As opponents of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) continue to cry foul–inciting opposition toward Governor Mike Pence (R) and boycotts of the state of Indiana–they prove their goal is not equal rights for all but special rights for some.
In so doing, they show that religious freedom is not really freedom at all, in their eyes, but a means to controlling those who hold a different point of view or a different set of convictions.
By signing the RFRA Governor Pence shined a light on these things, and those who have heretofore used religious freedom claims to actually quash the freedom of those with whom they disagree now find themselves aboard a Titanic with very few lifeboats remaining.
The text of the RFRA is clear–it “provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion.” When such a burden must take place, it is to be accompanied by a demonstration that the government–state or local–took pains to choose a path that is “least” burdensome on the exercise of religion in a particular instance.
This is a protection for all, rather than some, and it faces stiff opposition from special interest groups who want anything but a level playing field.
That private individuals or business owners might now have a way to fight back against those who would force them to live or conduct business in way that violates their faith is simply unacceptable to these opponents. And it’s unacceptable because such opponents have construed freedom to mean special treatment for special interests–until now.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.