? Donate directly to those state ACLUs. In nearly every state, the ACLU is the driving force–both politically and legally–in organizing opposition to these bills. HRC and Lambda Legal tend to get the donations and the fame, ACLU does the work.*

    * Little known fact: the ACLU is the largest LGBT advocacy organization in the nation based on the amount of court cases and advocacy programs they bring every year. Many other organizations have bigger memberships and bigger budgets. No other organization does more actual work to advance LGBT rights.

  73. gVOR08 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Freedom means that the law allows me to discriminate.
    Freedom means that you can’t notice this or attempt to sway public opinion or object.
    Why don’t you love freedom? What else are you going to take away from me?

    According to George Lakoff, Whose Freedom, that’s exactly correct. As opposed to what Funk and Wagnalls thought it meant, conservatives see freedom as ding their duty as they see it. And part of their duty is to force you do your duty – as they see it.

  74. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    BECAUSE IT IS A TROLL. It wants attention, and you’re feeding it.

    Nah, combing the internet looking for his supposed dissertation counts as “feeding a troll.”

    Dismissing the argument entirely and mocking him for making it is not really the attention he’s seeking, is not giving him the charge he needs, and I think the downvotes are testament to that.

  75. Modulo Myself says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Whenever public accommodation comes up, it does get a bit interesting. I get the sense that the honest conservatives over there don’t want to know what drives the rest. It’s an okay strategy for families but a terrible one when trying to develop a theory of governance. That they all seem to view government as good distant father/bad spoiling nanny points to other issues. You have to wonder if there is a theory of governance, outside of reverence for the dead.

  76. Modulo Myself says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s a horrible guilty pleasure. I’m intrigued by how much he hates Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and yet can’t praise his own personal transformation enough.

  77. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    Let’s say I own a banquet hall. Should I be forced to rent it to them and cater one of their white power rallies?

    If you are open for business…then yes, assuming they are doing nothing illegal or damaging to your property.
    I bet you find gay people reprehensible, but divorcees and adulterers just fine.
    What about liars….like yourself? The Bible is clear that lying is a sin and is displeasing to God. Do you find yourself reprehensible?

  78. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: Yes, w.r.t. the Dante I have been awfully tempted to tell him to put a sock in it…..to read Rod you’d sort of think that nothing else in the way of literature has been written in the past 1800 years.

    Still, it’s his own blog, so I remain quiet.

  79. James P says:

    @C. Clavin:

    No, I should not have to rent my banquet hall to anyone if I don’t want to. I believe in private property. It’s my decision to choose to business or not do business with anyone for any reason.

    Yes, adulterers are also offensive, but they aren’t readily identifiable.

    When two gays want to marry they are identifying themselves as gay.

    Liar? I never lied about anything. Repeating a charge again and again does not make it true.

  80. David M says:

    Regarding Rod Dreher, I would be more likely to believe this wasn’t specifically about gay people rather than religious freedom if he wasn’t having such a freak out over it. Nothing seems to cause him to lose it quite like the idea of someone’s discrimination of gay people not meeting with approval. Mind you he personally would never discriminate against anyone, but he won’t stop whining when society doesn’t approve of discriminating against gays anymore.

  81. David in KC says:

    It’s amazing how some people don’t understand why property rights have certain restrictions in regard to a whole host of things. They don’t seem to understand that the almighty market does not really work without sufficient regulation. Public accommodation, environmental laws, safety regulations, etc were all enacted to correct failures in the free market system.

  82. James P says:

    @David in KC:

    Public accommodation, environmental laws, safety regulations, etc were all enacted to correct failures in the free market system.

    They were enacted to grow government. The market does not need regulation.

    When government interferes it creates bubbles and moral hazards. Look no further than the 2008 collapse of the housing market for an example of how regulations distort markets.

    The market would be fine if we left it alone. All regulations do is grow government, inhibit liberty, and create jobs for bureaucrats. Regulations do nothing to foster economic growth.

  83. Nikki says:

    @James P:

    Look no further than the 2008 collapse of the housing market for an example of how regulations distort markets.

    No, dear, it was weakened regulation that caused the 2008 collapse.

  84. grumpy realist says:

    @David in KC: Yes, I especially love the idiots who claim that if we didn’t have a government, property rights would be perfectly safeguarded, because Freedom, or something.

    TOTALLY oblivious to the fact that if you don’t have some authority backing up your claim of possession (historically with a lot of guys with clubs), your possessory rights are limited to your own arm’s reach, or the ability to stay awake before someone comes along and grabs your stuff out from under you.

    Property is probably the legal concept that is MOST entwined with government. Ditto for property rights, which are also probably the most divisible legal right under the sun.

  85. grumpy realist says:

    @James P: Darlin’, I would suggest you take a look at the history of public accommodation law if I thought you would actually do so. But you’re not interested in the truth, are you?

  86. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:
    Denying it over and over without providing proof makes you a liar.
    And obviously you do not understand our system.
    Just kind of a lying dullard, aren’t you, troll.

  87. wr says:

    @James P: “I should no more be required to photograph or bake a cake for a homosexual wedding than I should be forced to lease my banquet hall to the KKK for a white power rally.”

    Well, then it’s a good thing you’re nothing more than an internet troll who will never have a business of his own, isn’t it Jenos?

  88. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Of course I’d impose the death penalty for failure-to-flush, so maybe I just have bathroom issues.”

    I don’t think you were in California during the big drought of the mid-70s… All I can say is you’d better start toughening up some.

  89. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Oddly proving my point. Tim Cook has signalled part of the right team, so he doesn’t actually have to do anything meaningful to further civil rights. He just has to mouth some pious words when a cause is fashionable before going right back to being a hypocrit and all the good little hipsters will fall over themselves to defend him because he’s on their “team”.”

    No. I don’t think I bothered to downvote you, but if I had it would have been because I grew up in Berkeley and I get pretty tired of this sanctimony from those who fancy themselves purer and more honest than anyone else in the world.

    Yeah, Apple has some bad business practices and some good ones. To you this means we should reject the good ones because they don’t spring from a heart as pure and wonderful as yours.

    A good act is a good act. The right response is “yes and;” yours is “no, but.”

  90. Tom Meloth says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I don’t think that’s fair, actually. I think he (Dreher) is a very conservative guy and worried that that the forces that promote SSM are winning and not about to accommodate bigger and more important issues down the road – a slippery slope argument, if you will. His core belief has as a tenet that homosexuality is wrong, and to challenge that is very difficult. But as for this case, the money quote there that says it all is: The left has moved on from winning the battle to shooting the prisoners.

    What I would like to see is a few prominent SSM supporters actually trying to have a dialogue with the very few sane social conservatives and put some markers in the ground about where the actual Freedom of Religion/Separation of State issues can be discussed and delineated.

    It’s been an ugly fight that we won, and I don’t really blame orthodox people who have been truly scared into thinking this is the first tidal wave of a tsunami to come.

    As a reasonably liberal person, and a father of younger kids, I do wonder about what is happening in society and the world, and the role that sex, personal rights, and community obligations play in creating a society that works, thrives and leaves the world better off that when one enters it. And I’ve thought a lot about it.

    I loath the smarmy right-wing prigs in the Fisher/Dobson/Gohmert mold but for those that really have concerns to blithely say, “it’s not an issue” or “there’s no further agenda” just does not suffice. Just as I would never believe Steve King when he says that an immigration bill he supports won’t discriminate, So Cons just won’t believe it coming from the left. That’s life, and there is no getting around it, so we need to face it head on.

    We need to sit with the sane conservatives and hammer out conditions and responsibilities that we all need to respect and set a tone for a respectful and responsible future. I actually believe it can be done. But it’s going to take Liberals to extend the olive branch, with honesty and not to (as many sorely on the right need it), bash them over the head with it.

  91. wr says:

    @Tom Meloth: “We need to sit with the sane conservatives and hammer out conditions and responsibilities that weallneed to respect and set a tone for a respectful and responsible future.”

    Great. Here’s my condition and responsibility: My personal life is none of your business. My choice of consenting adult to sleep with is none of your business. My marriage is none of your business. And yours is none of mine.

    How’s that for a start?

  92. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Well, then it’s a good thing you’re nothing more than an internet troll who will never have a business of his own, isn’t it Jenos?

    Jenos is a hack, but he’s much smarter than James P.

    @James P: You need to demonstrate a better grasp of this material if you want to get a passing grade.

  93. Tom Meloth says:

    @wr:
    LOL, I was, and still remember “If it’s yellow, leave it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down”, or something.

  94. Tom Meloth says:

    @wr:
    Only that’s not really true… as you’ve said yourself. And not to be rude, that’s a really facile argument, as you must know, because your comments reflect more nuance than that… unless you consider yourself some sort of far libertarian.

    The real truth is we all impinge on each other to greater or lesser extents, and that point of impingement is what needs to be discussed.

  95. EddieInCA says:

    @wr:

    Man… I remember it in the 80’s

    “If’s its Yellow, let it mellow. It’s it’s brown, send it down.”

    Ha! Good times.

  96. David in KC says:

    Unregulated derivatives … The free market at work.

  97. Modulo Myself says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    The problem with social conservatives is that they don’t want community. They’re autocratic, reactionary, authoritarian, etc. They’re the type of people who want to be giving orders, but since they can’t give orders, they declare they’re victims. It’s a type of pseudo-populism. Hatred of the masses plus hatred of the self for being one of the masses. They’re no different than the guy who relished downsizing (‘rightsizing’) and the free-market but when personal circumstances change, he rants about immigrants and elites and Obamacare. There’s nothing really to talk about with them.

  98. grumpy realist says:

    @Tom Meloth: But why reinvent the wheel? We have 500 or more years of public accommodations law to work with….why not use that?

    (These pundits always think they need to recreate human society from the ground up.)

  99. EddieInCA says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    With all due respect, Mr. Meloth – it’s not a facile argument. Someone’s PERSONAL life – who they marry, who they sleep with, where they sleep – should have no bearing on a business transaction where those issues aren’t the point of the transaction.

    As for Mr. Dreher, I would take his arguments much more seriously, if he was as vehement about the treatment of the poor, or adulterers, or divorces. It’s just gays and abortion with Dreher and many other Social Conservatives. That belies the actual motivations of their behavior. Be consistent as to what you rail against as a Christian Conservative and you’d probably get less grief. But when it’s obvious that you just don’t like icky butt sex and abortions, then it undercuts whatever legitimate argument you might have.

    I have relatives in Texas that are VERY religiously conservative. Yet they vote Democratic. Why? Because they believe that Democrats are better in living the actual type of Christianity in which they believe. Their Church is big on charity, on helping the sick, reading to the elderly, giving rides to the poor during the week to visit doctors, dentists, and go to shopping. They do missionary trips to homeless shelters – not to preach, but to help. They pick up homeless people in the winter when it gets below freezing and use their church as a shelter until it warms up. They don’t get into culure war battles. They believe in an inclusive Christianity, not a divisive one. This week, my nephew had two choices for Spring Break: Panama City with his frat brothers, or a week at home with his parents, who were going to spend it working at a new Senior Center which opened up in North Dallas. He chose to come help the Seniors. He is 22, a good student, goes to church every Sunday, and does Prayer groups on Wednesdays. And he voted for Obama. He doesn’t like “Churches that hate.” His parents taught him well.

  100. David in KC says:

    @grumpy realist: because it’s the gays and that’s icky.

  101. grumpy realist says:

    At least someone’s happy with the Indiana law.….

    (Am waiting to see what the Church of Satan guys pull. This could get very amusing.)

    Also–RAMEN!

  102. James Pearce says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    We need to sit with the sane conservatives and hammer out conditions and responsibilities that we all need to respect and set a tone for a respectful and responsible future. I actually believe it can be done. But it’s going to take Liberals to extend the olive branch, with honesty and not to (as many sorely on the right need it), bash them over the head with it.

    There can be no reconciliation on this issue. Either gay people enjoy full equal rights (the liberal view) or they don’t (the conservative view).

    And while I can appreciate how conservatives want liberals to “be nice,” they hardly deserve the courtesy.

  103. Tom Meloth says:

    @Modulo Myself: @grumpy realist:
    I know, I know… yet I still can’t seem to hope that responsible people can be responsible on issues that matter to both, and are important to both… The issue of SSM and more importantly, the right of gays to live freely and not be beaten, discriminated against is highly important. Perhaps more so than many seem to realize. It is, along with chattel marriage, the first real departure from orthodoxy since Scopes, and even that is still under siege.
    I just think it’s naive for those on the left who believe in things like personal rights and sexual equality (gay and straight) not to acknowledge that there has been a vast and substantial sea change in less than a generation, and that for the most part, the progressive world view has prevailed.
    So to ignore the gnashing of the die-hards is a mistake, and it behooves us to try to reach out for some sort of… detante, at least.

    The Reconstruction was fucked and left us in a mess we are still cleaning up, while rebuilding and treating foes from WW2 with respect has given us a stable Europe and Japan, and markets to work with.

    So, what I’m saying is that the left needs to engage in someway, and if

    There’s nothing really to talk about with them.

    is really where we are, then Dreher and his ilk have a point.

  104. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Indeed. I think those who assumed that this law was designed to protect fundamentalist Protestants might be a tad upset when they realize that the law recognizes fundamentalist Muslims, Wiccans, Satanists, pagans, and, presumably, Jediists.

  105. Modulo Myself says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    Reconstruction failed because the old Confederacy oozed its way back into power. Had they hung Lee and Davis and every other high official and kept the rest out of government, it would have been better. The mess that ‘we’ are cleaning up is that the mess that ‘they’ wanted.

    Okay, it failed for other reasons, but that was a big one.

  106. Scott says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I have relatives in Texas that are VERY religiously conservative.

    I think your relatives are very religious and take their religion seriously. I suggest conservative may be the wrong term.

    My family and I are similar. We act conservatively: education is serious, regular church goers, frugal and thriftly, etc. Except we are political liberals and have been for over a hundred years, starting with the social gospel in the 1800s. We continue to be progressives.

    The right wing Christians have been too loud for too long and are driving people away from Christ.

  107. Joel says:

    Are all forms of denying service the same? Is there really no distinction between refusing service based on someone’s identity and declining to participate in a ceremony with religious significance?

    If someone owns a print shop and declines print religious tracts that deeply offend them (lets say anti-gay literature), is that the same as saying “I won’t serve you because of your religion?” I don’t think so. The issue is the particular content.

    In many of these cases where someone was sued for declining to participate in a gay wedding, the couple had been long-time clients of the business owner. They had no objection to serving gays in general, merely to participating in one particular type of ceremony. When you’re photographing a wedding, you are a major and active participant in a ceremony that holds deep religious symbolism for some people. “No gays” signs at restaurants or anything similar are wrong, but few if any people are pushing for that. Making a cake is a grey area (selling one off the counter is another matter).

  108. Scott says:

    NASCAR has joined the growing number of businesses to criticize a controversial Indiana law that critics say allows discrimination against gay people.

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/31/news/indiana-religious-freedom-law/

    Oh my gosh, if NASCAR has criticized, what is left?

  109. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    Let the market decide.

    This is entirely different than Jim Crow. Jim Crow mandated discrimination whether the owner of the establishment wanted to or not. If I owned a diner in the 1950s in the South I would happily serve blacks. However, Jim Crow would not allow it. Jim Crow was anti-free market because it was government telling private business owners how to run their business.

    We’ve already tried that “let the market decide if discriminatory behavior is acceptable” approach, and the result was that the Market was extremely efficient in maintaining a status quo wherein Blacks were denied equal rights.

    The “Market” decided, for nearly 100 years following the Civil War, that Blacks would be subject to Jim Crow, segregation and virtual apartheid in the South, and in many jurisdictions in Northern states. It wasn’t until the “Federal Legislation Market” changed Civil and Voting Rights laws in 1964-65 did Blacks formally acquire and realize their fundamental rights of citizenship. We’re still living the fallout from that struggle.

  110. grumpy realist says:

    @Modulo Myself: sorry to be a pedant here, but “hanged Lee…”, not “hung Lee…”

    There actually are two different verbs in existence, one strong and one weak. I’m cranky about the correct verb because I don’t want it to slip out of the English language–which it is most likely to do because it’s ONLY used now in the context of hanged people. Only one poor little miserable use left, poor thing!

  111. Tom Meloth says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I totally get your point – and agree for what it’s worth. But to unpack a bit – let’s take Abortion and Homosexuality separately.
    Homosexuality – I think on this he’s wrong, and that frankly the proscriptions in the bible are both arguable and wrong, and that time will bear it out.
    So I hold no brief with anyone religious or not with discrimination of gays.
    But I also know that that will take time to change for many, many people.
    I think Gender presentation and Sexually are a massive things to wrap one’s around.
    But I think it’s the right thing and the bible passage about it will be relegated to the not eating shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics bin of the bible… some day.
    As for Abortion, that’s a thornier issue, and even I as a fairly liberal guy have qualms about it – as frankly anyone should.
    Any time after the Plan B window or so, the It should be a big decision, and while I still don’t think it should be banned I personally hope it should never be a thing of convenience or something that is “no big deal”.
    But that’s me, and again, I think the law as it is now (in CA) seems ok. Safe, Legal and Rare….but then YMMV.
    But I also know that to many that’s it’s a fundamental part of their world view. I think the agreement we had until the Fundies started encroaching upon it was working.
    As for Churches that teach hate, the real shame is that it seems like it trending that way, I agree, and that’s wrong, but perhaps as again a reaction to massive cultural changes over the last 100 years.
    I don’t want to spend a ton of time defending Dreher here, and he drives em crazy too, but the point is he is an ORTHODOX convert form a evangelical tribe. That’s he’s even open to trying o understand another point of view is something unusual. So, in a small way, yes, I think he’s worth engaging. As for your first point last, this:
    It’s not a facile argument. Someone’s PERSONAL life – who they marry, who they sleep with, where they sleep – should have no bearing on a business transaction where those issues aren’t the point of the transaction – Is not what I said (or if it was, not what I meant!).

    My point is that in a complex society, we all impinge on each other in some way, and that is each persons responsibility to minimize that infection point where there are disagreements – and it was in resigns to another who said catagortigally that:

    My personal life is none of your business. My choice of consenting adult to sleep with is none of your business. My marriage is none of your business. And yours is none of mine.

    That that is an easy out and not true… for just one simple example: if you beat your wife and kids I have a responsibility to speak up, no?
    So that’s what I meant – -it’s a facile argument in that regard in that we all have communal responsibilities… unless you are a true hard core libertarian.

    Anyway, I can’t respond anymore, it’s beautiful here in west LA, and my wife is dragging me tho drink some wine downtown in our little city.
    Thanks.

  112. Modulo Myself says:

    @grumpy realist:

    No worries. Thanks. I rarely mind the correction of my grammar.

  113. David M says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    I’m not sure Dreher is capable of addressing this type of issue in good faith, without needlessly turning the dial up to 11. Here is a quote from Rod about this issue within the last week:

    I think our best hope as a pluralist democracy is to adopt something like Utah’s anti-discrimination statute, which gives protections both to LGBTs and to religious institutions.

    And now he’s completely lost it over the prospect of Indiana doing exactly that. Remember, this entire controversy isn’t over repealing the RFRA, all the protestors are asking for is to amend the RFRA to include protections for LGBT. The very protections Rod claims to support.

  114. Scott F. says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    We need to sit with the sane conservatives and hammer out conditions and responsibilities that we all need to respect and set a tone for a respectful and responsible future. I actually believe it can be done. But it’s going to take Liberals to extend the olive branch, with honesty and not to (as many sorely on the right need it), bash them over the head with it.

    I used to believe this too, then we elected a very accommodating man as POTUS, a man who ran on his willingness to work respectfully with Republicans on pragmatic, responsible solutions for the future, and this POTUS extended an olive branch to the “sane” Republicans and they’ve shat all over him for 6 years now. The GOP has to be bashed and forced into the wilderness before the “sane” in their midst will have any ability to contribute to any future in this country.

  115. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce:

    Dismissing the argument entirely and mocking him for making it is not really the attention he’s seeking, is not giving him the charge he needs, and I think the downvotes are testament to that.

    There seems to be two definitions of troll currently being used on this site. One is essentially “Idiot who keeps making the same arguments despite being slapped down” and for the commenters that fall into this category, your statement is correct, although I still think it is tedious to read comment threads that fall into an endless back and forth with these commenters. My opinion, YMMV.

    But other commenters, and I believe that includes this one, falls into the traditional (like, back in the days of usenet kind of tradition) definition of troll: someone who posts something, anything to get a rise out of the other commenters and send the thread into a tailspin. In which case, your statement above is 180 degrees from correct.

    For those who don’t know, usenet was an internet commenting system before the web. Imagine if instead of a blog post with a comment section there was just an endless standalone comment thread around a specific interest, say, alt.space.NASA. A troll (i.e. someone dangling bait in the water) would lob in a comment like “The Russians were actually the first to reach geosynchronous orbit”. They didn’t believe this, but had simply noticed that it made people upset. People would correct them. They would reply with increasingly lame arguments and increasingly vicious insults. It would send the whole thread into a death spiral. Finally, days or weeks later, it would die down. And the troll would come back on, sometimes with a different user id. Repeat ad infinitum. It became more and more common until most usenet threads consisted solely of trolls and those that couldn’t understand what was going on and couldn’t keep themselves from responding. This was the first wave in what bought down usenet, which was truly a very useful tool. (The second was spam, but that’s another story.)

  116. michael reynolds says:

    @Tom Meloth:

    1) There are effectively no sane Republicans. Politics is about power, and the only way for “sane” Republicans to hold power is to marshall the votes of the “insane” majority – the Tea Party, etc… Compromise is anathema to the Tea Party, so compromise with Republicans is impossible.

    2) It is doubly difficult to compromise because the GOP has no program for governing. The Democratic Party is still interested in governing, the GOP is not – witness threats to our credit rating, witness shut-downs, witness frantic efforts to eliminate Obamacare with no plan for a replacement. The GOP is all id, no reason. See point #1 above.

    At some point continuing to fantasize about rational compromise with a beast whose survival depends on irrationality becomes its own insanity.

    So, nice thought, but at least six years out-of-date. We are way past that point now. We are now at the point of waiting for the brute force of demographics to slowly grind the GOP to dust on the national scene and at the state level outside of the rural states.

  117. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Tom Meloth: yes, well I’d have a bit more charity with their fears if Rod and others didn’t scour the internets looking for stories that would validate their the-sky-is-falling-and-we’re-all-going-to-be-fed-to-the-lions attitude.

  118. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist: I always remember the difference by saying “X was hanged” versus “X was hung” and recalling which sounds dirtier being the wrong one.

    @Scott F.: Pretty much. I still give people the benefit of the doubt — “please proceed, Governor” thinking maybe he won’t say something obviously stupid — but man, remember back in the days when Obama was desperate to please Republicans legislatively and they never reciprocated? Those were fun times.

  119. Blue Galangal says:

    @Modulo Myself: If you want to see some extreme arguments (sort of the SoCon level turned up a notch) check out any thread on the marriage equality referendum currently pending in Ireland at thejournal.ie website. The gays are going to be able to GET MARRIED and STEAL HETEROSEXUAL PEOPLE’S CHILDREN!!!!

    Seriously. But it’s my understanding that a lot of American dollars get funneled into the religious conservative movement in Ireland. Interestingly enough.

  120. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “someone who posts something, anything to get a rise out of the other commenters and send the thread into a tailspin.”

    I have considered that. I think that’s what happened during the whole hunt for the PHD episode on the other thread. I didn’t participate in that one too much.

    Maybe I just wanted to get my licks in. Maybe I was just trying to make him go away. I was curious about his age.

    James P reminds me a bit of me when I was young, so sure of myself and yet so…unexposed. He seems like a smart kid who needs to be put to the grindstone to sharpen him up. I mean, he’s obviously grasping the stuff he’s been reading. He’s puking it right back up. But with a few more years, a few more faces and places, some good times and some bad, he might start to form a mind of his own.

    I could be wrong, though. It wouldn’t be the first time.

  121. JohnMcC says:

    @James Pearce: Anyone who makes the argument that defining who is Gog of Magog is important to American foreign policy may and SHOULD be ignored.

  122. James P says:

    @Nikki: Precisely the opposite. IT was government forcing banks to make loans to people who were not creditworthy which caused the bubble. IF banks made lending decisions purely on the basis of creditworthiness those people would never have received the loans in the first place.

    IT was a regulation that created the bubble.

    IT was not the GOP which passed the Community Reinvestment Act. Regulations distort the market – they create bubbles and moral hazards.

  123. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: [“Denying it over and over without providing proof makes you a liar.”]

    Prove to me you are not beating your wife. Until you provide proof I will consider you a wife beater.

    The onus is not on the accused to disprove a spurious allegation. THe onus is on the accuser. Anyone can accuse anyone of anything.

    Just look at Harry Reid. The burden was not on Mitt to prove he paid taxes – it was on the accuser (Reid). The same applies with me. I don’t have to disprove a negative – the burden is on the accuser.

  124. James P says:

    @James Pearce:

    Jenos is a hack, but he’s much smarter than James P.

    Wait a minute. I thought I was Jeno. Well which is it? You folks need to get your act together and get your stories straight.

  125. Robert C says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Hey, hey, hey…water is precious…if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.

    RC

  126. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    Prove to me you are not beating your wife.

    I have never been married. Done.
    If you actually had a PhD then you could prove it. As you do not have a PhD, you are nothiing but a liar trying to aggrandize himself.
    To review…HL proved you do not have a PhD…you accused him of lying. Ipso facto…by your very comment…the onus is on you to prove what is in fact unprovable.
    You are a fraud and a troll.
    Move on to another bridge.

  127. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @James P: Markets do not exist in the real world without regulation, unless you’re a gangster.

  128. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Charlie: They said you was hung.
    Bart: And they was right.

  129. Davebo says:

    @James P:

    The city of Houston is liberal (it elected Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, and a homosexual mayor) but Harris County is red. Look at Sugarland and Katy

    Well, a little bit of Katy is in Harris County, none of Sugarland is but other than that it’s a great point!

    You’ll always have Sealy and Cut & Shoot!

  130. Grumpy Realist says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: yes, people who think that unregulated markets are just dandy should move to places like parts of Africa, where 60% of the medicine is available is counterfeit. I’m sure said people will be perfectly happy when they die from something because of ineffective medicine because after all, their families can sue afterwards….

  131. Joel says:

    @al-Ameda:
    We’ve already tried that “let the market decide if discriminatory behavior is acceptable” approach, and the result was that the Market was extremely efficient in maintaining a status quo wherein Blacks were denied equal rights.

    The “Market” decided, for nearly 100 years following the Civil War, that Blacks would be subject to Jim Crow, segregation and virtual apartheid in the South, and in many jurisdictions in Northern states. It wasn’t until the “Federal Legislation Market” changed Civil and Voting Rights laws in 1964-65 did Blacks formally acquire and realize their fundamental rights of citizenship. We’re still living the fallout from that struggle.

    Not exactly – the KKK and other paramilitary thugs violently rigged the market in a certain direction. White business owners who served blacks would be threatened with violence and have their stores burned down if they didn’t comply. Would the market have worked things out without such brutal interference? I don’t know (I’m not a libertarian), but things would certainly have been better.

  132. slimslowslider says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who hate-reads Rod Dreher. The man is fascinating. Utterly blind to his own bigotry, sincerely thinks he’s on the side of the angels while simultaneously being unable to argue in good faith…

    That really sums it up, but I also cannot stop reading his daily freakouts…

  133. wr says:

    @Joel: “Not exactly – the KKK and other paramilitary thugs violently rigged the market in a certain direction. White business owners who served blacks would be threatened with violence and have their stores burned down if they didn’t comply. Would the market have worked things out without such brutal interference?”

    But this is what happens to every “free market” without government regulation. There will always be brutal interference, because in an unregulated market there is no reason for the strong not to simply take what they want — unless you believe, as libertarians seem to, that the Market Fairy will inspire everyone to deal fairly and efficiently.

  134. KM says:

    @James P:

    Let the market decide.

    Just what do you think is happening right now? The general public *IS* the market and the general public is having a fit. From being genuinely outraged over the law to “holy crap, there goes my outraged customers!”, there is very strong condemnation and rejection of the law and its consequences. The market is saying NO! pretty loudly at this point, loudly enough they’re scrambling to “fix” the damn thing a scant few days after it was signed.

    The Pimp Hand of Adam Smith just laid one on Indiana and it’s only going to get worse if they don’t knock it off. And before you pull out the “outside agitator” crap, remember that our society is no longer limited to locals in walking distance and mom-n-pops – not the locals seem to be all too happy with it either . Businesses actively court customers across state lines and even in other countries. The market is whomever is buying and buyers don’t want what Indiana is selling right now.

  135. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: The liar who claims to have been to Cambridge has proved nothing except that he is a liar……………..and that he has poor research skills because he doesn’t know where to look.

  136. James P says:

    @KM: A few noisy twitter posters do not constitute the market. A majority of the public is opposed to homosexual marriage. That’s why it loses almost every time it is on the ballot.

    IF I had a business I would not cater a homosexual wedding. Let people boycott me. I think there are far more normal Christians who would be happy to do business with me than there are Gay-stapo activists.

    The Gay-stapo is not a majority – they are just very noisy. If the market were to decide businesses who did not cater to homosexuals would see no punishment whatsoever.

  137. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Remember, “it” (commenter above) is a troll. Do not feed it or acknowledge it in any way beyond downvoting its screeds.

  138. grumpy realist says:
  139. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I also find it intriguing that “it” has over and over totally ignored what I’ve posted. I did the same research you did (independently) and found the same results. And posted them. But….crickets.

    You must have really bruised “its” ego. Probably because “it” didn’t realize how quickly it would be shown to be a total fabulist. And a stupid one, at that. The debunking took what–five minutes? (Yah, that’s pretty stupid.)

    Snerk!

  140. James P says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s because you folks are all looking in the wrong place and I find that frankly hilarious!

    If you want to accuse me of lying do you own homework – don’t expect me to do it for you , that’s lazy.

    I can assure you my ego is completely intact because you have disproven absolutely nothing.

  141. James P says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Someone takes Pence to the woodshed.

    I took Pence to the woodshed. I called him a gutless spineless wimp.

    Jindal said he would happily sign such a bill and I have confidence in Walker as well.

    I would never consider supporting Pence for higher office because he lacks the backbone for a fight. He meekly surrendered – he’s a gutless coward. We need to stand up to the anti-Christian bigots and Pence showed that he is clearly unwilling to do that. Screw him.

  142. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    The Gay-stapo is not a majority – they are just very noisy. If the market were to decide businesses who did not cater to homosexuals would see no punishment whatsoever.

    And that’s why, fortunately, intelligent people like the creators of the constitution did not leave basic rights to the mercy of the majority or *shudder* the market.

    But thanks for making these things so very clear.

  143. David in KC says:

    I have a question, since when is less than 50% a majority? The polls that I have seen in the last 3 months (including WSJ) shows approval between 55% and 60% for same sex marriage.

  144. James P says:

    @David in KC: Then why does it fail almost every time it is on the ballot. Results at the ballot box trump what people tell pollsters.

    We don’t govern by polls – we govern by the results of the ballot box and homosexual marriage fails just about every time it is on the ballot. If people supported it, it would not fail so spectacularly.

    Just about all of these state prohibitions on homosexual marriage were passed by voters. It is only because jerks wearing black robes are trumping the expressed will of the voters that homosexual marriage is being legalized. That is not particularly democratic.

  145. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    We’re not a democracy. We never were …

  146. al-Ameda says:

    Conservatives seem to think a lot about
    Gay Marriage, and Gay Sex, yet …

    Why is it that many people say about Montana and Wyoming:
    “where men are men and sheep are nervous”?

  147. Monala says:

    @James P: There are a growing number of states where the voters have approved of gay marriage either via referendum, or via the legislators they elected. Most of the ballot box bans were enacted a decade ago. In contrast, in most of the cases in which SSM has been on the ballot in recent years, it has passed. In the last ten years, opinion has shifted dramatically, in part because more LGBT people are out of the closet, so more people know that people they care about are LGBT, and because people are witnessing gay marriage happening in other states and realizing that it’s not the end of the world and doesn’t harm anyone’s straight marriage. I suspect that we may continue to see voter-led changes in this issue going forward.