March 29, 2015


Update (April 2nd): Indiana Republicans seem to be getting the message that their so-called religious freedom law, Senate Bill 101, is going to continue to receive tremendous negative backlash and ridicule from around the country and is making their state look really bad.

From the Huffington Post:

Indiana’s Republican legislative leaders have unveiled changes to the state’s new religious objections law that has faced criticism it could allow discrimination against lesbians and gays.

The amendment to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act released Thursday prohibits service providers from using the law as a legal defense for refusing to provide services, goods, facilities or accommodations. It also bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.

The ball may end up being back in Governor Pence’s court to make the amendments officially part of the law, so we’ll see how willing he is to stick to his guns in the face of the intense criticism he has received as well as the change of heart of his own party now.


Update: Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray banned  government-funded travel to Indiana as a boycott of the law that has the potential to discriminate against gays and others. 

Bonus: How to be a True Christian, by elephant founder Waylon Lewis, who loved his Sunday School:

Bonus: Best response I’ve seen to Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Act”

discrimination indiana


Governor Pence, gay rights

Let’s Get Real. {op-ed Re: Indiana Politics}

I long for the day when I hear an honest answer from a politician.

I live for a time when anyone in Washington is willing to be honest about their intent—one of the most important aspects of living a life of Dharma.

I would love for Indiana Governor Mike Pence to just be honest and come out and say, “I am signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because my beliefs align with those of Christian fundamentalists.” I could respect the honesty, even as I loathe the message.

But no, Governor Pence signed the act into law on Thursday and claimed, through Spokesperson Kara Brooks, that “this bill is not about discrimination and does not in any way legalize discrimination in Indiana.”

Except that it does, and he knows it.

And now that the fallout is blowing down like toxic rain, Governor Pence is proposing new legislation to “clarify” the law he passed a mere three days ago.

Seriously, Mr. Pence, you can’t clarify hate.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act intends to prevent the government from infringing on any individual’s religious beliefs, though in actuality it is a key to the candy store for Christian fundamentalists who wish to use religion to discriminate against LGBT persons.

Under the law, any business in Indiana may claim religious freedom to deny service to LGBT individuals, and then to cry religious persecution if said individuals point a finger and cry “bullshit.” It’s a nifty one-way street, and it is shameful business.

And now that the real-world consequences of the law are presenting themselves—NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has suggested pulling the NCAA Final Four from Indianapolis, and Angie’s List has halted plans for a $40 million/1,000 job expansion of their Indianapolis headquarters—Governor Pence is backtracking, seeking to “clarify” the language of the bill.

How about being honest and announcing flat-out that your “clarification” means that discrimination against the LGBT community, as a gift to fundamentalist zealots, will be perfectly legal, Governor Pence? How about total honesty and transparency for a change?

Yes, I have some major skin in this game. I have friends whom I love dearly and would take a bullet for, some of whom happen to be gay. And if you mess with their basic fundamental human rights, you’re messing with my pen and me.

But also, as a fledgling Buddhist warrior, I can think of few things more important to a healthy, balanced existence than acting according to good intention. Be honest, say what you mean, mean what you say.

If you honestly think it’s more important for a baker to be able to scream religious freedom and deny a cake to a gay couple than it is for said gay couple to have a blissful matrimony, just say it. If you really think it’s no big deal for Angie’s List to pull $40 million and 1,000 jobs from the state coffers because it’s more important that a Fox News watching shut-in can have the freedom to file a religious persecution case against a store with a rainbow flag, why not admit it?

Stand by your convictions, Governor. That’s what convictions are all about, right?

Why live your life so far out of balance, Governor? Why not get real and admit where you stand?

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Relephant Link:

The single best Gay Rights video I’ve ever seen.


Author: Brian Westbye

Editor: Emma Ruffin

Photo: Flickr

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Scott Snedeker Mar 31, 2015 3:49am

I label this as ” The Hetero-Supremacist movement”. Hetero-Supremacy = using elected power of legislature to grant an Inflated sense of entitlement to enjoy dark gratification gained from harming others based on an individual’s Capacity for Intimacy, These are predators in the sanctimonious disguise of religious faith. They commit the violence of oppression taught to them by emotionally disturbed people. They fear that without open supremacy guaranteed to them by law that gay people enjoying equal freedom, protection and entitlement will no longer be a readily available prey for their appetite.

john Mar 30, 2015 11:32pm

…and the ignorant masses keep following…
For those of you die-hard republican voters who still have not connected the dots I will spell out, in very simple terms, what this law is all about.
Once again a Republican politician is pandering to the lower levels of the party to get as many votes as possible. Reeling in the bigots guarantee more votes for a governor who could not even explain or justify the law on TV news stations. He cannot explain the law as he probably doesn’t quite understand it himself. He thought it would be a local news item. He never thought he would actually have to explain to the rest of the USA his ignorant thought patterns or worse, the biased opinions of his backers.

Republicans voters wake up. Your religious beliefs have been hijacked by the very party you trust. They care less about your beliefs and more for the corporations financing their lifestyles.

Republican voters – you have been fooled by the emperor wearing no clothes yet you choose not to see the naked truth.

Brian Westbye Mar 30, 2015 12:21pm

I expected that the comments would veer away from the original point of my article, which is fine. But I do want to go back to my original point, which is that I would like, for once, to see an honest explanation of the reasoning behind a bill. I would like to see Mike Pence man up and say, “I am pandering to my Christian base and allowing a law that allows discrimination under the guise of ‘religious freedom’”. Fine. I may hate that message, but I would respect the honesty. But nope: Pence kicked the simple yes-or-no “does this law allow discrimination against LGBT persons” question repeatedly on ABC yesterday. Why not just be honest? If you’re going to pander to your Christian right base, why not admit their right to exist and believe whatever they want to (and I fully support this right)? And why sugarcoat your beliefs under the guise of “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric? During the 2012 elections, TV ads ran in Maine featuring a couple who ran a B&B in Vermont and claimed they were sued because they refused a gay wedding because of their religious beliefs. As it turns out, the B&B owners refused the wedding despite the fact that LGBT persons are protected from discrimination under VT law, thus their choice to refuse the wedding was illegal. Well, why not just say, “we broke this law because we find it personally immoral”? I could respect that kind of honesty, even if I despise the message. Just be honest about your beliefs. That’s all I ask, and all I wanted to express with this article. Carry on.

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Brian Westbye

Brian Westbye is a freelance writer with a passion for a great story. When not at the day job, he is feverishly working on writing his way out of the day job, penning fiction, memoir and poetry at his blog; op-ed at salon.com and commercial copywriting here. He can found on Facebook and Twitter. He is currently working on his first book, a memoir ode to the Great American Road Trip and the Great American Midlife Crisis. World Domination will follow.