By Micah Clark – BarbWire guest contributor
In the 2003 western, Open Range, lead actor Robert Duvall tells co-star Kevin Costner’s character, “Most times, a man, he will tell you his bad intentions, if you listen and let yourself hear.” It is a principle that works as well in politics as it did in the Wild West.
There is an outrageous editorial that appeared in northern Indiana yesterday. It may well pop up in many other newspapers across Indiana this week. The editorial is from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest homosexual demands group based in Washington, DC. Their editorial concerns Indiana Senate Bill 101, which is now before the House of Representatives.
This important legislation is known as the Hobby Lobby bill or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). While those opposed to protecting religious liberty want to paint this bill as something radical, in reality, it simply mirrors a federal law that has been in place for over 20 years. In fact, when the federal RFRA was passed in response to an overreaching court decision that threatened individual liberty, the bill passed the US House unanimously. It passed the US Senate with 97 votes and even had the support of the ACLU. Senator Ted Kennedy carried it at the time.
A few years after RFRA was adopted, another court case limited it to federal matters. This caused nineteen states to pass their own RFRA laws, including our neighboring states of Kentucky and Illinois. A young state senator named Barack Obama was one of the supporters of a state RFRA for Illinois.
RFRA laws have a track record in courts across America. We know what they will and will not do. They are a shield protecting religious freedom for all faiths from an overreaching government that may impose an undue burden on the freedom of conscience or the practice of one’s faith. They do not compel an outcome. RFRA laws simply require courts to consider religious liberty as an equally viable interest on the same level as the government entity’s claim behind its action.
So, when unfounded, fear-based claims, are made by groups like HRC, those who understand how RFRA works to protect freedom have the right to be furious with such lies. HRC’s editorial irresponsibly states that SB 101 “could empower police officers to refuse to patrol certain areas.” It could “allow doctors to withhold medically necessary information” and “harm the business climate.” When one does not have the facts to persuade, I must assume that lies are one’s next step. And why not, when the media prints such wild claims without hesitation?
Indiana’s Senate Judiciary committee took over five hours of testimony from various attorneys and law professors who explained exactly what RFRA laws are, and are not. Had someone suggested that SB 101 would allow police to not protect certain parts of a city or doctors to deny care to individuals, or as one homosexual activist claimed, that her son could be kept off a T-Ball team, legislators would likely have laughed them out of the Senate Chamber. Were such claims possible, SB 101 would not have received support from 80% of Indiana’s Senate members when they passed the measure. This is not new, unplowed, legal ground we are seeking.
I can understand how those who place a high value on truth and religious freedom are angry at HRC’s over-the-top editorial. Yet, there was something even more concerning than desperate allegations that readers may have missed. Perhaps seen as a throwaway closing line, the HRC author revealed his ultimate agenda when describing his organization in the final sentence. It read, “HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.”
I have several friends who left the homosexual lifestyle long ago who have told me that in the 60’s and 70’s they remember gay activist mantra was just to be left alone. That changed to a tolerance movement, then a call for special rights, and now it seems the goal as stated here is that everyone “embrace” homosexuality in every community. We can conclude that this includes the church, based upon their actions and opposition to religious freedom. This is a very dramatic shift over time that carries with it some serious implications for our nation.
While it is easy to focus on the wild claims and behaviors of homosexual activists today on issues like SB 101, let’s not ignore the sleight of hand that is happening over time moving from fair treatment, to our being made to embrace homosexuality. To quote Robert Duvall’s character, if we listen, they are telling us their bad intentions.
Micah Clark is the Executive Director of the American Family Association of Indiana.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.