My church is moving our 2017 General Assembly out of my hometown Indianapolis in response to Indiana's RFRA, recently signed by Gov. Mike Pence. This is painful for our church and for my family. I'm a Bible scholar and minister -- not a lawyer or judge -- but I've studied the history of RFRA and think I understand what's at stake.
The current debate about religious freedom is already shaping laws and policies that will affect each one of us. Many of these laws and policies are harmful and will have far-reaching consequences that affect the everyday details of our lives that even the supporters of these laws are likely to regret.
For far-right activists and legislators concerned about marriage equality and other LGBT rights, Hobby Lobby provided the perfect opportunity: Pass state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and effectively grant a religious-exemption claim from LGBT anti-discrimination laws, based on the Supreme Court's rewriting of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
It was exactly a year ago when I allowed myself to be fully seen by the world as the woman that I am: a proud transgender female. For a long time, I was paralyzed by fear in accepting my truth. I finally decided that I could not be paralyzed anymore. I realized that to accept vulnerability is to allow your authenticity to shine.
I would not be here today if it wasn't for the free, quality health care I was given in the form of Medicaid. I support the ACA and I advocate for a single payer national health insurance system. This is what we all need in order to be a society in which our ideals are realized rather than sold off. We can't go backwards, there's just too much at stake.
The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by Governor Mike Pence last week, is one of the most biased pieces of state legislation we've seen in our modern era. The fact that it is cloaked in the name of religious freedom is particularly offensive to me as a member of the clergy who has been engaged in ministry and social justice work my entire life.