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Indiana law has nothing to do with religious freedom as a right

To The Daily Sun,

Mr. Ewing just can't help trying to con us by wrapping himself in artificial victimhood. As for my analysis of him, I'll go biblical: "By their fruits you shall know them;" in Mr. Ewing's case a never-ending crop of sour grapes flavored by fantasies, fanned by his ravings about an imaginary "war on Christianity" and by his twisting the meaning of religious freedom.

He apparently can't stop his misleading claims about Indiana's law. The federal RFRA of 1993 does require a "substantial burden". Indiana's did not. It only required that someone believe that their religious freedom was "likely" to be violated. That is a major difference, especially to those able to comprehend the English language. If he also thinks that Indiana's law had nothing to do with gay people he's blatantly ignoring the openly expressed motivation of those who pushed for such a bill, and he must have not listened to the debate in the Legislature, where complaints about gay rights and marriage equality were front and center.

And if he thinks that Christians would happily go to other businesses if non-Christians refused to serve them, he's living in fantasy land. I suspect that he would be among the first to pound out indignant protests if that happened throughout a state. This is not just about wedding cakes or pizza. It involves any provider: hotels, restaurants, stores and anyone who opens for business. Mr. Ewing dismissively suggests that customers refused service just "go elsewhere". That attitude is the same as the segregationist playbook in the pre civil-rights South. "Your kind isn't welcome to eat here, go find another restaurant." And once again, not only LGBT people, but anyone who a business owner feels is sinful or offensive, could be denied service. Everyone could pick the "sin", and the "sinner" to turn away.

When a business, not run by a religious group, opens to the public it is obligated to follow the same laws as every other business. That's not unfair discrimination, it's equal treatment. The Supreme Court has consistently held that laws may prohibit religiously motivated actions, as opposed to beliefs. It has said that when "followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on ... others in that activity. Creating an exemption ... operates to impose [that follower's] religious faith on [others]." (United States v. Lee).

Religious freedom is indeed a fundamental right. Indiana's law had little to do with that. If there's a brouhaha, it was created by those whose religious liberty is not hindered at all. They have, and have always had, full freedom to practice their religion without interference. They are trying to use "religious freedom" as a smokescreen to impose their dogmas on others and exclude anyone who doesn't follow their beliefs. They have the notion that if they do not have the right to make everyone else bow to their beliefs then you are attacking those beliefs or taking away their religious freedom. Claims that they are being forced to violate their religion are simply not true.

We should wonder where in the Bible it says that Christians shall not serve gay people (or anyone else). This is simple discrimination trying to hide behind a cross. It's an attempt to twist the rhetoric of freedom in order to take away others' rights. It tries to gain exemptions from basic laws and to have government privilege their beliefs over those of others. Beliefs that belong to their version of Christianity. They don't speak for those Christians or churches and denominations that support equal treatment under the law. But they do demand special rights for discrimination disguised as a religious right.

Supporting for equal treatment in public life is not an attack on religious freedom. And Mr. Ewing is not defending the Constitution or our freedoms. He is shilling for a thinly-veiled theocracy.

Ed Allard

Laconia

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Resource document was inadvertently pasted into e-mail

To The Daily Sun,

I apologize to all for my sloppy editing regarding a recent posting of mine, having to do with the U.S. Constitution and Christianity. A partial draft from a resource I was using. and editing, to educate myself on some of the details I wanted to write about, got inadvertently pasted to my Daily Sun e-mail, and at the same time, my final draft got completely deleted. I regrettably didn't notice the error.

Again, I'm sorry to all for the error. I promise to try to be more careful...

Jim McCoole
Laconia

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