Citizens of Indiana on all sides of the controversial Religious Freedom legislation, which in effect legalized discrimination against homosexuals, were left in shock when Governor Mike Pence announced Wednesday morning that he would sign into law a bill, dubbed the Freedom from Religious Institutions Act (FRIA), effectively allowing businesses to refuse service to any and all citizens of whatever religion they feel doesn’t deserve access to offered goods and services. Pence stated, “This is not about discrimination. We are determined to make it clear that what Indiana has done here is strength the foundation and the… rights of our people.”
Religious groups were in an uproar across the nation following the announcement from Pence. Bondye Parker, a Vodou shaman in Louisiana feels that this is just the beginning, “Now, it’s stores, tomorrow it will be the state.” Opponents became vocal in short order across Indiana and the other 19 states in the nation that have state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.
Pence, facing viral social media backlash from his stance on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, executed the perfect blindside 180 when he drafted what was essentially the exact same bill, allowing anyone to discriminate against anyone that believed in any sort of religion.
However, there are proponents that are just as vocal. Pastor Tim Overton, who leads Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, is sure that this is a step in the right direction. “When you’re told as a business by the government you have to provide a service, and that service is in violation of your core convictions, that is a problem,” Overton stated. He cited support of such legislation and even recalled a case when a Native American student was given the privilege of growing out his long, dark mane despite the school’s dress code which required short, military cuts. “Dress code violations abound across the nation and clearly this is the correct response.”
Pence hopes that Indiana will be the tip of the FRIA spear when it comes to the other 19 states with Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in the country. He hopes to start a revolution by fighting fire with fire. Only time will tell if this new discrimination-on-discrimination strategy will work, but now, the world can see just how calculating Pence is and always has been. He sits atop the heap with his masterful game of political chess while his opponents dally with checkers. We will have further developments but for now, check out Pence’s press conference from this morning.