HITTING HOME: An Indiana Business Owner Weighs in on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Published on April 2, 2015

By Kenn Daily
Clash Daily Guest Contributor

The culture war has come to Indiana.

As a Hoosier business owner I have a dog in this fight. It affects me directly.

Last month Republican Governor Mike Pence signed legislation that protects my liberties and those of my fellow Hoosiers. It’s called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A calculated firestorm ensued as the eyes of the mainstream media focus on Indiana.(Yes, we are Hoosiers; not Indianians.)

Homosexuals claim the law negatively affects them. It allows Christian business owners to refuse service to gays if that service compromises the Christians’ religious beliefs.

Are Christian Hoosiers really the anti-gay bigots the media claims? Or are we simply protecting our right to adhere to our convictions?

• In 1984 I began a direct marketing business in which I provide marketing tools for small businesses.

The owner of a liquor store visited my office a few years ago. He wanted to buy a mailing list for his area to promote his store.

I politely, but firmly, declined due to my personal conviction that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is harmful to both individuals and society. The liquor store owner became nonplussed and stormed out of my office in a rage.

My libertarian sensitivities constrain me from supporting government prohibition. I realize that our nation was founded by liberty-loving, whiskey-drinking church folk.

Nonetheless, it is my right to do business with whom I wish. When the government uses force to compel us to sell mailing lists to liquor stores or wedding cakes to homosexuals, the government is out of line.

• Now 62 years old, I have never consumed an alcoholic beverage, never tasted wine, and never downed a can of beer. I have no idea what liquor tastes like and plan to go to my grave lacking that knowledge. The closest thing to booze I’ve ever consumed is cough syrup.

When I was little — in the late 1950s and early 1960s — my dad occasionally volunteered to work with bums at a rescue mission in downtown Indianapolis. Today we would refer to them as “the homeless” and the rescue mission as a “homeless shelter.”
Dad took me with him.

I recall asking Dad, “What’s wrong with these guys?”

Their clothing was ragged, their hair disheveled and matted, and their skin seemed gray and leathery. The men at the mission seemed to exist in a zombie-like trance. They shuffled when they walked and slouched into slumber when they sat.

Dad explained that these men were alcoholics. They were liquor addicts.

It occurred to me at an early age that each of these men had, at some point, tasted alcohol for the first time. That first encounter with booze was the pivotal point in each of their lives that began their trek to the rescue mission. It cost them their jobs, their families, and their quality of life.

And so I decided at that young age that I would never taste alcohol. I would never risk the experience of a pivotal point. I’ve kept that personal commitment and encourage others to do likewise.

• Gov. Pence is correct in defending my right to adhere to my personal convictions. If I wish to exclude liquor stores from my customer list, the government should not force me to violate that conviction.

Likewise the government has no reason to force bakers to provide services for homosexual weddings nor provide catering services to strip-club conventions. The government should not force Jewish tailors to hem Klan robes if they deem such action a violation of their convictions. Likewise, Muslim-owned pizzerias should never be forced by law to include ham on their pies when ordered to do so by hog farmers.

That last point brings an interesting thought to mind: Notice that the flurry of lawsuits brought by homosexuals has never, to my knowledge, involved a Muslim baker. Their victims are always Christians.

• Some may argue that homosexuals constitute a protected class. Strippers, Klansmen, and hog farmers are not protected classes. That argument underscores the folly of the government creating protected classes of any people group.

What criteria allow homosexuals to be a protected class?

Twin studies confirm there is no “gay gene;” no discernible genetic, physical, or biological trait that distinguishes gays from the rest of us. 

So how does one become a member of this protected class? Does he simply make a declaration of gayness? May anyone join the protected gay class? How do they join? Does one register as a homosexual with the U.S. Dept. of Justice or the U.S. Civil Rights Commission? What if he’s lying? Must he take a polygraph and obtain certificate of authenticity? 

What would happen if a Muslim pizza maker refused to serve ham to a self-declared homosexual hog farmer?

• Take note that opponents to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act invested little effort in opposing its passage. They reserved their efforts to focus on a calculated blowback after the legislation was signed into law.

The reason should be obvious. The militant gay hate movement is making an example of Indiana. The planned aftershock is designed to send a warning to the thirteen other states planning similar legislation: “You will have hell to pay if you proceed!”

• The conclusion: The law signed by Gov. Pence is the stuff of good governance. Any effort on his part to backpedal constitutes irresponsible capitulation.

Image: http://gigabiting.com/can-a-restaurant-refuse-to-serve-you-because-of-your-politics-or-lifestyle-in-a-word-yes/

kenn Daily 2Kenn Daily is the publisher of DailyKenn.com. Now 62 years old, Kenn formed his conservative views at the age of 14 and was an early member of Young Americans for Freedom. He is a vociferous anti-racist but sets himself apart from most conservatives by refusing to be bullied into silence regarding racial issue. Violent black crime is a signature issue of his website.