Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence and Religious Freedom – Update

March 31, 2015 8:29 AMViews: 1584

————Update———

Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. today asked Pence to resign as governor “for the good of the state.”

Pence pushed for this law. Now it looks like he is hoist with his own petard.

Today Pence is again saying the intention of the law has been misstated and mischaracterized in the press. But, he asked the Indiana General Assembly to have a clarifying amendment sent to his desk by Friday.

If the Indiana legislature has to pass a clarifying amendment to say the law does not discriminate against anyone, who is misstating and mischaracterizing its real purpose so far?

It’s only nine months since a U.S. District Court struck down an Indiana law banning same sex marriages. Is it a coincidence this issue would come up again in some form now?

I think not.

And in the same week that the religious freedom law in Indiana allowed discrimination, the Indiana Secretary of State issued a permit to the First Church of Cannabis.

 

By Paul Gable

The Indiana General Assembly and Gov. Mike Pence gave a lesson in U.S. history and politics after passing into law an ill-considered “Religious Freedom” bill last week.

Pence and Republican legislators apparently thought the religious freedom law would be a feather in their caps, endearing them to the far right Republican base and assuring continued election success.

Instead they found themselves in the middle of a public relations firestorm that rapidly was blowing back on them and probably eliminating Pence from any future serious presidential consideration.

The problem – Indiana’s new religious freedom law is viewed by many as making discrimination against gays, lesbians and others legal in Indiana.

What Indiana legislators forgot is that, in politics, perception is reality and the perception among many Hoosiers and citizens around the nation is that this law is a bad one.

Pence didn’t help himself with his reactions to the controversy.

On one national news program Sunday, Pence repeatedly dodged answering a yes or no question on whether the law allows discrimination against gays, lesbians and others under the guise of religious freedom.

In another public statement, a defiant Pence blamed the controversy on misinformation and misunderstanding in the press. That’s the standard conservative line – it’s all the liberal media’s fault.

It appears the misunderstanding was really only among Indiana lawmakers and what they thought they could get away with.

And yesterday, Pence reportedly cancelled all public appearances for the next two weeks and the lights in the governor’s office remained off causing one media outlet to question whether Pence was giving his two weeks’ notice.

Almost immediately after the law was signed, conventions began pulling out of Indianapolis, the state’s capital and major city, and businesses put expansion plans in the state on hold.

The NCAA, whose headquarters is in Indianapolis, said it would have to rethink holding future events in the state and the NFL was reportedly considering whether to move its annual combine, showcasing college athletes preparing for its draft, from the Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium.

Pence was elected Indiana’s governor in November 2012 on a platform of “Indiana, the state that works.” It appears Hoosiers will be working less if this law remains on the books.

But, we all have to thank Indiana lawmakers for clearing up a basic misunderstanding about American history.

Rather than being a nation that was settled by people fleeing religious intolerance to a new world where they could practice their religious beliefs freely, we are really a nation to which our ancestors fled so we could practice religious intolerance of our own.

 

 

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