Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hoosiers eating crow?!? The race to backtrack from “religious freedom”

I must admit to being surprised at how quickly Indiana government officials are backtracking themselves concerning the alleged “religious freedom” law enacted last week.

Indiana Gov. Dan Pence said Tuesday he expects the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly (the negative image of what we have in Illinois) to pass some measure by week’s end that will clarify the intent of the new law so as to make sure that people can’t wind up being discriminated against based on sexual preference.

WHICH IS THE fear of many of those who are now lambasting the Land of Hoosiers for having felt the need to lead the nation in passing such a law to begin with.

It was interesting to hear Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society speak earlier this week on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight” program about how the law doesn’t really make Indiana much different from Illinois in terms of the way people’s rights are protected.

Although the difference appears to be that Illinois has laws including sexual preference as a category of person whose rights are protected. Indiana has never felt the need to offer such protections within their state law. Which is a big difference, no matter how much some try to downplay it!

That is why some wonder if the law is meant to let people who have hang-ups with regards to gay people (particularly on the marriage issue) claim that their religious beliefs are somehow being violated.

AS THOUGH THOSE beliefs somehow permit people to act on their prejudices toward those they don’t like.

It actually reminds me of a “Sunday school” moment when I was a kid of about 8 when we were told that being a “good person” had nothing to do with whether one went to “Heaven” after death – it was about how strong one’s religious faith is.

Perhaps some people think being the last hold out against gay marriage is what will assure them a place in the hereafter; while presuming that everybody else is Hell-bound.

As though God is the ultimate bully who backs those who bully everybody else not like them. I’d like to think that if there really is a hereafter, certain people are in for the shock of their existence when they find out how wrong they truly have been in life!

BECAUSE THE WAY that Indiana’s political actions of last week made any sense was as a political statement; letting it be known they did not approve of having “gay marriage” forced upon them by a federal judge – as opposed to Illinois where the Legislature and governor enacted changes in the relevant laws.

Which themselves were only a couple of decades old and were part of an effort by a then-Republican-dominated Illinois government to make its own statement against gay marriage.

Now, Indiana officials have to back away from their hard-headed statement. Perhaps it was all the public condemnation they were receiving that caused the change of heart.

Not just that the band Wilco cancelled an Indianapolis concert, or that the NCAA was talking about never again holding the men’s basketball tourney in the Indiana capital city (the Final Four will be held there this weekend, and it wouldn't be practical to relocate the event at this late date).

NOT EVEN THE fact that several states (including New York) rushed to enact legislation saying they were prohibiting non-essential travel by their officials to Indiana so long as the new law remained in place. Not that it would have cost much. Because how many people make non-essential trips to Indiana at all!

Or even the fact that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is now hitting back against all those vapid “Illinoyed” ads that Indiana has concocted trying to claim that businesses should jump for the chance of a Hoosier mailing address so as to get lower tax rates.

The lower taxes might just be evidence that the state government doesn’t do as much as Illinois does, and that the public embarrassment of having the Indiana address might not be worth the cost savings.

And we can all think of State Line Road as being just another municipal boundary like Howard Street to the north – rather than the barrier beyond which oddball things happen when one ventures too far to the east!


EDITOR’S NOTE: It may be nothing more than fantasy, but there are times I wonder if those northwestern Indiana counties ought to just shift themselves over to Illinois. While some Hoosiers would probably wet their pants with glee at the thought of being rid of Gary, we in Illinois would gain additional Congressional representation (and Electoral College votes) at the expense of Indiana. We’d see how quickly Indiana would quit wanting to live in such isolation from the rest of the Great Lakes states.

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