Something very important is happening right now in Indiana. Pay attention: The Democrats are attempting to use their power in the mainstream media to get Republicans to retreat and mute the GOP on religious liberty or face being labelled anti-gay.
Last year, the Left succeeded so well with this tactic on a similar RFRA bill in Arizona, they even got Mitt Romney and John McCain to denounce the bill.
How much of the fabric of classic American civilization will GOP politicians be willing to let go without a fight? This tactic will not only be used on what the Left decides is a gay rights issue. Emboldened by their success in getting Republicans to retreat, the Democrats are now applying the same tactic to the Hyde Amendment language (see the human trafficking bill as the first of a series of attempts to get Republicans to retreat on opposition to taxpayer-financed abortion) and to scuttle the 20-week ban on abortion, which was supposed to have been voted on and passed by the Jan. 22 March for Life. Mere fear of being called “pro-rape,” an absurd charge, led Renee Ellmers and 7 other GOP women to demand a vote be postponed, apparently indefinitely.
Right now, Gov. Mike Pence is the only Republican politician defending this bill. He is looking for a new law to clarify the bill’s intent, as Indiana faces a wave of hostility from powerful corporations that is sick to see, based as it is on a lie. The NCAA weighed in with “concern” about how it affects student athletes and employees. Angie’s List CEO is putting Indianapolis expansion plans on hold to punish the citizens of Indiana.
But on the core message, Pence is speaking truth to a gathering storm of powerful forces. Gov. Pence said, “This is not about legalizing discrimination, it is about restricting the government’s ability to intrude on the religious liberty of our citizens.”
I haven’t weighed in on this bill, in part because I don’t believe its supporters are right that it will help the little baker who doesn’t want to bake a gay wedding cake keep his or her family’s livelihood intact. America’s most distinguished pro-religious liberty scholar, Prof. Doug Laycock, explains why he hopes it might, but doesn’t really think it will, because it hasn’t been interpreted that way in the other 19 states that have RFRAs. Molly Hemingway of The Federalist explains the people it will help.
Meanwhile Pres. Obama and other Democrats must continue to be pushed to explain why they now oppose the same kind of bill they supported and voted for in the past. What about religious liberty don’t they like any more? Hillary Clinton, what happened to the “maximum feasible accommodation” of free expression of religion your husband and you supported?
But this is a seminal moment for GOP presidential candidates: Will they have the courage to speak truth to power and support protections for religious people from government punishment? Or will they bow to the mainstream media narrative and commit the cardinal sin of declaring unilateral truce?
Speak now, Bush, Walker, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Huckabee, Jindal, etc., because the future of religious liberty in America will depend in part on whether there is at least one political party willing to defend it.
Courage is not optional.
Maggie Gallagher is editor of ThePulse2016.com.