Moses said to the people in his final charge "I put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...Be strong and resolute..for the Lord will not forsake you" Deut. 30 and 31. Former US National Debate Champion and Ordained Rabbi tackles issues of Public Policy, Israel, Islamic Terrorism, Antisemitism, Jewish Wisdom and the Chicago Bears
Monday, March 30, 2015
The left/Democrats lying about the Indiana law. Liberals against liberty and for coercion.
Question: your liberal friends crying out against this law, are they ok forcing Muslim butchers to provide pork chops to a wedding? or
1. It has been the law of the land since 1993 sined into law by Democrat Bill Clinton. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/17/us/clinton-signs-law-protecting-religious-practices.html
2. Many states have this law. Courts haven't allowed discrimination under similar laws covering the federal government and 19 other states. Arkansas is poised to follow in Indiana's footsteps, with a final vote expected next week in the House on legislation that Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he'll sign
3. It is the law of the land with Supreme Court case Hobby Lobby this summer. What did the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case really mean?
The Hobby Lobby case was a great victory for religious freedom. The Court held that David and Barbara Green, Hobby Lobby’s owners, and other companies with just a few owners – so-called “closely held companies” – do not lose their religious liberties when they go into business. The ruling does not apply to public companies with thousands of shareholders like General Motors and Microsoft.
so why is the left hysterical about this? They want to force orthodox rabbis and catholic priests to HAVE to officiate at gay weddings, and they want to destroy Gov. Mike pence (very pro Israel) if Indiana who is thinking of running for GOP nomination for president.
Washington Post concludes Indiana law does not materially differ from others.
What will the Indiana religious freedom law really do?
Gov. Pence: Religious law ‘not about discrimination’(1:07)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence vigorously defended the state’s new religious objections law. Businesses and organizations including the NCAA pressed concerns that it could open the door to legalizing discrimination against gay people. (AP)
The enactment of a state religious freedom law in Indiana has provoked afirestorm of protest. Although the law is quite similar to those on the booksin over a dozen other states, as well as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), some claim that the law authorizes discrimination against homosexuals and same-sex couples and trumps state-level nondiscrimination laws. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, this law will “allow people to discriminate against their neighbors.”
Are the claims made against the new Indiana law accurate?Not really. This law, like other RFRAs, merely requires that state laws meet a demanding, but hardly insurmountable, test before infringing upon the religious practice or conscience of religious believers. If the law imposes a substantial burden on religious belief, the law must yieldunlessthe law serves a compelling state interest and is the least burdensome way to advance that interest. Here’smore backgroundon how these sorts of laws work.
RFRA laws are common, as shown by this map. Whether or not such laws are good policy, they are about accommodating religious belief, not authorizing discrimination.
Courts have routinely upheld the application of nondiscrimination laws against RFRA-based challenges on the grounds that preventing discrimination is a compelling state interest. Of course it’s possible that a court in the future would reach a different conclusion, but there’s no reason to think such a result is likely, and there is nothing about the Indiana law that makes it a particular threat in this regard. That is, such a court decision is just as possible in one of the other dozen-plus states that has had its own RFRA on the books for years or in one of the many other states that have equivalent protections for religious belief under their state constitutions.
The Indiana RFRA is not identical to every other RFRA, but the textual differences are not particularly material. Here, for instance, is a useful comparison of the Indiana law and the federal RFRA, as applied in the courts.
Do some RFRA supporters hope that such laws will allow individuals or companies to discriminate against homosexuals? Sure. But that is not what the text of the Indiana RFRA actually does. That’s important because courts generally apply the text of the law as written over the unenacted intentions of some subset of a bill’s supporters. Indeed, this debate is just one more example of why the textualist approach to statutory interpretation is a good idea. In any event, this debate is somewhat moot in Indiana because it doesn’t have a state law barring sexual orientation discrimination on the books.
Are there any scenarios in which a state-level RFRA might result in an individual business owner denying service to a same-sex couple? Perhaps. The most likely scenario would be something like a religious wedding planner refusing to help plan a wedding that violates his or her religious beliefs. But even if such laws eventually allow this sort of thing, it is a far cry from, in Tim Cook’s formulation, a general license to discriminate against one’s neighbors.
To be clear, my point here is not to defend the enactment of state-level RFRAs. I am ambivalent about such laws and generally prefer the authorization of religious exemptions from generally applicable laws on a case-by-case basis. Whatever the wisdom of these RFRAs, it is important for the debate over such laws be based upon what these laws actually do."
Which is interesting because in 1993, Bill Clinton signed the federal RFRA bill into law. A bill which was introduced by Chuck Schumer D-NY and it passed with only three dissenting votes. The Indiana bill is the same language and says nothing about "gays".
Takei says he won't come to a convention in Indiana...but he attends the Chicago Gay Pride Parade regularly and Illinois has had the same law since 1998. In fact, I'm just waiting for Obama to say something about the Indiana RFRA law...he voted for the Illinois law while a state senator in 1998.
States with RFRAs There are 19 states that have adopted a state version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the federal law does not apply to state-level court cases. Alabama (state constitution amendment) Connecticut Florida Idaho Illinois Indiana Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Mississippi Missouri New Mexico Oklahoma Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia
The New Intolerance
Indiana isn’t targeting gays. Liberals are targeting religion.
In the increasingly bitter battle between religious liberty and the liberal political agenda, religion is losing. Witness the media and political wrath raining down upon Indiana because the state dared to pass an allegedly anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The question fair-minded Americans should ask before casting the first stone is who is really being intolerant.
The Indiana law is a version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that passed 97-3 in the Senate and that Bill Clinton signed in 1993. Both the federal and Indiana laws require courts to administer a balancing test when reviewing cases that implicate the free exercise of religion.
PHOTO: GARY WATERS/IKON IMAGES/CORBIS
To wit: Individuals must show that their religious liberty has been “substantially burdened,” and the government must demonstrate its actions represent the least restrictive means to achieve a “compelling” state interest. Indiana’s law adds a provision that offers a potential religious defense in private disputes, but then four federal appellate circuits have also interpreted the federal statute to apply to private disputes.
The federal RFRA followed the Supreme Court’s Employment Division v. Smith ruling in 1990 that abandoned its 30-year precedent of reviewing religious liberty cases under strict scrutiny. Congress responded with RFRA, which merely reasserted longstanding First Amendment protections.
In 1997 the Supreme Court limited RFRA’s scope to federal actions. So 19 states including such cultural backwaters as Connecticut, Rhode Island and Illinois followed with copy-cat legislation, and Indiana is the 20th. Courts in 11 states have extended equally vigorous protections.
Indiana was an outlier before the new law because neither its laws nor courts unambiguously protected religious liberty. Amish horse-drawn buggies could be required to abide by local traffic regulations. Churches could be prohibited from feeding the homeless under local sanitation codes. The state Attorney General even ruled Indiana Wesleyan University, a Christian college which hires on the basis of religion, ineligible for state workforce training grants.
Becket Fund Executive Director Kristina Arriaga discusses the controversy surrounding the Hoosier State’s religious freedom law. Photo credit: Associated Press.
In February, 16 prominent First Amendment scholars, some of whom support same-sex marriage, backed Indiana’s legislation. “General protection for religious liberty is important precisely because it is impossible to legislate in advance for all the ways in which government might burden the free exercise of religion,” they explained.
That hasn’t stopped the cultural great and good from claiming Indiana added the religious defense in private disputes as a way to target gays. If this is Indiana’s purpose, and there’s no evidence it is, this is unlikely to work.
The claim is that this would empower, say, florists or wedding photographers to refuse to work a gay wedding on religious grounds. But under the RFRA test, such a commercial vendor would still have to prove that his religious convictions were substantially burdened.
And he would also come up against the reality that most courts have found that the government has a compelling interest in enforcing antidiscrimination laws. In all these states for two decades, no court we’re aware of has granted such a religious accommodation to an antidiscrimination law. Restaurants and hotels that refused to host gay marriage parties would have a particularly high burden in overcoming public accommodation laws.
In any event, such disputes are rare to nonexistent, a tribute to the increasing tolerance of American society toward gays, lesbians, the transgendered, you name it.
The paradox is that even as America has become more tolerant of gays, many activists and liberals have become ever-more intolerant of anyone who might hold more traditional cultural or religious views. Thus a CEO was run out of Mozilla after it turned out that he had donated money to a California referendum opposing same-sex marriage.
Part of the new liberal intolerance is rooted in the identity politics that dominates today’s Democratic Party. That’s the only way to explain the born-again opportunism of Hillary Clinton, who tweeted: “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.”
By that standard, Mrs. Clinton discriminated against gays because she opposed gay marriage until March 2013. But now she wants to be seen as leading the new culture war against the intolerant right whose views she recently held.
The same reversal of tolerance applies to religious liberty. When RFRA passed in 1993, liberal outfits like the ACLU were joined at the hip with the Christian Coalition. But now the ACLU is denouncing Indiana’s law because it wants even the most devoutly held religious values to bow to its cultural agenda on gay marriage and abortion rights.
Liberals used to understand that RFRA, with its balancing test, was a good-faith effort to help society compromise on contentious moral disputes. That liberals are renouncing it 20 years after celebrating it says more about their new intolerance than about anyone in Indiana. If a Jewish person goes into a Muslim restaurant and demands that the Muslim owner cater a bar mitzvah, and the Muslim refuses on religious grounds, is that discrimination? If an orthodox Jewish doctor refuses to perform an abortion, based on his religious beliefs, is that discrimination? If a Catholic priest refuses to perform a same sex-marriage ceremony, based on religious beliefs, if that discrimination?