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#21 Lockhart

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 01:29 PM

There so much I'd like to say here...but my powers of self-restraint are holding!  :D


Well if opinions can be made civily I don't see why you need restraint.

In my mind the supporting goal, less government in religion, is certainly not a bad one. That being said the potential discrimination opened up by the bill is still a concern. My overall opinion is against (while sexual/ gender orientation remains an unprotected class) because, at a glance, the potential and probable harm seems greater than the good it would provide.
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#22 ThistledownJohn

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 02:17 PM

Well if opinions can be made civily I don't see why you need restraint.
 

 

Please don't misunderstand...me making my opinion known civily is not at all an issue.  It's just that sometimes discussion of these things can go all pear-shaped pretty quickly.  :D

 

I thank you, Lockhart.  You've encouraged me to proceed by your good-spirited comment.  :D

 

Many people of faith, like me (I'm a Roman Catholic) have long felt under attack by the culture and the U.S. government.  We feel a time coming when we may have to make a decision between breaking the law and upholding the tenets of our faith.  This could center around issues of abortion, birth control, traditional marriage, and probably a few other things.  I would guess that this is the thinking behind the writing of laws like we are seeing in Indiana.  I would tend not to believe that they come from an attempt to marginalize certain groups of people, but to ensure that our government abides by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

 

I do understand how some groups fear that the law could be used a screen to get away with discriminatory behavior.  This is a valid concern.

 

From a Catholic perspective, the role of secular governmental bodies is to provide for the common good of those that they serve.  I'm not exactly sure that this law does that.  I do know that discrimination against someone based on who they are (not the things the do, that can be justifiable grounds for discrimination) is not good at all.  I know that a government that would curtail religious expression and practice is not good at all, either.  

 

We current have laws that guard against both of these situations, so I suppose I don't see the need for this additional one, in my opinion. 


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#23 BigJackBrass

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 02:57 PM



We current have laws that guard against both of these situations, so I suppose I don't see the need for this additional one, in my opinion. 

 

This is a key point. The bill supposedly exists to support religious freedom, but that's already covered in the US, so all that is added is the ability to choose to discriminate and have that protected under law as long as you're doing it on religious grounds. It's a massive, hugely dangerous loophole - the actual intention of the bill is almost irrelevant, since this side-effect was clear in its earliest stages. I don't believe there is the slightest chance that there won't be someone who uses the law purely to discriminate and have their own prejudices enforced.

 

Effectively it's saying that people including homosexual and transgender individuals can be discriminated against because someone believes that they're not proper people. Less than human, to be blunt. It sets the causes of justice and equality back decades. Imagine a couple being refused service because they're gay. Now remove "gay" and substitute the word "black" and see if you don't feel just a little uncomfortable.


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#24 Lockhart

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 04:15 PM

Thank you Thistledown. Christian myself and I understand the difficulty in balancing a desire for a government and culture that fits a certain outlook of morality with the overall outlook that the same ideally oft isn't universally shared.

A few more points to add information that I've gleemed on the particular issue:
- Similar legislation does exist on a federal level but States are in so many ways legally their own entity. And while certain provision does exist through constitution, I believe that arguing such things are a high level thing, hence why Indianna (and other states) adopt this as state law.
-Federal wide reaching down to state level, certain classes are protected from discrimination, such as race, gender, and religion. This law does not give the right to discriminate against these factors even for religious purpose. However sexuality isn't federally protected. Some states are (including some that have adopted similar laws as Indianna) but not universally.

If sexuality (and transgender and whatever other term is necessary) were protected against discrimination like race, I would feel more at ease about such laws.

My comprehension of the intent if the law by makers seems to have a bit of a homophobic agenda. To my knowledge they certainly haven't said indicators that they don't intend the bill be used to discriminate.

My understanding at least.
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#25 Lucky_Strike

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 04:22 PM


This is a key point. The bill supposedly exists to support religious freedom, but that's already covered in the US, so all that is added is the ability to choose to discriminate and have that protected under law as long as you're doing it on religious grounds. It's a massive, hugely dangerous loophole - the actual intention of the bill is almost irrelevant, since this side-effect was clear in its earliest stages. I don't believe there is the slightest chance that there won't be someone who uses the law purely to discriminate and have their own prejudices enforced.

Effectively it's saying that people including homosexual and transgender individuals can be discriminated against because someone believes that they're not proper people. Less than human, to be blunt. It sets the causes of justice and equality back decades. Imagine a couple being refused service because they're gay. Now remove "gay" and substitute the word "black" and see if you don't feel just a little uncomfortable.


Or of course "ginger" since they are all witches.

The establishment clause addresses these issues sufficiently from my understanding. That this bill had to try to state it did not infringe upon it makes it doubly suspicious. A "no tagbacks" line as it were.

Arkansas is working with its own even today and the entire affair appears to be a canard to me. It stirs up extremes on both sides while accomplishing little and spending folding green money on legislator and state employee time that likely have more productive uses.
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#26 ThistledownJohn

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 09:09 PM

...Imagine a couple being refused service because they're gay. Now remove "gay" and substitute the word "black" and see if you don't feel just a little uncomfortable.

 

I feel very uncomfortable with both of those conditions. :D 

 

Another aspect of the situation that I find personally unsettling is that the people pushing the law have helped to further the stereotype that religious people (Christians in particular) are homophobes and bigots.  Any follower of Christ, that actually understands the Gospel message can be neither.  I'm glad by my brand has a leader that is attempting to make this evident to the world by his actions...

 

http://www.huffingto...n_6905086.html 


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#27 Aethyr

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 04:40 AM

Wow, I need to check the News and Information section more often. Missed this gem.

 

I'm just glad I don't live somewhere that is doing something so despicable. Pleasedon'tlookpleasedon'tlook!

 

Ahem, er, yes. Anyway, joking aside I'm a bit torn on the Indiana bill. Or perhaps it is I'm more torn on the intention behind the bill. I definitely don't think someone should be turned away, say, from a restaurant or a store for what they are or how they live. But what about a florist or a bakery? I think that's where this all started. Those stories a year or few ago about those types of places being sued for not providing services for same-sex marriage ceremonies. This is where it gets muddy for me. Yes they are in the retail world and are subject to fair competition, letting the market handle stuff and all that, but they are also dealing with the religious world since that is where some of their services go. There's a bit of a difference of someone going out of their way to discriminate to someone not wanting to actively support something they don't believe in. How do you write a law broad enough to protect them but strict enough not to allow wanton discrimination? Or should you just tell those people stay out of the business if you have problems with it? Even if you love baking and are great at it? Or it's a family business you inherited? Or whatever the case may be that I can't think of but might be plausible.

 

Well, that's me playing with my Devil's Advocacy. Any thoughts?


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#28 BigJackBrass

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:05 AM

Why should you require a law to support discrimination? The reason why someone wants to discriminate is irrelevant, surely? Should someone who runs a gay nightclub be allowed to discriminate against a customer purely because that person is Christian? Why, then, are religious groups being given that right?
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#29 BigJackBrass

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:06 AM

My next post may include rather fewer question marks :D
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#30 Aethyr

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 07:04 AM

Why should you require a law to support discrimination? 

 

Because the news tells me it is a hot topic and I'm up for re-election!

 

That's what I see as the biggest driver though I do try to see what lurks behind that as well. Someone out there obviously thinks religious freedoms are being stifled and then there are those who think that isn't a good reason to let any sort of discrimination go on. Where does the balance fall for discriminating against religion to discriminating against people.
 
I think it is a slippery slope on either side. Going too far one way I see people trying to force churches to perform weddings they don't believe should happen or being forced to admit people into positions that were previously barred to them. Sure this can change but it should happen from within that institution not be forced on from without. Then swinging in the other direction I can see people using religion to keep people from getting health care, goods or housing, or various other necessities. Not ideal on either end. Secular institutions are a different matter and I think that's where the issue arises. Where do you have to leave your religion? What if you get a bit of sacred in my secular? Or if you get some secular in my sacred? (<--Found some of your question marks, BJB)
 
And if I'm being too much of a git just tell me to back off. Mostly I'm just posing the questions to get people to think on it a bit.

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#31 ThistledownJohn

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 08:19 AM

 

...Well, that's me playing with my Devil's Advocacy. Any thoughts?

 

 

 

Yes. :D

 

Aethyr, you mentioned the recent legal battles about florists and bakeries not wanting to be forced into participating/enabling a same-sex marriage.  In these cases, the businesses in question have refused service that included baking a wedding cake, or providing wedding flower arrangements.  Any other types of patronage was encouraged by the store owners.  

 

My read on the situation is that these new laws popping up are a response to those events, and not some sort of attempt to refuse gay folks service at the lunch counter.

 

So, I would put this forward...while it is abhorrent to discriminate against a person for what they are (race, religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation, etc.).  It is perfectly right and good to discriminate against a person's actions, if you have a principled stance against those actions.  The actions in question may be perfectly legal, sanctioned by the culture and government, yet no person should be coerced into endorsing or participating in those actions that they stand against.

 

To illustrate, imagine this...

 

An owner of a bakery, is a very passionate animal-rights activist.  One day a woman comes in and says that she has just taken her son on his first deer hunting trip.  He has killed an impressively large buck.  The family is so proud and excited for him that they are throwing him a party.  She would like to have a cake done for the event.  She asks the baker to decorate the cake with a hunting scene, showing the young lad shooting the deer.

 

The baker politely explains his opposition to hunting and the killing of animals in any way.  He says that he can't bake the cake because they activity that is being celebrated is one that he opposes on principle.  He says that he will gladly provide any other service that she wishes

 

The woman is livid, sees the refusal of service as a discriminatory attack on her rights and threatens a lawsuit.  The baker loses in court and is forced to comply and make quarterly reports to the government.

 

This type of scenario has actually happened to businesses in the U.S.

 

http://www.huffingto..._n_5438726.html

 

Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, but is perfectly happy to provide any other service to them.  His refusal to serve is based on the action that is a same-sex wedding, not the people because they are gay.  It's obvious that the governement in Colorado is saying that their anti-discrimination law trumps the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment.

 

This is what people are afraid will happen to them, and why some people see the need for the law.


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#32 Lucky_Strike

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 08:55 AM

The law appears to me to absolutely violate the establishment clause. To paraphrase from Kitzmiller v Dover this law is excessive entanglement of government and religion and an endorsement by the state of religion over non-religion and of one religious viewpoint over others.

Exercise of religion is the determination of substantial burden. Therefore religion is endorsed over non religion as there can be no substantial burden without religious exercise. That is, if you practice a religion you are an insider enjoying the protection of a law which non-religion practioners do not.

In activation of this law the state will determine which instances of substantial burden overcome its compelling government interest and the instances igniting passage of this law provide the appearance that it cannot fail to endorse one religious viewpoint over another. That is if you have an exercise of religion supported by this law you are an insider enjoying a protection that those with alternate exercises of religion do not.
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#33 BigJackBrass

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 09:00 AM

Part of the problem, as ThistledownJohn has clearly laid out, is that this is legislation attempting to avoid having people, for example, forced into providing a service as in the cake example. The notion that somebody would sue in such a case, leading to people feeling there's a need to put this sort of law in place, is equally astonishing and ridiculous to me. I don't think I have a right to be sold a cake by someone who has a legitimate reason not to do so; I'll simply go elsewhere. Likewise, churches are no longer the only places where you can get married. The sticky part comes in defining what constitutes a legitimate reason and what services etc must be provided regardless as they are essential.

The very fact that some religious groups have voiced their concerns about the legislation emphasises that it's not about Good versus Evil, Black versus White, Christians versus Gays. It's an inappropriate and very blunt instrument with the potential of being applied to extremely delicate operations. Nobody wins when this sort of shambles goes ahead.

Of course, there's also the question as to whether eroding religious privilege is the same as persecuting religion, which I don't doubt will become relevant as certain groups explore the possibilities of the legislation and the targets of legal action become broader.

Edit: And while I was tapping away on my 'phone, Lucky Strike addressed the issue with considerably more eloquence :)
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#34 ThistledownJohn

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 09:15 AM

Isn't it great that while a firestorm of knee-jerk reactions, hidden agendas, and outright ill will is seething through the internet on this issue, RPGMP3 is standing as a bastion of clear communication, friendly discourse, and a civilized exchange of ideas?

 

Good on us!  :D


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#35 Aethyr

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:21 AM

So obviously this means we should all go into poltics, right?
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#36 ThistledownJohn

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:42 AM

So obviously this means we should all go into poltics, right?

 

Good Lord, I hope not.  :D


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#37 BigJackBrass

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:45 AM

... RPGMP3 is standing as a bastion of clear communication, friendly discourse, and a civilized exchange of ideas?


Hull fires and Dalmatians, I knew I was doing this wrong!
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#38 bodhranist

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 05:05 AM

I agree. Thorny issues, and well done everybody for keeping it civil, constructive, and friendly. At least at the moment, I find it useful to draw a distinction between limitations and/or requirements of conduct of people, where I'm strongly in favor of even offensive expression (and my freedom to express my own offensive opions in turn) and/or limitations of requirements of businesses, where I am reluctantly more in favor of government control.

Adding to the importance of the issue, besides bakeries and florists, one industry where business and religion overlap is in healthcare, which is far more essential, and where 'customers' have far fewer options than in fun but frivolous stuff for celebration. (Healthcare may be covered separately in the bill, I don't know, not having read it.) What a tricky balancing act!


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#39 BigJackBrass

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 05:14 AM

This morning I read that a number of businesses have put stickers in their windows declaring that they serve everyone and do not discriminate. The potential fallout from this law (not even including the damage to the state's image) is clearly a concern to many.
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#40 Texan

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 05:39 AM

Indiana seems to be getting a lot of flack and people can decide to do business or not do business in Indiana if they want but 19 other states have similar laws:

http://www.washingto...-is-boycotting/

 

Bill Clinton signed a similar law as president

"The first RFRA was a 1993 federal law that was signed into law by Democratic president Bill Clinton. It unanimously passed the House of Representatives, where it was sponsored by then-congressman Chuck Schumer, and sailed through the Senate on a 97-3 vote"

http://www.weeklysta...ed_900641.html#


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