Monday, March 30, 2015

Memo to Indiana: This is the religious freedom you don't have. And never did.

Here is a Constitutional news flash for governor Mike Pence, the Indiana state legislature about their new religious freedom law:

First amendment religious freedom gives someone the right to worship any way you wish.  And believe anything they wish. And express that belief any way you wish . In their personal lives. Not their public or business life .  That's the religious freedom everyone has. And that's all the religious freedom people have.  

Though no one is making a case that the Indiana religious freedom law violates the constitution , the first amendment states:" congress shall make no law with respect to the establishment of religion nor the free exercise thereof". 

Federal law always trumps state law so that any law passed by a state legislature that would establish religion it use religion  as a means to favor or discriminate against anyone is unconstitutional. 

Though the constitution guarantees that no law can be passed that prevents the free exercise of religion that isn't the case with the Indiana law. The first amendment still prohibits any law that allows the exercise  of a religious belief that interferes with the rights of anyone else.  What the Indiana law really says us that gays and lesbians have no rights . Which is why Indiana  is refusing to fix the law by guaranteeing equal rights protections to gays  and lesbians.  Which they already have but apparently not in Indiana. 

In medieval Europe the Christian church which was the most powerful,  and their religious beliefs and  dictums were the justifcation for burning people alive at the stake, most of them women. They also used the force of the power of religious law along with their influence over military power to commit what can only be called atrocities against anyone who rejected  those beliefs in favor of their own. 

Puritans in early America hanged women as witches based on religious beliefs . 

All that ended in America with the U.S. Constitution. 

The so called " religious freedom" law in Indiana justifying the right of any business to refuse to serve anyone who's lifestyle or beliefs offends them based on their own  religious beliefs is not just unconstitutional, though it's not being challenged on those grounds, it's a thinly veiled attempt to impose a statement of moral ideas  on those who don't share them, dont believe them, have no scientific basis, and want nothing to do with them. 

Which is how the KKK used  their religious beliefs against African Americans and anyone else who were outside their ideas of racial purity and claimed religion as their justification. 

And how the Catholic church created and fostered anti-semitism from the days of the emperor Constantine into the 20th century because of the refusal of Jews to accept the church and their teachings, many of which tried to impose tyrannical power over the individual as Thomas Jefferson pointed out in  many of his letters which led to his campaign for the  separation of church and state in America . 

Indiana's law states in part that no law can be passed or enforced that would place "an undue burden" on a person's religious beliefs and that any business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone if doing so offends those beliefs. 

 The U.S. constitution says the opposite -- that no law can be passed based on religion that can put any burden undue or otherwise,  on anyone else for any reason in the exercise of their rights. 

Aside from the fact that Indiana, it's legislature and governor are now being mocked  around the country for a clearly discriminatory law, from a strictly  business point of view its already been a disaster . And unless it's significantly changed, all that's going to be left of Indiana's law is the bad taste it leaves in everyone else's mouth about Indiana.  And it could carry that stigma for a long time to come.  Though they could always hire a gay PR agent to try and change it.

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