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.
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.
Earlier today a bill was signed into law in Indiana that will allow business owners to deny services to LGBT people based on religious objections. This comes on the heels of legislation enacted in Arkansas last month that prohibits local communities from implementing non-discrimination policies for LGBT people.
All gay people will wear an electronic transponder on their foreheads. As a homosexual enters through a business door, the transponder will be read by a receiving antenna. This will trigger a warning ("Gay! Gay! Gay! Danger! Gay! Gay! Gay!") alerting owners and workers that their religious liberties are about to be violated. A siren will wail and bright lights will flash.
Across Alabama, local judges are openly defying a federal judicial order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The New York Times reported yesterday that 44 of the state's 67 counties were not granting licenses. The state is a checkerboard where gay and lesbian Alabamans are locked out of full citizenship across vast swaths of the state based on the whims of local officials.
I'm not saying my religious beliefs are the way for everyone to live or believe. But neither are yours. In fact, they are not truly universal religious beliefs but your personal beliefs. And that's OK. But you don't get to impose those on everyone else to prevent them from living, working, and loving with the same freedom that you are afforded by virtue of who you are.
It is time for Muslim imams to lead their flocks in recognizing free speech and free exercise of religion as integral part of Islam. It is time for Western societies to stop asking Muslims what they feel every time radicals perpetrate yet another spectacular act of violence. Only then will "Je suis Charlie" find real meaning.