Indiana Republicans possibly were trying to do their best impression of a cheap tent, but there perhaps hasn’t been such a quick folding since the collapse of the Maginot Line.
The state’s Religious Freedom Restoration act, despite Governor Mike Pence’s feints to the contrary, was clearly intended to offer protection to bakers, florists, wedding planners, and anyone else who objects to participating in faux weddings and other events contrary to his conscience. Instead, after a media maelstrom, pugnacious protesting, and big-money maneuvering, an amendment to the legislation has rendered it an exercise in cowardly posturing.
Passed by the GOP-controlled Indiana legislature and signed by Pence Thursday evening, the law has perhaps been mischaracterized by some. CNN claims it offers “protections based on sexual orientation” for the first time in Indiana’s history. Yet it seems thatAmerican Thinker is correct in stating that with the amendment, “the law in essence has become meaningless.” It appears that the Indiana Republicans — rattled by the politically correct backlash but wanting to pacify social conservatives — just wanted to pass something bearing the name “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
But it certainly won’t restore faith in government. While the law doesn’t appear to offer any new cudgels to use against businessmen exercising their religious rights, it also states that it cannot be used to justify discrimination. As Fox News reports, “House Speaker Brian Bosma said the law sends a ‘very strong statement’ that the state will not tolerate discrimination.” “Discrimination.” That’s a big word — and a wholly misunderstood concept.
We cannot have an intelligent, productive discussion about a matter if we’re not honest — not even with ourselves — with respect to our language and what we’re actually doing. And the fact is not only that the government doesn’t prohibit “discrimination” in principle, but that it discriminates when prohibiting discrimination in the particular.