The worst thing to come out of Indiana is the boneheaded and hateful Religious Freedom Restoration Act; the best is my incredible, wonderful husband. Ironically, both have been good for my business.
In this episode of Nicholas Snow Live, I welcome guest co-host Jen Houston (a singer/songwriter, actor, entrepreneur and ally of the LGBT community) to expose the truth behind religious bigotry -- and in fact, bigotry of all kinds.
According to Trevor Yager, President and CEO of TrendyMinds: "Indiana still does not provide statewide civil rights protections that include sexual orientation or gender identity. So for me, this feels like a small peace offering that is being used to quiet everyone. "
Rather than passing redundant religious freedom laws, we ought to be passing anti-discrimination laws because the most beautiful example of Christian witness is to show kindness, love and acceptance to each individual in our midst -- to our friends and neighbors, to strangers, and even to our enemies.
Two major phenomena in recent years--growing political segregation, and the dynamism of the new global economy--might mean that progressive states that attract and invest in talented young people will flourish, while states clinging to the tired, disproven dogma of the past will flounder.
Until God comes down and tells the world that florists and pizza parlors shouldn't serve the LGBT community, it's best to keep bizarre religious interpretations away from refusing service to other American citizens. Religious freedom shouldn't be a way to discriminate or justify hatred and intolerance.
As the momentum builds toward a United States Supreme Court decision in favor of nationwide marriage equality, the LGBT community in recent weeks has faced an onslaught of proposed state laws aimed at encouraging organizations to refuse to serve LGBT people.
The light-speed legislative "fix" for Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a gobsmacking, humiliating defeat for the religious far right, and a stunning, couldn't-be-predicted demonstration of where the mainstream now lies on LGBT rights.
Legislators in Indiana and Arkansas were the latest to find out this hard truth. In an increasingly contentious world, it is vital to know that in a policy skirmish, the victors are usually the groups that were most prescient in establishing their question as the focus of debate in the arena where they will fare the best.
Religious liberty is critically important and, yes, threatened. But the Indiana law was different from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. And the strong public reaction against it also comes from people who believe in the protection of religious liberty, but not in ways that use it to condone discrimination in the public sphere against anyone.
In 2016 and beyond, Republicans will find it hard to strike a balance between "religious freedom" and discrimination. They will find it even harder to choose between either "caving" and alienating their base, or alienating the growing majority of voters and facing a grassroots onslaught.
Yes, be proud of our work this week. But there's so much more to do. Don't think our opponents aren't already regrouping and calibrating their next attack, moving on to other states. We cannot fool ourselves, dazzled by the events, into thinking that because we won a media battle, we have won the war.
What if we lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals claim our entitlement to and protection under the so-called Indiana "Religious Freedom" Law sponsored by Governor Mike Pence. After all, same-sex marriages were common within the early Christian Church.
What kind of priest would be against a Religious Freedom Act? The kind of priest who is all in favor of religious freedom -- and inalterably opposed to having religious freedom hijacked and misused as a weapon of mass discrimination.
We are hungry for leaders who can say we need both anti-discrimination laws as well as laws to protect people's religious freedom -- and who make the argument that those don't have to be mutually exclusive values. In fact, they go together, as Jesus taught us long ago.