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With Kasich, It’s Hit-on-Miss.


Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) must have graduated from the Nancy Pelosi School of Public Policy: you have to bash the bill to find out what’s in it. That’s what the GOP candidate (who hasn’t won a single delegate since March 15) says to a Mississippi law he hasn’t even bothered to read. Desperately clawing to stay relevant in a race that’s left him behind, Kasich proved why he wouldn’t even be an acceptable VP choice in last night’s CNN town hall meeting. After telling CBS over the weekend that he’d have forced businesses to do the government’s bidding on bathrooms, the governor dug a bigger hole Monday by sounding like an Obama surrogate on religious liberty.

“I read about this thing they did in Mississippi,” he said, “where apparently you can deny somebody service because they’re gay?” Kasich said. “What the hell are we doing in this country? I mean, look, I may not appreciate a certain lifestyle or even approve of it, but I can — it doesn’t mean I’ve got to go write a law and try to figure out how to have another wedge issue.” Kasich didn’t read it. He read about it. Big difference. As president, I hope he’d do more than take someone else’s word for what a measure as important as Mississippi’s. If Kasich had bothered to look at the bill, he’d know that nothing in H.B. 757 gives anyone — Christians or otherwise — the right to deny services to other people. What it does do is ensure that men and women of faith aren’t punished, fined, suspended, or turned down for government contracts (as dozens have been) for their views on marriage.

What Kasich fails to grasp is that Mississippi’s bill doesn’t create a wedge issue — it helps solve one. A man who’s answer to the clash of freedoms was “Everybody, chill out,” should appreciate that. Under this law, businesses and same-sex couples have the same freedom to live and work according to their own beliefs. But the Ohio Governor, who sounds more like President Obama by the day, insists, “We had a Supreme Court ruling — and you know what, let’s move on.” In other words, move on from your beliefs, from the ancient tenets of your faith. Would he say the same about abortion? Roe v. Wade decided the issue in 1973, so let’s move on? Or the Second Amendment? If eight unelected justices are America’s final moral authority, why bother with policy platforms at all?

“Frankly, if I’m selling cupcakes, why don’t I just sell a cupcake? That’s what I do in commerce,” he argued. “It gets to be a tricky thing about how much you involve somebody against some deeply-held belief. But most of the time, I think we can accommodate one another, don’t you?” Mississippi agreed. That’s what the whole law is about: accommodation. The only reason liberals don’t like it is because it isn’t one-sided accommodation.

Meanwhile, if you want to hear a thoughtful response from someone who cared enough to study the issue, check out Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) response to whether he would sign a measure similar to Governor Phil Bryant’s (R-Miss.) on a national scale. “… You asked about a federal bill. I actually don’t have to wonder about that hypothetically. A federal bill did come up and was passed in the 1990s. It was called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It passed the United States Senate virtually unanimously, virtually every Democrat and virtually every Republican voting for it. It was signed into law [by] a Democrat, Bill Clinton. This used to be noncontroversial. Unfortunately, however, in today’s modern Democratic Party, it has become so radicalized and extreme that today’s Democratic Party has decided supporting religious liberty is inconsistent with their partisan objectives.”


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