This past week, journalistic abuse has exploded into controversy over an innocuous religious freedom law in Indiana. This law, known as a Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA (pronounced “riff-ra”), tracks the language of the 1993 federal RFRA signed into law by President Clinton after a 97-3 vote in the Senate. But you would not necessarily know how innocuous it is from news media coverage. According to what you might hear in the news, this is an anti-gay law that is “almost universally loathed,” and which a White House official suggested would “legitimize discrimination.”
Indiana’s RFRA has none of these characteristics.
There is in works of fiction a concept called the informed attribute. An informed attribute is an abuse of storytelling that occurs when the author gets lazy and, instead of demonstrating that a character has a certain characteristic, simply informs the audience that they do. So, for example, think of the way Daniel Defoe characterized Friday in “Robinson Crusoe”: savage, cannibal—except that Friday never does anything savage or cannibal throughout the novel. Indeed, “my man Friday” is now a euphemism for an incorruptible subordinate. Or, to use a more recent example, consider that in the Twilight novels, we are told that Bella is a loner who is older than her years—except she is always surrounded by friends whom she can’t seem to get enough of, and she has a teenager-like obsession with a certain boyish vampire who she wants to bone. These are informed attributes. The indispensable TV Tropes explains the informed attribute arises through a “violation of Show, Don’t Tell when fleshing out a fictional tangible.”
Lately, there has been a depressing tendency for the informed attribute to migrate from fiction to journalism. It has popped up when journalists cover President Obama—so heroic!, despite the fact he has never done anything particularly heroic. It is inescapable in news media coverage of the Tea Party—racists! villains!, even though the Tea Party is neither. Even Gov. Chris Christie has taken licks for it—gauche nouveau riche!. Despite there being no evidence for these attributes, journalists will simply repeat them as if they were true and hope that incurious, unsuspecting readers assume it.
Fortunately for the news consumer, if not consumers of fiction, an informed attribute in journalism can be overcome with the application of a little knowledge. Here is everything you need to know to push back against the laziness or maliciousness in the news about RFRAs.
Read on. FYI: Gabriel Malor is an attorney and writer in Washington, D.C….and for what it’s worth, is gay.
Concocted ”news” created whole cloth out of air but a great diversion.
Who’s talking Hillary and her email scandal?
And who’s covering Obama’s “Neville Chamberlain Goes to Teheran” Act?
Punishing the religious for their free exercise of their religion and observance of their religion’s prohibitions and laws is a clear violation of the separation of church and state and is clearly in contradiction of the First Amendment and becomes persecution of the religious. The personal beliefs of one particular group or individual should never be allowed to be forced on those who have religious objection to said beliefs. There is no Constitutional mention or recognition in our Bill of Rights of “Sexual Orientation” trumping the “free exercise” of a religion.
At it’s base, religion is simply a system of beliefs. The same can be said for the gay viewpoint.
An essence of capitalism is free choice of alternatives of whom you would do business with. If your system of beliefs do not agree with one person or their business, you have the freedom to take your business elsewhere, If this same person’s or business’s system of beliefs are in direct opposition to your own, they should have the same right of refusal.
Where two different systems of belief collide, the logical government position should be a neutral one as you have a stalemate situation. The law should not then take sides and declare one system of personal belief (in this case the LGBT system of beliefs,) as above another religious system of beliefs. Otherwise government is in effect establishing one system of beliefs as being superior over another, in essence violating the very concept, purpose and spirit of the “establishment clause,” in raising one favored system of beliefs over that of another.
Even putting aside the motive behind the law – that it’s obviously a political dog whistle to frustrated religious conservatives who want to feel like there is push back againt recent gay rights victories – this law is alarmingly different than similarly named laws enacted in the past. The law was tweaked to maximize the impact of the Hobby Lobby decision: it applies to corporations as well as people. The 1993 federal law was specific to the government “substantially burdening” a person’s free exercise of religion and was inspired by the religious use of peyote by some Native Americans. By greatly expanding the parameters the Indians law is opening the door to businesses rationalizing discrimination against private citizens on religious grounds. This is abetted by the fact that, unlike many other states with superficially similar laws, Homosexuals don’t have protected legal status in Indiana.
Of course. Laws are often tweaked to maximize the impact of current SCOTUS decisions.
Stupid statement on your part.
“Punishing the religious for their free exercise of their religion and observance of their religion’s prohibitions and laws is a clear violation of the separation of church and state and is clearly in contradiction of the First Amendment and becomes persecution of the religious. The personal beliefs of one particular group or individual should never be allowed to be forced on those who have religious objection to said beliefs.”
It is one thing to believe whatever you want to believe. It is another thing entirely to EXERCISE whatever your religion tells you is permissible. The Bible tells you how to treat your slaves, but you are NOT allowed in this time and place to have slaves, much less treat them badly. It is NOT a conflict of the First Amendment that government forbids slavery. Neither is it a conflict whenever a religion suggests a course of action that secular law forbids. As much as the Constitution protects religion FROM government, it also protects the people FROM RELIGION.
You will note that there is nowhere in the Constitution (or its amendments) that the government establishes WHICH religions are legitimate and which are not. The absence of any qualifiers of legitimacy means that the government is not in the business of sanctioning or advancing one religion over another, but it also means that any “religion” at all qualifies for the same protection as any other. This means that you or I could establish whatever religion we choose, holding whatever beliefs we wanted to hold in exactly the same legally “protected” status as the tenets of the biggest, oldest and most traditionalist religions of the world. Your religion could hold that gay people should be murdered upon sight, and my religion could hold that children should be summarily executed to relieve world over-population. These are two examples of “THE EXERCISE OF RELIGION” that would be in conflict with secular law, and which accordingly would NOT be protected by First Amendment freedoms. Peyote buttons aside, the first amendment is almost never successful in legalizing EXERCISES that are otherwise forbidden in secular law, and NEVER where such exercise infringes on the constitutionally protected rights of others.
Not according to the First Amendment and the Federalist/Anti-federalist papers. Both are protected rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
The bible does not require slavery of it’s followers, nor does it order them to go out and enslave others. All the Old Testament did was try to require those followers who did have slaves to adhere to certain practices in their treatment of slaves. Slavery has existed amongst all races and all peoples but not because of the bible. Nor does the issue of slavery have anything to do with RFRA.
A straw-man argument. None of this has anything to do with slavery, unless you possibly consider a government forcing someone to violate their religious beliefs, their religious canon and practices by threat of criminal action; to be “state enforced slavery.” Refusal to do something that violates your religious beliefs is not slavery. Forcing some one to do something under the threat of punishment very well may be. But then again, the whole purpose of socialism is to make the people subservient vassals to The State.
According to the Founders, the Federalist/Anti-federalist Papers, the “secular government” was never granted the authority and power to interfere in and forbid the religious practices of churches and individuals, (outside of ensuring that one person’s Constitutional rights, do not violate the Constitutional rights of another.) But of course that doesn’t stop radical “progressives” from persecution of the religious.
No, the Constitution only protects against the establishment of a State religion. The Constitution grant’s no power or establishes any requirement whatsoever for to the Federal Government to “protect people from religion.” Quit making things up. You aren’t impressing anyone with your incoherent blathering of what you “think” Constitution says.
One person’s Constitutional rights are not allowed to violate another person’s Constitutional rights and visa versa. Your false “examples” are invalid, emotional rantings. The Indiana law does not endorse murder and you know it, you are just exaggerating to try to prove a ridiculous and spurious premise. Murder is incidentally against the law (by your given example you don’t seem to know that,) and is a clear violation of the victim’s rights. Your so called “examples” are all naught but hypothetical drivel. You’re emotionally ranting because you know you can not form an actual constitutionally and legally true argument against the law. Just as the LBGT activist’s fanaticism insists on reading into the Indiana law things that the law doesn’t do.