The USA, the good old bastion of freedom, already has no shortage of domestic problems, but now a particularly controversial issue rears its ugly head: "Religious freedom."
So what does this mean? Am I not free if I cannot "reject" people who are for example gay and want to marry? Am I not free if I cannot deny contraception to my female employees?
Or is it the other way around? Are the people "at the receiving end" not free if they cannot buy a cake for their gay wedding or receive contraception with their health insurance, as the law orders? Doesn't "religious freedom" also mean that they should be free from the consequences of the religious beliefs of other people?
Well, whatever the answer, it is more than obvious that the people who don't want to sell a cake for a gay wedding are making a lot of noise right now. But the backlash is also considerable. These days, many businesses embrace diversity, and now also embrace gay and lesbians as employees as well as customers. Times have changed. The "Christian conservatives" (as well as "conservatives" from other denominations) have lost the "gay marriage battles", and now it feels like they want to make a "last stand."
But the "conservatives" will lose this battle as well, badly. Big Business already decided that diversity is the preferable option, and big business rules the USA.
Here are some reactions to the current controversy which are worth watching, for different reasons:
Conan TOTALLY nailed it on his show - this will give you a REALLY good laugh:
Then, TYT made a very good report, as usual:
So Governor Mike Pence denies that the new law in Indiana allows discrimination. This is of course total nonsense, as the law clearly was crafted to allow discrimination, but Mike Pence is not known to be particularly bright, as far as I can tell.
However, in order to understand what this law is really all about, we need to listen to its biggest supporters - the Christian conservative extremists. Fortunately, "Right Wing Watch" did the job for us:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been appearing all over the media in the last few days to insist, erroneously, that Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” is no different from other similarly-named laws in other states and will not effectively legalize discrimination.
According to reports, Pence and others may push for the legislature to clarify that the law does not sanction discriminatory practices.
However, Micah Clark of the American Family Association’s Indiana chapter, who stood right behind Pence, along with several other Religious Right leaders, when he signed the bill into law and has quite a record of anti-gay activism, said today that he opposes any such clarification.
He told AFA President Tim Wildmon today that conservatives should call Pence and other state officials and demand that they oppose any effort to clarify that the law does not legalize discrimination: “That could totally destroy this bill.”(In Georgia, supporters of a similar bill also opposed a push to ensure that the legislation will not permit discrimination in business.)
Wildmon agreed, adding that the Indiana law is necessary to protect anti-gay business owners from “persecution.” The law’s critics, Wildmon claimed, are waging “spiritual warfare” against state officials.
"Right Wing Watch" published this very revealing clip:
Don't you suppress me if my religion tells me to hate the gays!
Micah Clark, head of the "American Family Association of Indiana", has quite a track record.
Selection of his anti-gay quotes:
-- Used biblical passage about it being "better to have a millstone tied around your neck and thrown in the sea" in reference to the Boy Scouts accepting gay youth: "What did Christ say about harming the least of these? He said it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown in the sea on the day of judgement than to cause a child to stumble into sin. And if we're going to support organizations telling kids that homosexuality is okay—which is treatable, changeable, you don't have to be homosexual, but if you are, you are at significiantly higher risks of mental harm, pshycial harm, emotional harmm and spiritual harm—we cant be a part of that. (Source; starts around 2:00 mark)
-- An advocate of so-called "ex-gay" therapy, claims "[t]here are scores of organizations across America that help people overcome same-sex attraction disorder and gender identity confusion; his organization promotes three different groups geared toward "changing" gay people
-- Compared a license plate benefitting an LGBT youth center to a plate promoting smoking; claimed the youth center "recruits" gays: "You have to question what the BMV was thinking when they approved a license plate for a group which recruits teens into the homosexual lifestyle. Since health risks do not seem to matter, what is to prevent a cigar club from now getting a license plate from the BMV?"
-- Claims that "homosexuality has no societal benefit...and its individually destructive and dangerous." (*specific quote found at comment labeled "February 07, 2009 at 09:32 AM;" general idea is repeated throughout thread)
-- Publicly raged against a lesbian student who felt more comfortable wearing a tuxedo to her high school prom, claiming her choice was both a "sexual statement" and "destructive"
-- Claimed a political party's support for marriage equality was really "calling for the unraveling of marriage " and was an attempt to "official undermine the family"
-- Chastised media for reporting on openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, putting Collins in the same category as "musicians who run afoul of the law or father multiple children out of wedlock": "It is a strange world we live in when we elevate athletes who deviate from natural norms, we heap fame on musicians who run afoul of the law or father multiple children out of wedlock and turn our backs on those of honorable behavior like Tim Teabow [sic]. We mock or even attack anyone who stands for traditional values. All the while, we continue to wonder why we have so many social problems."
-- In crude blog post subtitled "dude looks like a lady," says a transgender woman who competed in a beauty pageant has "surgically disfigured himself"
Micah Clark is very outspoken on his twitter, and he proudly published this photo, apparently from the signing of SB 101 (this info also according to "Think Progress"), on his twitter:
Yes, Mike Pence really loves the gay-haters.
Somebody on twitter helpfully explained further:
This graphic was created by twitter-user @seamonkey237
No, these crappy people won't win!
Good night, and good luck! :-)
Here are some really good cartoons on this controversy:
In a totally predictable development, called "an incredible reversal" by CNN, the gay-haters suffered total defeat in this battle.
Not only was the controversial bill fixed in record time, but now Indiana got the opposite of what the gay-haters like Micah Clark wanted: For the first time in Indiana history, the rights of gays received legal protection.
Washington (CNN) Indiana's social conservatives wanted a law that insulated them from the gay rights movement. Instead, the state has now enacted protections based on sexual orientation for the first time in its history.
Top Indiana Republican lawmakers overhauled their week-old religious freedom law Thursday with a follow-up measure intended to ease concerns driven by businesses that it could lead to discrimination. Gov. Mike Pence then signed it into law.
The changes appear to have tamped down some of the criticism -- but in doing so Pence and lawmakers infuriated social conservative activists and set the stage for a bigger fight next year over expanding Indiana's anti-discrimination law to cover gays and lesbians.
Republican legislative leaders unveiled their series of changes Thursday morning to the law that triggered intense backlash from businesses, sports associations, pro-LGBT groups and even fiscally-focused conservatives when Pence signed it last week.
The GOP-dominated House and Senate approved a legislative fix, which was added into an unrelated bill, on Thursday, sending it to Pence's desk almost immediately.
Despite last-minute lobbying from conservative groups like Indiana Right to Life to get Pence to veto the fix, the governor signed it Thursday evening.
"In the midst of this furious debate, I have prayed earnestly for wisdom and compassion, and I have felt the prayers of people across this state and across this nation. For that I will be forever grateful," Pence said in a statement.
That's what I call a total victory for diversity!
Needless to say, the gay haters like Micah Clark are livid!
More tweets from him:
Did you see the last tweet! Yes, Micah Clark thinks that the original law "would protect homosexuals with religious faith from Govt infringement"...!
Yes, haven't we all heard about the popular religion of "Gayism", where the gays are expecting to live in gay heaven forever! Finally they could have protected themselves from the dreaded heterosexuals, they just did not realize it, they poor gays!
Or maybe I just didn't understand what Micah Clark was talking about, LOL! Did anyone understand it? Could he himself even explain it?
Well, I guess we will never find out, because after enjoying his 15 minutes in the spotlight, the world will probably never hear of Micah Clark and his anti-gay friends again, as they have single-handedly caused one of the biggest defeats in Republican history!
These are our good news for Easter! Enjoy the happy days!