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Shame on you, Indiana

Written by Maddie Vaziri’16

April 2, 2015

Let the Indiana government keep the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because we Ohioans would love to reap the benefits of the bill’s stupidity. Let the businesses disturbed by RFRA seek comfort in the open-minded markets of Columbus. Let the musicians appalled by now legalized backwardness exchange their Indiana tour dates for their more-friendly neighbor state. Let event-planners flock to Columbus instead. Let the Hoosiers who no longer feel accepted find comfort within our borders. Let the widespread ridicule and rejection of the Religious Restoration Act bring shame to the responsible lawmakers in Indiana.

The law, passed March 24th, prevents the state from hindering, “a person’s exercise of religion.” Its defenders discredit opposition by saying nineteen other states have the same law. Indiana’s is specifically different, however, because it extends this “freedom” to businesses.

So by law, a business may refuse service if the customer in any way interferes with its religion. This poses an obvious threat to LGBT Indianans who may now be treated as inferiors. Laws should suppress intolerance-not provide a climate for it to thrive.

Just as I was losing faith, the national reaction turned my disappointment into pride. Finally, we see big business using its influence for good as they rally against this “licensed discrimination.”

The NBA, Walmart, Indiana University, NCAA, Apple, Angie’s List, even Miley Cyrus (to name a few) have all spoken out against RFRA. It must not feel good to have Miley Cyrus calling you crazy, Indiana. Bands are canceling their Indiana tour dates, businesses are stopping expansion projects, and the state’s privilege to host major sporting events is being questioned.

Despite all this, Arkansas passed the bill into law March 31st. I thought Indiana was foolish to instate the RFRA, but Arkansas has chosen to adopt it after seeing the repercussions, so it wins the dunce-cap-crown.

Law must be immune to the intricacies of religion because it is too varied and disputed to have grounds in public spheres of society. If inequality is given free reign for the sake of religion, into what will this country descend?

Written by Maddie Vaziri’16


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