The country is buzzing in the wake of Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s recent signing of a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Here’s what you need to know:
What is RFRA?
The Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are laws that have been passed in Congress and many states with the purpose of restoring protections of religious liberty for private individuals and businesses. One highly publicized application of the federal RFRA was in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case. The Supreme Court ruled Hobby Lobby could be exempt from the contraceptive mandate, a regulation under the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.
Why are people so angry about RFRA?
For a few reasons. The first being the tidal wave of misinformation about the purpose and importance of these laws. These laws were created to ensure Americans are free to live their life consistent with their faith. They limit the government’s power to intrude on our religious freedoms unless there is a very compelling reason to do so, such as public safety.
The second reason is that when the RFRA bills landed on the desk of Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas to be signed, they didn’t contain clear language prohibiting discrimination against LGBT groups or individuals. In other words, LGBT lobby groups want all RFRA protections ceased the moment an LGBT individual might feel offended. They have made one thing clear: their “right” to live their lifestyle must always trump our right to live our faith every time the two intersect, whether in business or in private.
So what happened?
Governor Pence of Indiana signed a state RFRA bill into law and immediately found himself in hot water. Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas was poised to sign a RFRA bill in his own state and was feeling similar heat. The LGBT lobby groups were in full force to destroy these men’s reputations and support. Both men were relentlessly attacked by the media which led to major employers in their states admonishing the governors. Some even threatened to withhold expansion and development in their state.
So what did they do?
They folded. Governor Pence sent the bill back to lawmakers to be watered down so the LGBT will stop the harassment. Today he signed the amended bill into law. Governor Hutchinson followed suit and has also signed his own attenuated bill.
Should I be worried?
All Christians should be very concerned about the relentless trend of hostility toward our First Amendment rights. Yet the fight is far from over. Regardless of the revisions that Indiana and Arkansas have agreed to, our Constitution still guarantees the free exercise of our faith. Just last week Advocates successfully defended a private Christian school who was sued by two teachers whose contracts were not renewed after they refused to provide them with a pastor’s reference. There are many battles just like this ahead, and we need to be active in defending our freedom.
What could I do?
Counter the pressure experienced by the Governors of Indiana and Arkansas by emailing or calling them!
Indiana Governor Mike Pence:
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson: