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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/30/15

No Jews/Hindus/Muslims/Atheists Allowed: What About The Rest, Indiana?

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"Look, the issue here is still: Is tolerance a two-way street or not?"

- Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.

Unfortunately, Governor Pence, your alternate universe is showing: one is either tolerant or intolerant - and if you're saying that we should be tolerant of intolerance, then you're way out of your league, (philosophically speaking). Besides, Christian intolerance has always been with us, but the first time that the law sustains the rights of someone whose lifestyle it doesn't agree with, it's called "persecution" and a volley in the culture wars is known as a deprivation of religious freedom.

Pence appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to discuss the measure he signed last week prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Pence said earlier this weekend that he'll look at a bill to clarify the law's intent if lawmakers send him one.

A bill to clarify a bill. Now that's great government!

And great back-peddling. After a national freak-out via social media and groups across the country (see below), Pence has weakly pandered to the national psyche against discrimination of any kind. So what is the possible bill going to clarify? "Substantially burden" may be vague and too prone to taking advantage in the slightest situation, but any clarification will have to be what constitutes "substantial burden", in that case, sexual orientation can be listed by any religion as a "substantial burden" since some denominations think that being gay is of the devil.

"This is not about discrimination," he said. "This is about empowering people to confront government overreach."

Ooops! Our mistake. The whole thing is about "government overreach". It's about separation of church and state, right? Well, no. Pence said that people will still be free as individuals to pursue suits of discrimination, but the government won't be involved. But isn't it actually about government laying off people who want to use religion as a form of discrimination?

Confusion reigns in Indiana.

Substantially Burdening Cake Bakers

It all started with a request to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The angst created by the incredibly burdensome situation was too much for the Christian Right to bear. Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a Portlan, Oregon-based bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Last February, a judge ruled that the bakery was discriminating: the basis of the argument was that Sweet Cakes was not a registered religious institution.

The Christian Right went nuts.

"Substantially burden" WTF? Doesn't it "substantially burden" a person's belief to serve Christ-killers (Jews), terrorists (Muslims), godless heathens (atheists) and idol-worshippers(Hindus)? Has anyone asked a bakery to make a cake in the form of Shiva? The Quran? The I-Ching?

Hey, they may have, but for some inexplicable reason, only same-sex marriage places a "substantial burden" on bakers.

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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