Monday, March 30, 2015

Hoosier Hospitality

Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week signed the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This law institutionalizes intolerance in Indiana – although it's the religious who are shouting about not being tolerated. The RFRA allows Indiana businesses to refuse service to certain individuals by citing their "deeply held religious views". Here is Mike Pence signing this bill into law, surrounded by nuns, Friar Tuck, butter churning prairie pastors and homophobes (one shown here equates gays with bestiality). Is this how you want your lawmakers to look like?
Indiana: A Theocracy in the heartland.
Say you want to patronize a business that purports to serve the public in Indiana. But the bigot owner of the business doesn't like that you are gay. Or Muslim. Or black. Or a divorced woman. Or they just don't like the look of you. They can now cite their beliefs and tell you that you are not welcome. Go find that other water fountain marked "sinner". This bill is nothing but updated (if you can call this regression an update) segregation.

And Pence is facing the justified wrath of not only equality-minded citizens, but major corporations including Apple, Salesforce, the NCAA, now even a boycott by the state of Connecticut. Nobody is telling the deeply religious that they can't practice their faith. Nobody is suggesting they cannot follow the dictates of their god, but here's a tip: if you want to serve only those who think, walk, talk and believe the same as you – do not purport to serve the public. Not that anyone would want to patronize a business that might turn them away because you don't share the same belief system, but how are we supposed to know before being turned away in hurt and humiliation?

I propose an amendment to Indiana's bill that states if you are not willing to serve everyone based on your deeply held bigotry, don't hide behind the newspeak of Religious Freedom Restoration. State it up front, outside for all the world to see, with a big fat sign on your business door: "No gays" "No Atheists" "No Mexicans" "Christians Only". Proclaim it loudly, boldly, for all the world to see just how loving you are. Segregation by any other name smells just as rotten.






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