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Giorgio: Hostility in the Hoosier State

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


Paul Giorgio

Not since Indianapolis stole the Colts from Baltimore 35 years ago, has an issue ignited so much vitriol against the Hoosier state. Last week, Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence signed a bill into law which basically allows discrimination against uncovered classes of people. One such class in Indiana is the LGBTQQ Community, which is not protected against discrimination under Indiana law. Pence has no plan to include them, as a protected class, so that the so called Religious Freedoms Restoration Act (RIFRA) is free to discriminate against Gay People. These bills have become a favorite tool of the religious right to get around the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows same sex marriage.

The question we need to ask is: When did religious freedom turn into religious intolerance?

Pence told the press that the faith community was in attendance at the bill signing. In fact he was surrounded by members of the faith community including, people who should know better.  There appears to be several nuns and religious bothers in the photo as well as someone who appears to be a conservative rabbi. They are not identified. However, there are also  the leaders of the Indiana anti-gay and anti-marriage equality lobby in attendance.

Religious Intolerance during Holy Week

It is somewhat ironic that this bill would be signed during what is known as “Holy Week” in the Christian Community and in the days leading up to Passover in the Jewish Community.  Both religions view this week as among the holiest of the year.

Both faiths should know better and they should both remember the history of discrimination and intolerance against their particular religion.

So Governor Pence, if you want to use religion as an excuse, maybe you need to read the bible. I will quote a passage from the American King James Bible.  In Mathew 25:40 it is said, ”Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.’ This basically says treat everyone equally.

Pence used the Faith Community as cover.

It is clear that Governor Pence used the religious community as cover for his anti –gay agenda. If the bill was not aimed at gay people, why include the leaders of Indiana’s anti-gay lobby in the bill signing?

This is what one of the leading proponents of the bill, Advance America has posted on its website. The emphasis is theirs.

 “SB 101 will help protect religious freedom in Indiana by providing protection for individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs, along with Christian businesses and churches. SB 101 will help protect individuals, Christian businesses and churches from those supporting homosexual marriages and those supporting government recognition and approval of gender identity (male cross-dressers).”

As someone once said, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck-it’s a duck.

Backlash from Business.

What The Governor did not expect was the immediate backlash from the business community. The backlash against Indiana continues as major business after major business has cancelled doing business in the state or expanding into the state.

This past week, first Salesforce a $4 billion dollar company pulled the plug on doing business in Indiana and over the weekend Angie's List cancelled an expansion that would have created 1000 new jobs in the Hoosier State.

Among other business groups that have expressed outrage is the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The NCAA Final Four will be held there next week. GenCom, the largest gaming convention, which brings $50 million in spending, is thinking about moving the event. Among other business leaders who have spoken out and urged Pence to reconsider are the heads of Apple, Eli Lilly and PayPal.  Even church groups have expressed concern and the Disciples of Christ a large Christian Denomination may cancel its convention in the state.

I thought we settled the battle over States Rights 150 years ago this week, when the Civil War ended. Maybe someone needs to show Governor Pence that newspaper  headline.  The Governor needs to do the right thing and end discrimination in the State of Indiana.


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