Indiana

Indiana Anti-Gay Bill Was Ted Cruz's Alamo

At a campaign stop at a shooting range in Iowa earlier this week, captured on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Sen. Ted Cruz boasted of his support for a since-altered Indiana law that would have opened the door for private businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom, comparing his stand to that of Texas soldiers at the Alamo.

“Sadly more than a few Republicans ran for the hills, including more than a few candidates who are running for president in 2016,” he said. :Some of them chose that exact moment to go rearrange their sock drawer.”

But Ted Cruz, said Cruz, was made of stronger stuff.

“In my view, Indiana was a time of choosing. In my view, Indiana was, as William Barret Travis at the Alamo said as he drew the line in the stand, it was a moment to choose which side of the line you stand.”

Cruz previously referred to opposition to Indiana’s measure as a gay “jihad.”

Gohmert: Obama's 'Taking Over' Of Internet, Debunked ISIS Camp Report 'Breaks My Heart'

In an interview with Indianapolis-based talk radio host Greg Garrison last month, Rep. Louie Gohmert warned that “this is a really dangerous time for America,” citing the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules and a right-wing group’s debunked report of an ISIS camp just south of the border in Mexico.

Gohmert spoke with Garrison at the annual radio row event hosted by the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where the topic inevitably turned to President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, which Gohmert compared to what he called the FCC’s “taking over” of the Internet with the net neutrality rules.

“Look at the FCC,” he said. “I mean, the FCC had no intention of taking over the Internet. I mean, gosh, even though it was one of the most amazing developments in the history of man when it comes to entrepreneurism and just amazing, you know, free enterprise, innovation. It was awesome. But it was doing so well Obama couldn’t stand the thought of the government not taking it over. So, he says the FCC’s going to take it over, they had to scramble and redo their thinking, and then they come out with regulations saying, in essence, they would take it over. I mean, this is really a dangerous time for America.”

“But you know, Greg, the old adage is democracy ensures a people are governed no better than they deserve,” he added. “And what breaks my heart, and I know it does yours, is Americans that have not awakened are getting what we deserve. It is really a shame.”

Garrison agreed, saying that President Obama is “batting for the other team,” as “evident” at the southern border.

This led Gohmert to bring up the debunked Judicial Watch report of an ISIS camp south of El Paso: “Then we find out this week there’s an ISIS camp three miles south of El Paso, a training center, and they’re working closely with the drug cartels. This is a dangerous time for the king of America to be allowing open borders.”

 

Tony Perkins: Negotiating With Gays Like Negotiating With Satan

Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins — still reeling from the fight over Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law — likened dealing with gay people to negotiating with Iran …and Satan.

Perkins said on his “Washington Watch” radio program that he agrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. should not negotiate with Iran (actually, Netanyahu said he supports talks in principle, just not the current negotiations), adding that “Ronald Reagan said ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists.’”

“Did Jesus negotiate with the Devil? No, he said, ‘Away with you Satan.’ He goes on later in the scripture to talk about ‘what fellowship has light with darkness.’” Perkins said. “The same can be said of the cultural totalitarians who want to force everyone to embrace and even celebrate their view of morality. You cannot compromise, you cannot appease. Just ask Gov. [Mike] Pence and others who have compromised their values in an effort to appease these folks. It only increases their aggressiveness and their demands.”

Boycott Group Spokesman: Boycotts Are Economic Terrorism

The American Family Association has launched dozens upon dozens of boycotts and other forms of pressure campaigns, typically targeting a company or organization over its alleged support for the LGBT community or failure to use the word “Christmas” in its advertising.

The AFA has targeted Home DepotPetSmartTargetHoney MaidPlanet Fitness and Girl Scout cookiesamong many others. Most recently, the AFA launched a boycott of Angie’s List after the online consumer review company cancelled a planned expansion in Indianapolis in protest of Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law.

Of course, if a company criticizes Indiana’s “religious freedom” law, arguing that it will negatively impact its ability to hire and retain employees and undermines its values, in that case the company is committing “economic terrorism.”

At least according to Sandy Rios, the group’s director of governmental affairs, who on her radio program this morning heartily endorsed an email she received from a fan who said that businesses that came out against the Indiana law were using “economic terrorism.”

This is from Jim, this is good, he said: ‘I listen to you every morning and you get me motivated.’ And here he talks about, I think he is referring to what happened in Indiana, and he talks about the phrase ‘capitalistic-cronyism,’ but he said he thinks that what just happened in Indiana and probably Arkansas was economic terrorism. ‘These companies are using their financial clout to scare politicians into voting the way they want and to me that’s what terrorists do, and if I remember correctly the fundamental thought our representatives should act on is one should not negotiate with terrorists.’ That was excellent, Jim, excellent, excellent.

Prophecy: Indiana Criticism A Forerunner Of 'Perversion' Tsunami

Jennifer LeClaire, the news editor of the Religious Right magazine “Charisma,” appeared on “Trunews” yesterday to tell host Rick Wiles about a recent prophetic experience she had in which God warned her that “a tsunami of perversion and all manner of wicked sin is headed towards this nation.”

Wiles said that this “tsunami” has already hit America: “I believe it’s truly a word from the Lord. ‘A tsunami of perversion and all manner of wicked sin is headed towards this nation.’ We see it right now. The first wave has already come in. The nation is embracing perversion, it is embracing hostility towards God, it is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life and quite frankly it’s frightening.”

“This very week in Indiana, the governor and the legislative leaders of Indiana are being treated as though they’re worse than Hamas or Hezbollah,” Wiles said. “I’m just amazed to what is happening in this country.”

LeClaire agreed, suggesting that criticism of Indiana is proof that “we’ve opened the door to the Enemy in this land” and that the country is now experiencing “a spiritual attack.”

Wiles predicted that Christians in America will soon “go underground” and “suffer persecution” just like Christians in East Germany: “I believe pastors will be taken away in the middle of the night and be tortured.”

“We’re going to have to live out our Christian faith in the face of severe persecution” he added.

Bobby Jindal: Anti-Gay Businesses Are The 'Real Victims Of Discrimination'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has tried to build his expected presidential campaign around the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America, told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins yesterday that the “real victims of discrimination”...

Barber: Criticism Of Indiana Law Is Laying The Groundwork For Nazi-Like Persecution Of Christians

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber railed against criticism of Indiana's recently-enacted "religious freedom" law, saying that such leftist "propaganda" was no different than how the Nazis demonized Jews in Germany.

After Staver asserted that gay rights activists are out to destroy religious freedom, Barber responded by warning that attacks on the Indiana law were laying the groundwork for persecution of Christians in America.

"You wonder how, in Nazi Germany, the propagandists were able to get an entire nation of people on board with persecuting to Jews the level that they're doing," Barber said. "We see it being repeated here with an entire nation of people, these leftists media propagandists, getting them on board for a soft persecution, at least at this point and time, of Christians here in the U.S.":

Ted Cruz: Banning Anti-Gay Discrimination In Public Services Like Forcing A Rabbi To Eat Pork

In an interview with Dana Loesch on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz praised Indiana’s new “religious liberty” law, which goes even further than similar measures in other states to allow businesses to discriminate against customers in providing services.

Deliberately obfuscating the history of the bipartisan federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was skewed by the Supreme Court in its Hobby Lobby decision, Cruz claimed that Democrats have recently “decided that religious liberty is disposable, that it is unnecessary” and “accordingly, we have a vilification of people who are engaging in acting out their faith.”

Cruz declared that a “partisan leftist group” is now “demonizing the state of Indiana for acting to protect religious liberty there.”

Harkening back to the Pilgrims, who he said (inaccurately) wanted “a land where every one of us could seek out the Lord God Almighty free of government getting in the way,” Cruz said that “we really have gone through the proverbial looking glass that there is now a concerted effort targeting people of faith.”

Laws preventing businesses from discriminating against LGBT people in public services or requiring them to offer full health care coverage for female employees, he implied, are as much as an infringement on religious liberty as forcing a rabbi to eat pork.

“Nobody in their right mind would force a Catholic priest to perform a Protestant wedding. Likewise, nobody in their right mind would force a Jewish rabbi to perform a Christian wedding or, for that matter, to violate kosher and go consume pork,” he said. “We have long had a tradition from the beginning of this country of respecting religious liberty and accommodating and respecting the good-faith religious views of our citizens.”

“And it is only the intolerance of the current day of the far-left that views with which they disagree — the far-left is such a radical proponent of gay marriage that anyone whose faith teaches to the contrary, anyone whose faith teaches that marriage is a sacrament of one man and one woman, a holy union before God, the far-left views that religious view as unacceptable and they’re trying to use the machinery of the law to crush those religious views. And I think it is wrong, I think it is intolerant, and I think it is entirely inconsistent with who we are as a people,” he added.

Mike Farris: 'Nazi Germany Would Be Proud' Of Efforts To Rollback Indiana's Discrimination Law

Mike Farris, the Religious Right activist who leads Patrick Henry College and the Home School Legal Defense Association, appeared on “The Lars Larson Show” on Tuesday to defend Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law. Farris dedicated most of the interview to claiming — falsely — that Indiana’s law is no different from other versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed on the federal level and in other states.

“We are going backwards on religious liberty, back to the Dark Ages of toleration, back to the witch trials, back to the very kinds of things that caused people to get in their ships and cross the ocean and come to the shores of Virginia and Massachusetts,” Farris said, rather ironically.

“This is not just about gay rights,” Farris continued. “This is about, can New York City pass a law that prohibits circumcision, will Orthodox Jews be prohibited from circumcising their little boys? Will pro-life doctors be forced to participate in abortions?”

If gay rights undermine religious freedom, he warned, then America will transform into Nazi Germany: “This is all about unilateral coercion, it’s political correctness with the regimentation and force that Nazi Germany would be proud of.”

Mat Staver: Gays Just Like Hamas Terrorists

In an interview with WorldNetDaily yesterday, anti-gay legal activist Mat Staver once again compared gay rights advocates to terrorists, telling WND radio host Greg Corombos that the LGBT community won’t stop until it wins a “special, protected, preferred status for homosexuality” and “then if they get that, boy are they going to come and hammer you hard with it.”

“Their agenda doesn’t stop until they are completely dominating anybody who ultimately does not not only agree but promote and affirm their lifestyle,” Staver said. “Their agenda will not stop, it will ultimately result in fines and prosecution. This is an intolerant agenda.”

He went on to liken gay rights supporters to the Hamas terrorists who control the Gaza Strip: "This is like dealing with terrorists, negotiating with people who have a zero-sum game and they don’t want you to exist. It is like the Palestinians and the Israelis: the Palestinians in Gaza don’t like the Jews to exist in the land, so no matter how much land you give them for so-called peace, it doesn’t really satisfy them. There is no satisfying this radical agenda, they don’t want you to exist. If you do exist, they want you to promote and applaud their sinful lifestyle.”

Pat Robertson: Gays Will Force You To Like Anal Sex, Bestiality

Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson repeated his criticism of the gay community in the wake of the controversy surrounding a new Indiana law which gives businesses the right to deny service to LGBT customers, among others.

Robertson dismissed the concerns of the owners of an Indiana pizzeria who feared that they would have to serve pizza at a same-sex couples’ wedding, saying that the business owners “might as well keep their mouth shut” since it was “the cake-makers that are having the problem.”

This led Robertson to a tirade about how gay people will force others to embrace anal sex and bestiality.

“It doesn’t matter what custom you’ve got, it doesn’t matter what holy thing that you worship and adore, the gays are going to get it,” Robertson said. “They’re going to make you conform to them. You are going to say you like anal sex, you like oral sex, you like bestiality, you like anything you can think of, whatever it is. And sooner or later you are going to have to conform your religious beliefs the group of some aberrant thing. It won’t stop at homosexuality.”

Robertson said that polygamy and “sex with animals” will “come next” as a result of the gay rights movement: “They’re going to be saying, ‘You’re intolerant, you’re intolerant, you’re trying to mitigate against these nice people who like dogs, what’s wrong with you?’” He then ranted about temporary marriages in Iran, which he claimed are a key component of Islam. (In reality, the majority of Muslims reject such temporary marriages, which only find support within the Twelver branch of Shia Islam).

Bryan Fischer: Clarifying Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law Will Lead To Slavery

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer voiced his opposition to any effort to clarify Indiana's "religious freedom" law, warning that doing so will result in Christians in the state being pushed into slavery.

As Fischer explained it, when Gov. Mike Pence said that the law should be clarified to make clear that no business will have the right to deny services to customers, he seemed to be signaling that religious bakers or florists or photographers will be compelled to provide their services to gay weddings, which is unconstitutional because slavery was outlawed under the Thirteenth Amendment.

"I'm afraid Governor Pence is dangerously close to allowing the homosexual lobby to get the state of Indiana," he warned, "to compel people to provide labor against their will.  What do we call it when people are compelled to provide labor against their will? Involuntary labor, what do we call that, ladies and gentlemen? That is involuntary servitude, that is slavery, that is something that is forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment":

Mat Staver: 'Demonic' Gay Rights Advocates Are Acting Like Terrorists

In an interview yesterday, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver said that a potential fix to Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law ensuring that it would not effectively legalize discrimination would be “devastating,” comparing such a move to negotiating with terrorists.

“There is nothing to clarify and there is nothing to fix,” Staver told Jim Schneider on VCY America’s “Crosstalk.”

“This is what the homosexual lobby wants to do: they want to intimidate [Indiana Gov. Mike Pence] so much, they want to try to embarrass him into doing something that is absolutely foolish, that will promote their agenda,” Staver added.

“It’s kind of like with these terrorists, it’s hard to negotiate with terrorists because they have a zero-sum game. It’s hard to negotiate with these people who simply are irrational and are inventing things that just simply don’t exist. You’re not going to placate them by trying to come back and pass a clarification to a law that doesn’t need any clarification at all.”

Staver told host Jim Schneider that gay rights advocates are promoting “anti-Christian hatred,” warning that the gay rights movement has “given a tolerance message, and what is behind that is, frankly, demonic. It wants to literally overpower, it has no interest in protecting religious freedom, it wants to crush it.”

“This is the wakeup call for the church,” he said.

Staver said that conservative Christians in America are in the same place as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor in Germany who died as a result of his opposition to Nazi rule.

The gay rights movement, Staver said, is all about “absolute intolerant bigotry, hatred towards Christians and people of faith,” and even the “criminalization of Christianity.”

“They want to literally crush religion, the free exercise of religion, and freedom,” Staver said. “That’s what this agenda is about. So I say stand your ground. This is a Bonhoeffer moment and Gov. Mike Pence better not back up on this issue.”

Arkansas Governor Does Only a Partial Retreat on RFRA

Gov. Hutchinson's call for a RFRA bill paralleling the federal one still leaves the door open to discrimination, thanks to the Hobby Lobby ruling.
PFAW

Religious Right Pundit: Criticism Of Indiana's Discrimination Law Will Lead To Anti-Christian Genocide

Conservative columnist John Zmirak, who serves as senior editor of televangelist James Robison’s new outlet The Stream, writes today that “the hate that has been spewed at the state of Indiana in the past week” will lead to bloodshed and violence akin to the genocidal campaigns targeting Tutsis in Rwanda and Armenians in Turkey.

He writes that gay marriage supporters are bent on vilifying all Christians to the point that society turns against them, which will “tear up the civil peace in this country, forcing millions of Americans to choose between church and state.”

“If Indiana caves and guts its religious freedom law — as Gov. Mike Pence has already promised — it will prove an equal triumph for those who are so enraged at Christian teaching that they are willing to persecute Christians,” Zmirak writes. “Should we engage in large-scale, non-violent civil disobedience, as black Americans once did in the face of Jim Crow laws? We have the numbers to bring this country to a sudden screeching halt, if we can stand up to the media’s blows and spitting.”

Sample the hate that has been spewed at the state of Indiana in the past week, and faithful Christians in recent years, by gay activists and their allies. We are “bigots,” “Neanderthals” and “haters,” whose views must be ritually rejected by anyone hoping to keep a job in today’s America — even in a Catholic high school. Where will this end? Is there a logical stopping point for this aggression, where Christians are left in peace?

History teaches that mass vilification rarely stops short of spilling blood. The French Jacobins who spent the 1780s slandering the clergy in pornographic pamphlets went on in the 1790s to slaughter Christians by the hundreds of thousands. The Turks paved the way for killing a million Armenian Christians with a wave of propaganda. The Bolsheviks followed their “anti-God” crusade of the 1920s with starvation camps and firing squads. The Communist governments of Eastern Europe obeyed the same script, as scholar Anne Applebaum documents in her sobering study The Iron Curtain. The Hutu government of Rwanda prepared for its assault on the once-powerful Tutsis by incessantly describing them as “cockroaches” on radio broadcasts, which triggered a genocide.

If the media, the law and our elite institutions succeed in lumping Christian sexual morals in with white racism, how long will it be before believing Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox (and many religious minorities) find themselves labelled as members of “extremist sects,” no more to be trusted with the care of their own children than the Branch Davidians were?



It’s stunning how quickly the demands of gay activists went from libertarian (“Don’t arrest us for sodomy”) to totalitarian (“Take part in our weddings or we’ll destroy your livelihoods.”)



If Indiana caves and guts its religious freedom law — as Gov. Mike Pence has already promised — it will prove an equal triumph for those who are so enraged at Christian teaching that they are willing to persecute Christians.

If these zealots succeed, they will tear up the civil peace in this country, forcing millions of Americans to choose between church and state. If laws or government policies beggar Christian businesses, close Christian colleges and schools and force faithful Christians into third-class citizenship — making us virtual dhimmis, like the Christian Copts in Egypt — what should we do? What should be our response now that we know what they want to do, and are overplaying their hand, but before they complete their coup d’etat?



Should we engage in large-scale, non-violent civil disobedience, as black Americans once did in the face of Jim Crow laws? We have the numbers to bring this country to a sudden screeching halt, if we can stand up to the media’s blows and spitting. Those who resist these unjust laws will be treated with all the violence and contempt that was poured out on the pro-life Operation Rescue in the 1980s and ’90s. Local cops from West Hartford, Connecticut, to Los Angeles, California, brutalized teenagers, old women, even nuns and pregnant mothers.

Alan Keyes: Gay Rights May Lead To The 'Extinction Of Humanity'

Warning that the legalization of same-sex marriage will somehow jeopardize the survival of humankind, Alan Keyes writes today that states like Indiana are right to pass laws which could discriminate against gay and lesbian couples.

Keyes writes in a column at BarbWire that the purpose of marriage is “to perpetuate the human species” since it is “sourced in the authority of the Creator, and therefore antecedent to any and all humanly constructed rights.”

“Given that same sex couplings are, as such, barren,” he adds, they therefore do not have the right to marry: “For if made into a law for all, over time the concrete material manifestation of humanity would cease to exist.”

“This large-scale extinction of humanity now seems to be an acceptable goal for some elements of what I call the elitist faction,” Keyes said. “For the sake of the earth, of ecology, of environmental balance and purity, they seem to have conceived a righteous hatred against the existence of the human species, and therefore against its procreation.”

In recent years, some judges and justices in the U.S. judicial branch have construed the Constitution so as to fabricate so-called “homosexual marriage rights”. In doing so they have supported the demand that same sex couplings and those of people of different sexes be held in the same regard under the law, and be treated the same when it comes to the legal institution of marriage. When regarded strictly in term of the activities of individuals, this may appear plausible to some people. But as an artifact of just sovereign power, the law cannot be exclusively concerned with individuals when it deals with matters that affect the very nature of humanity itself. In that respect, is there a more obviously natural common good than the perpetuation of humanity as such?

There can be no dispute about the fact that, before some judges and justices in the U.S. judiciary launched their insurrection against their will, the people of the United States defined marriage in terms of the natural common good. They respected, in principle, that institution’s special (i.e., of or related to the species) purpose in relation to the survival of the human race. In this respect, marriage exactly corresponds to an activity that is existentially inseparable from the very nature of humanity, in the most common and concrete sense of the term. Thus understood, marriage is self-evidently an unalienable right, sourced in the authority of the Creator, and therefore antecedent to any and all humanly constructed rights, whatever they may be.

The organic law of the United States acknowledges the authority of the Creator as the primordial and highest authority for the exercise of rights, which is to say, for the lawful permission to do what it is right to do. Right is not sourced in human will, but in the will of the Creator. It is, as President Lincoln put it, “right, as God gives us to see the right.” Unless we mean to deny that it is right, in principle, to perpetuate the human species the right of marriage, defined in terms of that purpose, cannot be denied or disparaged by merely human laws and judgments, including the Constitution of the United States.

The Constitution’s Ninth Amendment simply acknowledges, in a general way, what the unalienable right of marriage makes manifest in a concrete and specific way. The judges and justices who assert and demand enforcement of “marriage equality” for same sex couplings therefore face the burden of proving that, like the marriage couplings of men with women, same sex couplings are essential to the concrete perpetuation of the species as a whole. Given that same sex couplings are, as such, barren, this burden appears, on the face of it, impossible to sustain; and of course the U.S. courts have not done so.

No amount of reasoning as to the subjective gratification individuals derive from the spiritual, emotional or physical aspect of same sex couplings is relevant to this burden of proof. It has to do with humanity as a concrete fact, not as a subjective abstraction. This explains the general prejudice of mankind against the institutionalization of such couplings. For if made into a law for all, over time the concrete material manifestation of humanity would cease to exist.

This large-scale extinction of humanity now seems to be an acceptable goal for some elements of what I call the elitist faction. For the sake of the earth, of ecology, of environmental balance and purity, they seem to have conceived a righteous hatred against the existence of the human species, and therefore against its procreation. This may seem right according to their will. But the standard of right on which lawfulness depends, according to the declaration and ordinance by which the people of the United States constitute a nation, is God’s will, not theirs.

Right-Wing Pundit: 'Gov. Pence Is The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of 2015'

Writing today in WorldNetDaily, Liberty Counsel communications director Charla Bansley proposed that pastors and “those victimized by religious intolerance” from all around the country hold a massive rally in Indianapolis to defend Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law.

“Gov. Pence is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of 2015,” the Religious Right activist wrote.

She also made the erroneous claim that the Indiana law is just like other versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Can conservatives responding to the recent controversy in Indiana over religious freedom learn anything from liberals about messaging? After the Michael Brown shooting, liberal leaders from the left, such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and secular progressive communities from across America seized the opportunity and flocked to Ferguson, Missouri, to take over the narrative, blaming Brown’s death on “institutional racism.” Universities as far away as George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, held diversity discussions. College students from all over the country joined the crowds walking the streets chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Today, the church must contend for the faith and the faithful in like manner. What churches and religious universities will take a page out of the liberal playbook to rally, to march, to hold candle vigils and to speak out? What pastors will go to Indianapolis to stand by Gov. Mike Pence and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? Which organizations will help pay the way for those victimized by religious intolerance – bakers, photographers, venue owners – to make their way to Indianapolis? When will we as a church begin matching our words with action? If not now, then when?



Pence said Sunday that the new state law “is not about discrimination. This is about empowering people to confront government overreach.” Unfortunately, those words went over the heads of most people watching the interview. Homosexual activists went to the streets claiming the law would legalize discrimination, and Americans believed the false narrative. The truth is a federal RFRA was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and 19 other states have passed similar laws, but not one case of discrimination exists. The real cases of discrimination are the religious businesses who have been sued for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding: the Catholic B&B owners who didn’t want to host a same-sex wedding in Vermont, the baker in Oregon, the photographer in New Mexico, the florist in Washington and a host of others.

Gov. Pence is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of 2015, courageously defending the bakers, photographers, florists, ministers, county clerks, and owners of wedding venues who, after a lifetime of acquiring skills and building businesses, have seen their livelihoods destroyed, forced to pay exorbitant fines and even threatened with jail.

Pat Robertson: Americans Must Resist 'Totalitarian Dictators' Of 'The Gay Lobby'

On “The 700 Club” today, Pat Robertson denounced elected officials and business leaders for “caving” to the “gay lobby” in criticizing a new “religious liberty” law in Indiana.

“They’re not liberal, they’re totalitarian dictators,” Robertson said of the law’s critics. “They’re going to force you into their mold, they’re going to make you conform to political correctness, they’re going to make you do what the Left thinks is right, they’re going to make you acknowledge homosexual marriage, they’re going to make you embrace lifestyles that you think are anti-biblical despite your religious belief.”

Robertson continued: “The fact that these gays are making such a fuss of it and businesses are caving, businesses all over the country are caving, they are terrified of the gay lobby, terrified of the gay lobby. Don’t we have any backbone left in this country?”

Robertson’s comments followed a CBN News report which falsely suggested that Indiana’s new law is no different from previous federal and state versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Gov. Pence's Claims Ignore Indiana "Religious Freedom" Law's History

Indiana's Mike Pence is less than convincing in his claims about that state's new RFRA law.
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Hobby Lobby Comes Home to Roost as States Consider "Religious Freedom" Legislation

This op-ed was originally published at The Huffington Post.

Over the last twenty years, 19 states have passed laws modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was enacted in 1993 with broad bipartisan support. But just this year, almost the same number, 15, have seen such bills introduced, generating enormous controversy across the country, particularly in Indiana where Gov. Mike Pence signed the new state RFRA into law.

Why the huge uptick now? As one of those involved in the original drafting and passage of RFRA in 1993, I think it's a combination of the perceived dangers to the far right from the move towards LGBT marriage equality and the perceived opportunity created just last year by the 5-4 Supreme Court's rewriting of RFRA in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

Even before the Supreme Court agreed to decide the marriage equality issue, the far right has highlighted the supposed dangers to small businesses like bakers and florists who do not want to serve LGBT couples because of religious objections. Under RFRA as passed in 1993, and under the protection from the First Amendment's Free Exercise doctrine that it was meant to restore, RFRA wouldn't have offered much help. First, neither had been applied to non-religious corporations, which had never been thought to have religious freedom rights. Second, it would have been very hard to argue that a neutral law banning discrimination against LGBT people would have created a "substantial burden" on actual religious exercise, which is required to qualify for a RFRA-type exemption. For example, in one case the Supreme Court rejected the claim that requiring federal welfare recipients to submit social security numbers was such a burden even when it conflicted with an applicant's religious beliefs. And even if such a burden were created by obeying an anti-discrimination or other general law, pre-Hobby Lobby law would not have helped a religious claimant: as the Court ruled in rejecting a religious exemption to a requirement that a religious farmer withhold social security taxes, such an exemption would improperly "operate to impose the employer's religious faith on the employees" and others.

But then came Hobby Lobby.

In that case, writing for a bare majority of the Court, Justice Alito ruled that religious objections by a corporation's owners exempted them under RFRA from providing contraceptive coverage through insurance to employees under the Affordable Care Act. As Justice Ginsburg explained in dissent, rather than interpreting RFRA to restore prior case law, the majority interpreted it as going beyond prior Court decisions to maximize benefits to religious claimants. In particular, she explained, the Court effectively re-wrote RFRA so that it could be invoked by for-profit corporations, and so that the original law protecting individuals against a "substantial burden" on the exercise of religion was transformed to allow claims by a business owner that complying with a neutral law offended their religious beliefs in some way. Under the majority's view, Justice Ginsburg suggested, RFRA could be interpreted to "require exemptions" in cases where religious beliefs were used to justify actions that discriminated on the basis of race, gender, and sexual orientation. Pointedly, Justice Alito responded only that "prohibitions on racial discrimination" would be safe from a RFRA exemption claim, but said nothing about gender or LGBT status.

So for far-right activists and legislators concerned about LGBT marriage equality and other rights, Hobby Lobby provided the perfect opportunity: pass state RFRA laws and effectively grant a religious exemption claim from LGBT anti-discrimination laws and local ordinances, based on the Court's re-writing of RFRA's language. Indeed, in communicating with supporters about the Indiana RFRA law, the far-right Family Research Council specifically called it the "Hobby Lobby bill."

Even better, rhetoric directed at outsiders could be cloaked in general language about protecting religious freedom, not attacking LGBT rights. Supporters could even invoke Democratic supporters of RFRA like President Clinton and claim that neither RFRA nor its state counterparts had been interpreted to allow discrimination, as Indiana Gov. Pence has tried to do. These claims ignore the fact that it wasn't until last year that the Supreme Court effectively rewrote the language in RFRA so that it was transformed from a shield for religious liberty into a sword against anti-discrimination protections. And previous supporters like President Clinton have made clear their opposition to this year's state RFRA proposals.

Under pressure, the neutral façade of recent state RFRA proposals has crumbled. When pushed to amend a state RFRA proposal in Georgia to make clear that it could not be used against anti-discrimination ordinances, a Georgia legislator admitted that one of the reasons for the bill was to allow it to be invoked by the small business owner who had religious objections to providing services to an LGBT couple. And when an amendment was added in the Georgia House Judiciary Committee to state that the RFRA bill was not to be used against discrimination laws, the bill was promptly tabled on March 26, with a supporter stating that the amendment would "gut" the bill.

As of now, the fate of RFRA bills in Georgia and elsewhere is uncertain and Gov. Pence has asked the legislature for an amendment to "clarify" that Indiana's RFRA law cannot be used to deny services to anyone. That would be a welcome step - one that flies in the face of the clear intent of some of the bill's backers, which was clearly to enshrine such a "right" for Indiana businesses. Language has been adopted elsewhere to make clear that state RFRAs cannot be used against anti-discrimination bills; such a provision is currently in Texas' RFRA, although there is a proposal to remove it. Before Hobby Lobby, such language might not have been necessary. After Hobby Lobby, it is crucial.

PFAW
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