By Tony Perkins
If anyone looks like a fool this April 1st, it’s corporate America. They’re not only drawing a line in the sand on religious liberty — they’re standing on the wrong side of it with the intolerant Left! After weeks of spewing misinformation, liberals have managed to whip the entire country into a pointless frenzy over a perfectly reasonable religious liberty bill that is almost identical to one heralded by Bill Clinton.
Their propaganda machine has been particularly effective on corporate CEOs, who have spent the last several days firing off indignant press releases about pulling their business from the state — but not before engaging in some epic hypocrisy of their own. Turns out, the companies most outraged by Indiana’s law are the ones contributing to real and sometimes deadly discrimination!
CEO Marc Benioff of SalesForce is arguing that “protecting religious liberty makes travel to Indiana unsafe for customers or employees.” Well, try traveling to China or Iran and see how safe not protecting religious liberty makes you! Mollie Hemingway blew the lid off of Benioff’s double standard in a great piece slamming the company’s international policies. “It’s worth looking at who Benioff happily does business with,” she writes. “The company has a branch based out of Beijing in the People’s Republic of China, a Communist-controlled country that is a human rights nightmare.” Before Benioff gets on his moral high horse, he might want to stop operating in countries where “long jail terms, forced renunciations of faith, and torture in detention… and organ harvesting” are routine. But then again, maybe that’s why Benioff is opposed to Indiana’s freedom law in the first place.
Then, of course, there’s Apple, which takes exception to Indiana’s law for offending homosexuals — but is somehow perfectly okay doing business with nations that stone them. RedState took CEO Tim Cook to task over the company’s selective outrage with a surprising look at the countries “where Apple has a presence — (including not-so-progressive African and Arab regions). See any nations that engage in discrimination? When was the last time Cook objected to a single act of discrimination in any of these countries? Never. He hasn’t. He doesn’t.”
So how is it that these businesses can justify boycotting Indiana, when they consistently turn a blind eye to international partners that deal in child slavery, forced abortions, real sexual persecution, or human trafficking? And if Apple, SalesForce, Angie’s List, and dozens of others are protesting laws that simply protect religious liberty, then they should be warned that they’re taking an incredible risk in doing so. As Hiram Sasser points out in today’s Wall Street Journal, their opposition could be used as evidence that these employers are creating a “hostile work environment for people who support religious freedom protections” if their companies are ever sued.
Contrary to what the media would have you believe, RFRA is not about denying people a seat in a restaurant or a room at a hotel. True, Christians would never refuse people these services — but being forced to participate in a religious ceremony or an abortion procedure that violates religious beliefs is completely un-American and uncivil. “If Apple, and specifically Tim Cook, are serious about using this soapbox to stand up for homosexual rights,” Neil Stevens points out, “then it’s time to get as active about the People’s Republic of China as they are about Indiana. Speak out just as loudly, and if any economic threats are made, they must be applied equally to both.”
And yet, lost in all of this back-and-forth is the reality that this isn’t about standing up for homosexual rights — it’s about standing up for everyone‘s rights. In a civil society, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. But that’s exactly the problem. America, under this administration, is less and less civil — particularly to men and women of faith. There’s no room for polite debate or even coexistence. Instead, the LGBT movement that once said they didn’t want the government to tell them how to live, now wants the same government to tell us what to believe and punish those who fail to comply. Where’s the tolerance in that?
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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