Three Governors Lift Travel Bans Against Indiana

BUT WHAT IS IN STORE FOR PEOPLE OF FAITH?

by Sharon Rondeau

(Apr. 5, 2015) — Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and two other governors have canceled an embargo of state-funded travel to Indiana following the passage of a revised law clarifying that its new religious freedom bill does not allow discrimination against any individual.

The governors of New York and Washington have also lifted their respective travel bans, with Washington acting first.

On March 30, Malloy issued an executive order banning travel to Indiana paid for by state funds because of the passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act on March 26. Washington and new York then followed suit.

The mayors of San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA; Washington, DC and Seattle had issued the first bans against Indiana.  The mayor of San Diego had “threatened” a ban but not enacted it upon word that the Indiana law might be amended.

At issue is whether or not religious freedom protection will exempt Indianans from being compelled to engage in activity which they feel violates their deeply-held, faith-based beliefs. Left-leaning media and politicians appear to have used the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as a springboard to push for further acceptance of non-traditional “marriage” which some view as militant.

At the time of his March 30 executive order, Malloy said, “We cannot sit idly by and do nothing while laws are enacted that will turn back the clock. We need to keep moving forward and stand up against forces that seek to roll back progress. I’m sending a clear message with this executive order: Discrimination can’t and won’t be tolerated by the State of Connecticut.”

How close the ties are between the states of Connecticut and Indiana is unclear, as is the reason for Malloy’s unprecedented public excoriation of a sitting governor and state legislature.  A caller to Malloy’s office last week asking why Malloy was interfering in the affairs of another “sovereign state” received no response from the call screener other than to provide political talking points justifying the governor’s actions.

Although UConn men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie agreed not to attend this weekend’s NCAA Final Four game in Indianapolis, Fox News reported that “much of his trip” had already been paid for.  Corporations and other businesses, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Gen Con, Yelp and Angie’s List, also raised objections to the law, threatening an economic boycott to include next year’s women’s “Final Four” playoffs scheduled to take place in Indianapolis.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that he was surprised at the furor which arose upon his signing of the original bill, after which he called for an amendment clarifying that discrimination would not be sanctioned.

On March 30, the Fairfield, CT “Daily Voice” reported that “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law last week in Indiana, allows businesses in Indiana to deny services to individuals or groups if it is a burden on strongly held religious beliefs. The law is widely seen as targeted against LGBT people and other groups and has been greeted with outrage in many areas. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., has said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ in the law.”

The paper does not provide an opposing view.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski last week, Malloy claimed that he spoke for the citizens of Connecticut in objecting to Indiana’s new law, calling Pence a “bigot.”  He claimed that the law promoted discrimination, invoking the situation where a gay military member could be denied service by a business.

Brzezinski is the daughter of Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, who served as the director of the Trilateral Commission in the 1970s and “principal foreign policy adviser to Jimmy Carter” during his 1976 presidential campaign.  He also served as co-chairman on George H.W. Bush’s National Security Advisory Task Force. His biography further states that “in 2004, he was cochairman of a Council on Foreign Relations task force that issued the report Iran: Time for a New Approach.”

Obama has just made a “deal” with the Iranians on their nuclear program which many suspect will not prevent the rogue nation from manufacturing a nuclear weapon in the very near future.

Both father and daughter have been active in the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

MSNBC’s slogan is “Lean forward.”  During the first quarter of this year, its ratings fell to “its lowest-rated quarter since Q2 in 2006,” during which several shows were canceled.

Why Malloy believes it is his purview to “monitor other states” which are considering religious freedom bills is also unclear.  Whether or not the White House influenced Malloy is as yet an unanswered question.

Arkansas passed a religious freedom bill last week with a provision for non-discrimination.

Business owners in several states have lost their livelihoods as a result of recent court rulings imposing a mandate to provide services at gay weddings.  One in Washington State may lose her home, savings and business after facing a lawsuit from the state attorney general, Robert Ferguson.

After being offered a plea deal with a $2,001 fine early this year, florist Barronelle Stutzman wrote:

Dear Mr. Ferguson,

Thank you for reaching out and making an offer to settle your case against me.

As you may imagine, it has been mentally and emotionally exhausting to be at the center of this controversy for nearly two years.  I never imagined that using my God-given talents and abilities, and doing what I love to do for over three decades, would become illegal. Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences. Since 2012, same-sex couples all over the state have been free to act on their beliefs about marriage, but because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.

Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver.  That is something I will not do.

I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating, and having a home. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process. Thanks again for writing and I hope you will consider my offer.

Sincerely,

Barronelle Stutzman

In Matthew 24:9, Jesus, who Christians believe rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, is quoted as having told his disciples:

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10“At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.…

In Matthew 10:22, Jesus said:

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

In an editorial masquerading as a news article, The Christian Science Monitor reported:

The governors of Indiana and Arkansas – Republicans Mike Pence and Asa Hutchinson – likely are spending Easter weekend wondering what they might have done to avert the adverse political wave that rolled them over this past week.

It was worse for Indiana’s Gov. Pence, who had to backtrack on the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” he’d just signed, calling on state legislators to “clarify” the law so that it no longer so obviously allowed for discrimination of gays and lesbians.

The writer then provided excerpts from an editorial written by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposed the original Indiana law.  An opposite view was not included in the piece, which was flanked by pro-gay advertising.

A San Francisco-based newspaper characterized the Indiana legislation as an “anti-gay law,” but the wording of the bill focused on government interference with “a person’s exercise of religion.”  Groups representing gays reportedly want Indiana to “adopt straightforward bills that would ban all LGBT-based discrimination in the state.”

CNN reported that “Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act gives businesses owners who oppose homosexuality for religious reasons the right to turn away gay, lesbian and transgender people.”

The owners of a Walkerton, IN openly-Christian pizza restaurant were caught up in the media frenzy following passage of the original Indiana bill when asked by a reporter if they would provide food for a gay wedding.  After Crystal O’Connor answered honestly that they do not discriminate against any potential customer in the restaurant but could not cater a gay wedding, she and her husband received death threats, low ratings on their Yelp! page, and were forced to close and “go into hiding.”

A fundraiser sponsored by The Blaze raised over $850,000 within two days to offset the financial impact to the O’Connors.  In an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto following the fundraiser, Mrs. O’Connor said, “God has blessed us for standing up for what we believe, and not denying him” [sic].

In a statement issued on Saturday, Malloy promised that “Connecticut would continue to monitor other states looking to enact legislation similar to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Also on Saturday, guest blogger Darren Smith, writing at the blog of constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley, said that the issuing of executive orders by the governors of Connecticut, Washington, and New York against Indiana was an unconstitutional action for several reasons:

The orders exercise an undue influence upon voters.

The orders violate the spirit of interstate commerce

The review of government contracts as mentioned in the Seattle proclamation is tantamount to collective punishment.

Smith contended that “States do not have a constitutional authority to engage in embargoes against other states or foreign nations. That authority is reserved to Congress. It also gives illegal preference to businesses that are either in-state or from the several other states not having law that the executives find objectionable.”

On Sunday, the AP reported that “Indiana tourism agencies are rolling out campaigns emphasizing that everyone is welcome, but it might not be enough to quickly restore the state’s battered image after a backlash over its religious objections law.”

The Indianapolis Star has entered the fray by calling for “a law protecting gays and lesbians.”  The Indiana constitution states that all people are “created equal.”

 Some have pointed out that businesses which objected to the Indiana law conduct extensive business in countries which publicly execute gay people.  In those countries, women and girls are frequently physically and emotionally abused as well as sold into slavery.

 

One Response to "Three Governors Lift Travel Bans Against Indiana"

  1. Robert Laity   Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    It’s too bad those same Governors didn’t put embargoes on travel to the Corrupt State of Tennessee. Travelers should boycott THAT State.

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