Indiana Governor Mike Pence slandered and defamed the meaning of “religious freedom” in an ABC News interview today. According to Dictionary.com, the phrase “religious freedom” is defined as “The right to choose a religion — or no religion — without interference by the government.” It was not meant to be hijacked by anti-gay conservative politicians to play victim. It seems like everywhere you go, Christians, the most powerful group of people in America, are claiming they’re being attacked. They say there’s a “war on Christmas”, they say their rights are being infringed upon when minorities demand the same rights that they already enjoy, such as marriage. They say, that because it’s no longer acceptable for them to degrade and strip American minorities of their rights that they’re being oppressed. Let’s get one thing straight (pun intended), if an oppressor is no longer permitted to oppress others, they can’t claim that they’re being oppressed. That’s just not how it works.
For decades, church leaders around the country have been scratching their heads trying to determine why 70 percent of 20-30 year-olds are leaving the church. The answer is simple. They don’t want to support — or be associated with those who support — laws that hurt LGBT people. It’s unpatriotic and it’s ungodly.
Pence appeared to act as though he was a parrot during the interview. The governor was asked six times by George Stephanopoulos during a 10 minute segment whether the anti-gay bill that he signed into law would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) individuals. Each time, rather than answering the question, Pence deferred to the fact that 19 other states have similar laws on the books.
If a governor’s explanation or justification for enacting a specific law is “because other states did it”, then governor Pence has no businesses in politics, much less thinking about running for president. Any good leader listens to their constituents and does what’s right. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor political, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right”. It’s unlikely that Governor Pence signed Senate Bill 101 into law because his conscience told him that it is right. Instead, it’s much more plausible that he did so to put himself in the spotlight. Pence was likely thinking “What could I do to get myself, as the Governor of Indiana of all states, into the presidential spotlight?” And that’s why he signed Senate Bill 101. His team seemingly neglected to inform the governor that the notion of “any press is good press” is not accurate.
Indiana does not currently protect LGBT people on a state level from discrimination and hate crimes. Governor Pence told ABC News that he has no plans to change that, saying “That’s not on my agenda, and that’s not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana.” In fact, Indiana fails to protect their gay citizens when it comes to housing laws, second parent adoption, joint adoption, employment laws, marriage equality, hate crime laws, anti-bullying laws, school laws and transgender healthcare. Pence’s statement that it has not been an objective of the citizens of Indiana to protect their gay and lesbain friends, family and co-works from discrimination is also not factually accurate. A December 2012 poll conducted by Ball State University found that 54 percent, a majority, of Hoosiers support equal rights for gay people. The percentage is likely to have significantly increased since 2012.