“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “What was intended as a message of inclusion . . . was interpreted as a message of exclusion,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indiana’s misbegotten religious freedom law. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Who is kidding whom? What other reason was there to pass a law that fixes a problem that doesn’t exist? How exactly are Christians discriminated against in Indiana? It seems to me they run the place. The original bill said precisely what its drafters meant it to say – which was, Garrett Epps noted in The Atlantic, that for-profit businesses (1) have the same religious rights as individuals and churches and (2) are legally protected against private discrimination suits. When Democrats proposed an amendment clarifying that the bill did not permit discrimination, Epps wrote, the majority voted it down.
Then the commercial backlash set in, and everybody backpedaled, blaming language for obscuring their noble intentions and rushing to clarify their own carefully chosen words. Now the lawmakers are congratulating themselves for passing a law that neither condemns nor condones discrimination. Well done, Indiana.
Of course, not everyone’s pleased. “Homosexual Zealots to Christians in Indiana: Back to the Plantation” blares the American Family Association’s website.
Meanwhile, Indiana just convicted a woman from a conservative Hindu family for botching her own abortion and then seeking medical help. The charge was “feticide;” the sentence 20 years.