You see, I don't object to Indiana wanting to protect the religious liberties of it's business people - at the very least I applaud the sentiment; and I don't object to it because numerous twitter-heads say it permits the persecution of homosexuals - and if that's not stupid enough of an idea on the face of it, it's unlikely that reading it will help you realize how deeply stupid the assertion is ( but it couldn't hurt) - but I do object to RFRA 's continuing the process of devaluing everyone else's liberties in the process - and by 'everyone' that should be understood to include those who are homosexual, straight, native born or immigrant, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Atheist or [please insert your neglected grievance group of record here] - in order to do so.
|In short, I object to Indiana's RFRA law, for the same reason that Chuck Schumer and Bill Clinton supported the original Federal RFRA law of 1993 which Indiana's law was derived from - because it implicitly presumes that you lack the right and power to make your own decisions unless you have 'legitimate', approved, 'longstanding religious reasons' for doing so, despite what the the 1st Amendment, and the 9th Amendment, and the 10th Amendment and the Contract clause of Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1, have to say on the matter.
How can people not see the real issue here? Maybe it'll help if you take a look at what a virtual friend of mine had to say when he said this about that:
"In my opinion, a business has a right to refuse service to homosexuals if the particular service they perform (wedding photography or wedding cake makers) would seem to tacitly support an activity that goes against their "legitimate" religious or moral beliefs."Now, except for the scary scare quotes around "legitimate", that almost seems sensible; the problem is that the sentence before that said:
"It should be patently illegal to refuse service to homosexuals simply because they are homosexual. For example not serving a gay couple at a restaurant. ", which amounts to holding the primary hostage to the secondary, putting First Principles in the back seat to circumstances and incidentals. Note that this has nothing to do with homosexuals and everything to do with the Individual Rights of every one of us. If that's not clear, maybe another example will help:
"Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
"Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Amendment X - "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
"Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 - No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."
Which of those incidentals gives, or withdraws from you, the right to make your own decision about whether or not to serve them?
Walter E. Williams, H/T Stacy on the Right
IOW, by proposing the various RFRA's, you concede that you don't have the liberty to make your own decisions in your own businesses, UNLESS your decisions can claim the backing of what govt considers to be 'legitimate' religious or moral beliefs!
This turns the 1st Amendment on its head, putting freedom of speech, association and religious practices, at the peril of what legislators and judges consider to be 'legitimate' practices. And just how easily even high caliber judges can rationalize away your right to do what they personally disapprove of, can be seen in the earlier SCOTUS case of Reynolds vs U.S. (1878), when a Mormon's fervently held religious belief in polygamy, was struck down by the Judges distaste for it - and the situation is little different today, they just need to show a compelling interest for doing so, as they most surely felt that they had done back then.
And for those of you foolish enough to trust in the wisdom of legislators and judges to look out for a greater good that includes you, rather than them, you need look no further than Senator Chuckie Schumer's position on the law today is - you see, he was not only for it before he was against it... he sponsored the original RFRA twenty two years ago! - and his vehement opposition to it now, is due to his gauging of the politically correct winds of today. Do you get that? Laws like this don't put THE LAW behind your 'liberty' (religious or otherwise), it uses THE LAW to undermine your Liberty - all of it - with one big crocodile tear of a bill that plays to the sympathies of the day.
Where did the power for govt to tell you what you should do for the greater good? The 1st Amendment already tells congress that it "...shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;", why on earth do we now need yet another law to prohibit what that already prohibits? Especially one that says "... well congress can pass laws that prohibit the free exercise thereof... but they have to think it's reallllyyyy important first..."?
What the hell is going on here?
The only reason we have a RFRA in the first place, was to quiet a populace that was figuring out (perhaps a few decades too soon?), that something the govt was doing for the greater good, was leaving our liberty in a precarious state. And the precarious state of affairs that we find ourselves in today, is one where the govt has taken upon itself the power to disregard your Individual Right to make your own decisions for your own life and property, so long as they feel that their reasoning comports with either the politically correct reasoning of the day, or some other interest the govt has in disregarding your rights. Which of course ultimately means that We The People have no right to make our own decisions for ourselves, but only the power to exercise approved ones.
What do you suppose could have seemed so important and necessary to Americans, thirty or more years ago, as to make them think that it would the greater good for them to give up the substance of their Individual Right to live their own lives?
Yes... I can see that uncomfortable look in your eye from here, yes, this does mean that I'm not only venturing into that territory that Sen. Rand Paul stuck his toe into and then ran from, but unlike Sen. Liberty, I'm jumping in with both feet: Yes, the Civil Rights Acts which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, was detrimental to all of our liberty - both the bigots and the rest of us. While I certainly understand the emotional appeal to put such fools in their places, and to an extent revel in it myself, I must point out that it is by making intellectual decisions on the basis of emotional appeals, that good crisis' are prevented from going to waste.
So long as you don't violate another person's Individual Rights, you have the Individual Right to make your own decisions for your own life and for your own property, which includes your own business - or else you no longer have that Individual Right, or any other, you left only with having the permission of those in power to do what they approve of.
The law, properly, defines the boundaries of our actions, it does not - and it should not - define whether or not our actions are morally acceptable - that is the very meaning of the 1st Amendment! When we err and violate that hard rule 'for the greater good', we then put govt in the position of defining the morality which we then all Must adhere to - which has the affect of eliminating the moral quality from it. Worse, because we've given Govt the Power to make that choice,having made it, it can then, ala Sen. Chuckie Schumer, change its mind as it sees "legitimately" fit, with the spin of the next elections, or more likely, by appointments and regulations.
It's also worth pointing out that in this day of shifting demographics, ensuring that all are equal before the law, is the only sure defense for every demographic, no matter what their numbers might be yesterday, today or tomorrow.
Understand, I'm not denying anyone the right to determine what they consider to be legitimate religious or moral beliefs, I'm denying that govt can or should be in a position to determine what religious or moral beliefs are "Legitimate". The 1st Amendment wasn't written to make you smile and nod politely to your neighbor - that was the province of a decent upbringing and community outrage - the 1st Amendment was to prevent Govt from interfering - 'make NO law - abridging your right to speak your mind, associate with who you chose - or chose NOT to - and to forbid govt from making any laws that might favor - legitimate or otherwise - any one religion over another.
Morals, particularly in the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian tradition, are what you choose to do, and if that choice somehow ceases to be a choice, then it ceases to be a moral decision. Do you really want to put Govt, or more pointedly, do you really want those people who manage to be elected to political office, to be in charge of what is to be considered a moral 'choice'?
The Rule of Law does not, and cannot, relieve you of the necessity and responsibility of being a decent human being - that's on you!
Freedom is so easy, even a cave man can do it. How so? Freedom means that you have the power to do, what you can get away with doing. It also means that those who have the power to stop you from doing it, can, and that their power gives them the freedom to stop you or take anything they'd like from you - freedom is so easy, that that's what democracy looks like!
Liberty, on the other hand, is Hard. Liberty takes thought, Liberty takes consideration of consequences over the long term. Liberty is the rarest thing in human history because it requires of you that you respect the Individual Rights of other people whom you may despise, to do what they think is best, no matter what you might think of it. And it also requires that you think long and hard about what you believe, and that you speak out for it, and that you stand up to those who'd violate it, even if you detest everything else about them.
For those on the Right (or left) who argue that laws which forbid businesses from refusing service on the basis of race, religion or gender bending, are necessary and good, but then want to also claim that govt cannot tell businesses who they can refuse to bake cakes for, are not simply guilty of not connecting the dots, they have somehow managed to forget that the dots ever existed at all. Egregious violations of our Individual Rights under law, have come about only after imposing 'necessary!' and acceptable violations of our Individual Rights under law, for the 'greater good'.
The plain truth is that Govt mandated health care, with all of its violations of our Individual Rights, property and religious freedoms, could not have come to pass, had govt not been enabled to take the first step against our Individual Rights, by forbidding businesses to deny services based upon race, religion, gender, etc.
Govt has expanded through our seeking to shirk our own individual responsibilities as thinking, moral, individuals. The fact is that rather than actually facing up to our friends, neighbors and relatives and telling them, arguing with them and convincing them that such bigotry, racial or otherwise, was ignorant, stupid and harmful to us all, we took the easy way out and got govt to use its power to force them to act as if they had listened and understood that.
But did they? No, they didn't. Look around you, and no, that sort of stupidity isn't limited to skin color. And what that has cost us, has been the substance of all of our rights, and the 'permission' to shirk our responsibilities to say and do what we know to be right. Such a deal, eh? Our seeking to offload our own moral and reasonable responsibilities, to govt, has put us firmly upon the pro-regressive road to losing our ability to make our own moral and reasonable decisions ourselves. From Marriage laws (WTH is Govt involved in those at all for?!), to Education, to Prohibition, to Civil Rights and Health Care - we have sought to rid ourselves of the burdens of making our own decisions for our own lives, and have consequently lost the ability to make our own decisions for our own lives.
I for one am not surprised in the least that we are where we are today. Look around you. It's all ours. Own it. Or do you now really agree with Elizabeth Warren and President Obama, when they say:
"You didn't build that."Hmmm?