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Once, 'religious freedom' was the cry of oppressed minorities

To The Daily Sun,

There's a wise warning about getting into a peeing contest against a man who has a full bladder. But Mr. Ewing's letter is too full of inaccuracies and false claims to let pass. Maybe he thinks that if he says often enough that he is presenting "facts" that will magically make them true. Unfortunately his "facts" are usually twisted, or just not true.

For someone whining about "name-calling", he loves to call those who disagree with him "leftists". He can dog-whistle all he likes, but his frequent attempts at misdirection are a cheap way of avoiding the real points.

Mr. Ewing continues to say that the federal RFRA is the same as the original Indiana law. It isn't, and many of those involved in the passage of the federal law of 1993 have said the same thing. He argues that since the term "substantially burden" appears in the act, it must be equivalent. But the Indiana bill only required that a person think that their religious freedom is "likely" to be violated. That is not in the federal law, which has a stricter standard. It's a key difference.

After an outpouring of opposition, the Indiana law which had been enacted was amended to change the most offensive parts. The outcry came from citizens, including members of the clergy, elected officials (including Republicans, such as the mayor of Indianapolis), and businesses. Hardly a monolithic group of leftists. Mr. Ewing might even say, if he stepped outside his bubble, that it was his beloved free market at work. He also threw in an earlier tangent about Apple having more stores in Tehran than in all of Indiana. Too bad that's not true. Apple has exactly zero stores in Tehran. Mr. Ewing was just repeating one of Rush Limbaugh's falsehoods.

Of course the Indiana law is not the same as the Jim Crow laws, which required discrimination. No one claimed it was. I wrote about the same attitude as the one behind the justifications for segregation.

He says that he is not aware of a successful use of previous RFRAs to get away with discrimination. What he neglects to mention is that's because when a lawsuit has been brought against a business' attempt to claim religious justification for simple discrimination, the plaintiff has won. And despite what he says, "showing serious evidence of their religious convictions" would not be a successful defense. Courts have consistently ruled that a non-religious business engaged in public commerce cannot choose who to serve and who not to serve based on a supposed religious motive. Dipping into his basket of red herrings, he also claims that people opposed to a law like the original Indiana statute think that people must confine their religion to their houses of worship. Not true. I wonder how providing, say, a wedding cake violates anyone's religious beliefs. I question where in the New Testament Christians are taught to discriminate against those they don't like, or to turn someone away. In fact, that all seems rather un-Christian.

He flogs another red herring when he talks about a T-shirt saying that "Muslims deserve to be killed". Of course a printer can refuse to print a T-shirt with a message like that. They don't need a religious belief for that. They can justifiably refuse on the grounds that the wording incites violence or calls for illegal activity.

He writes about supposedly forcing others to endorse and support their beliefs and actions. Again: not true. No one is making anyone change his or her belief or thoughts. The issue is their actions, not their beliefs. He includes a laughable claim that "unintended offenses or (non-harmful) violations should be ignored". There is nothing unintentional about someone refusing to provide their product to a gay couple because they are gay. That would be the whole point of the refusal. While he correctly says that people should have the right to act according to their beliefs "that don't harm others", he forgets, or purposely ignores, that discrimination in itself does harm the person discriminated against.

A quote from a Baptist minister puts it well: "Once upon a time, 'religious freedom' was the cry of the oppressed minority when basic human rights were being denied them by their own government because of their religious beliefs. Today...'religious freedom' is becoming the cry of the privileged and powerful concerning what they can rightfully deny someone else because of religious beliefs. It has been a radical shift, and it is an embarrassing travesty."

Spring is allergy season. Mr. Ewing must have been sneezing a lot while he wrote his letter, because it seems he must be badly allergic to the truth.

Ed Allard

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N.Y. Times & Washington Post are now part of right-wing conspiracy?

To The Daily Sun,

I've been waiting and watching all week to see how Hillary Clinton's supporters were going to try to defend her from herself? Mostly I hear and read the same old, same old, it's all a vast right wing conspiracy thing; there is no proof. By proof I guess they mean she hasn't made a tearful full confession and thrown herself on a flaming pyre because there is sure a lot of circumstantial evidence.

As for some right wing conspiracy, this reporting is all coming from the N.Y. Times, Washington Post, and all the rock solid Democratic supporting sources. According to them, the Clinton Foundation has reaped millions from doing quid pro quo favors for all kinds of nefarious foreign sources including the sale of one fifth of the U.S. uranium production to the Russians for which about $135 million flowed into the Clinton Foundation and Bill got a $500,000 speaking fee to speak over there. Now these are not proof but damning evidence none the less of wrong doing. Add to that Hillary destroying all her "private information" on her servers makes Richard Nixon look like a choir boy. (And we thought it was all just to cover up her Benghazi incompetence.)
Can't say the Clintons are ever dull or boring. Decade after decade, year after year, and lately week after week, it's one dubious thing after the next. In the old days it was the Rose Law Firm and White Water questions. Bills numerous women problems, quickly dispatched, until Monica's little blue dress, on and on until here we are. Now it's not just indiscretions and blunders, now it may be criminal? So stay tuned for future episodes of the Clinton Soap Opera folks, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Steve Earle


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