March 30, 2015

CNN’s “Repeat After Me” Article on the Indiana Law

By In Blogs

This CNN article purports to tell you all need to know about a recent law signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  In going through it and breaking it down, we will learn what is going on, and how the media is seeking to spin the issue away from the foundational issue of property rights.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stirred up controversy this week when he signed a “religious freedom” bill into law.

The bill is controversial because the media says so. This is important. Twenty states have laws similar to this one, Bill Clinton signed something similar in 1993 at the Federal Level, and there has never been this level of faux outrage.  This is how the media works. The news sources declare something controversial, and everyone responds in agreement. If the press is silent, the masses are silent. Rather than reporting the fact that many people think something is controversial, many people think it is controversial because the media first dubbed it so.

The law has businesses and civil rights groups up in arms and threatening — or in some cases pledging — to boycott the state.

The reaction has gotten so hot, that on Saturday, Pence told The Indianapolis Star that he is working with legislators to amend the law and “clarify” that it does not promote discrimination.

Pence should not work with legislators to amend anything. There is no clarification needed.  The law states that business owners should have the right to make the decision regarding what they do with their own property.  The clarification is being pushed by those who simply want to make a statement, to take out their bullhorns and continue their anti-freedom revolution.  He should hold tight, Just Say No to the propagandist revolutionaries.  Before this bill was signed, business owners have the ability to choose whom they would do business with. This bill didn’t change anything, it just verified the current legal situation.

CNN asks: “What’s so controversial about religious freedom?”

Here comes the propaganda.

It’s not so much that religious freedom has suddenly become controversial, but rather critics of the bill assert the law could be used by individuals and businesses to discriminate on the basis of religion — particularly against the LGBT community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The framework assumed here is astoundingly misleading.  First of all, the paradigm is presented as “religion against LGBT,” which of course is merely intended to fan the flames uproar and controversy.  This entire scenario shouldn’t be “religious freedom” vs. “LGBT community.”  Rather, it should be property rights vs the State, which is the vehicle that the LGBT community has chosen to conduct their revolution.  Once we realize that individuals have the God-given right to sell their goods and services to whomever they desire (that is, there is no inherent “right” that a customer has to the goods and services produced by someone else), we realize that this is far broader than just a “religious issue.”  It is being framed as a religious issue, however, because the pro-Statist revolutionaries can use “religion” in an effective way to acquire the political and media control that they aim for.

The reality of the situation is that any business owner should have the right to discriminate against any person or group that they desire.  We need to understand that this is not something we should shy away from. Property rights are by definition discriminatory.  The property owners make judgements, according to their convictions, regarding the terms and conditions of the use of the goods and services being offered.  Property owners must be discriminatory and the State acts wrongly when it uses coercion to overstep the judgements and decisions of the property owner.  Not only is the Christian legally allowed to discriminate against customers based on religious convictions, but the atheist is allowed to discriminate against the Christian for whatever reason he deems appropriate.  In fact, the property owner doesn’t need a “reason” to not allow any given person onto his property.  For it is inherent in the concept of ownership that the owner has the legal authority to make such decisions at his whim!  And this authority exists not only for Christian property owners, but for every other property owner as well.

The law asserts that the government can’t “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” and that individuals who feel like their religious beliefs have been or could be “substantially burdened” can lean on this law to fend off lawsuits.

The fact that this law is needed to lean on is absolutely concerning.  No one should need a law to lean on because the presumption should be that the property owner can exercise his property rights —not just his religion— in whatever manner he chooses, except to aggress against the property rights of another.  The idea that lawsuits may arise is troubling as well. Lawsuit for what? Well, apparently for choosing not to extend one’s business services to a political interest group.  The problem is that the State assumes that it has the moral and legal authority to punish those who don’t conduct their business in a politically correct manner.  When in fact, the State is completely out of line in forcing the business owner to act according to the dictates of the State’s lobbying groups.

This isn’t a religious issue. It is a property rights issue parading as a media-driven sign that religious people are hateful; hate, of course, being defined as having an opinion that is not formed on the basis of popular opinion.

Is Indiana the first state to implement this kind of a law?

Nope. It’s actually the 20th state to adopt a “religious freedom restoration” law, most of which are modeled after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993.

But that law passed with the backing of a broad-based coalition and wasn’t set against the backdrop of gay rights or the wave of marriage equality laws that have swept the country in recent years.

Translation: the “gay rights” activists are especially loud and powerful, even more against the freedom to use one’s property in the way he chooses than were “coalitions” in previous decades.  The war —and yes I do believe that bringing the State in to the equation makes it a war— on the freedom to use one’s property as the owner sees fit continues to heat up.  It is a multi-decade trend, not a recent paradigm shift.

Christians should recognize this in the broader framework of State vs. property rights rather than just seeing it as “good laws” vs. “bad laws.”  If Christians don’t take the time to consider the nature of the State, how it works, and where it oversteps its bounds, they will have no solid argument by which to defend their freedoms. In recent history the Christian base has spent too much time trying to control the bureaucracies and the state that they have forgotten the goal of drastically shrinking the role government has in the lives of the citizens. Our goal isn’t to produce laws that benefit Christians and sanctify statism, rather, our goal is to radically rollback the state. Only then will our religious freedoms be safe.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com