It's an interesting aspect that the discussion going all over the internets over the passage and subsequent signing of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act has not even brought up one aspect that I absolutely believe is the real issue here.
The real issue is the governor who signed the legislation, Mike Pence.
Now this post is not going to delve into the merits of the law or not. I will provide this link by a gay conservative in favor of same-sex marriage to give a case for the legislation being OK. But there is the angst by the other side. And this link gives one of the reasons they do not like this legislation.
Now why is Gov. Pence the real story here?
Because he has expressed some interest in running for president. If that were to pass, the Republican governor would be the 318th non-announced potential Republican candidate for president.
Let's look at a fact.
Now 20 states and the federal government have some kind of RFRA on their books. The law is designed to allow religious groups to use religion as a legitimate defense if they break the law in any way.
In essence it is to protect the American Indians who use peyote, which is illegal, as part of their religious ceremonies. It protects Christian Scientists, who do not believe in modern medicine, when their belief is challenged in court. In the case of CS', it is usually when a child's life is in danger and when modern medicine has an overwhelming chance to help lead to a full recovery. What about Jehovah's Witnesses who do not believe in blood transfusions? Sikh men and or teen boys that, as a part of their faith, wear a dagger on their person.?
In other words, this is very broad based.
However, suddenly the gay left has realized, OMG, that Indiana has jumped on board with this clarification and protection for Christians that have a business, such as bakeries and or wedding photographers, who chose to not provide the service to those same-sex couples due to their sincere belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
The rub is that it really just provides a defense and a day in court for those mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The same thing applies to the groups mentioned in the paragraph before that one.
What it does not do is give people a right to deny service based on flimsy belief. But that belief must be real and provable.
It is important to give background on this to understand the issue at hand.
So, when Gov. Pence was running for governor, this is one of the things that he ran on. That he supported the legislation and would sign it. Keep in mind that again, there are 19 other states that have similar legislation. There was not this kind of backlash against all the other states save for Arizona. In that state, under a ton of pressure from the usual suspects, then Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill. Here is a map to see exactly what states have similar laws.
The dark green state have RFRAs. Interesting that there are several pretty blue states as part of the 19 other states. Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Actually, the accompanying story is worth a read.
Back to point.
There was not one bit of a secret that Gov. Pence was for this and signed it.
And the left, especially the gay-friendly left went on an unbelievable screed as if this just happened out of nowhere.
But what makes the reaction interesting is how the venom is out for Gov. Pence.
Since he became governor, there has not been much to nail him on that could stick in the world of the left. Gov. Pence served in congress and gave up a sure seat for as long as he wanted it to run for and win the governor's seat in Indiana. He is pretty popular in his state. It is this reason that Gov. Pence has been on a fair number of people's lists of serious GOP presidential candidates. Now it's not like there has been a Pence for Prez bandwagon bursting at the seems. Gov. Pence is but one name in a large mix. But what would happen if he caught on and actually decided to run for president?
Nothing like a little bit of making Gov. Pence being Bull Conner and making Indiana the Alabama of the Upper Midwest in regard to businesses raging to deny services to gays, lesbians and all others in between.
One of the reasons the opponents have to use against the law is the fact that Indiana as a state does not have anti-discrimination laws. Yes, localities do, but not the whole state. Thus all those anti-gay bigots can whip out their signs that they don't want to serve gays, lesbians and all in between. Maybe throw in other liberals and Godless commies too.
Judging by the hysteria of many big businesses, it appears that there is not a slew of bigoted sexists using religion to deny a meal to anyone.
In 2015 America, does anyone really believe that a major company would use the RFRA to legally discriminate based on religion? Of course people will disagree on what constitutes discrimination. The point of the legislation is that those that have a genuine, deeply held religious belief have the right to defend themselves if they do deny a very specific service. As Christian Scientists do. As Jehovah's Witness' do. As Sikhs do. As American Indian religions do.
But what is really at play is whether or not Gov. Pence wants to run for president. If he does, the left is prepared to hang this one bill he signed as proof positive he is not fit to run for let alone be president. It would be something for Gov. Pence to consider in running for the presidency. And while he made a somewhat weak case for the bill on the Sunday political gab-fests, he has written this article to appear in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal (sorry there is a pay-wall, but excerpts appear here at the Pence Facebook page). I think that it presents the bill as it is supposed to be and is better than his appearances on national television on Sunday.
The moral is that if there is any chance of a solid conservative thinking about running for president, he better not tangle with the left unprepared. Mike Pence, not the law itself, is the real issue no matter what you will read and or hear.