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Religious Tolerance logo

State religious freedom to discriminate laws

Part 4: 2015-MAR: Indiana:
More reactions to the state RFRA law.

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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More reactions to the RFRA bill by sports figures, the media, organizations, politicians, a labor union, and a religious denomination:

  • Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of the crowdsourced business-reviews site Yelp, said:

    "While Indiana is the most recent state to enact a law allowing for this kind of discrimination by businesses, unfortunately measures are being debated in other states across the country that would follow Indiana's example. These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws. ... It is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large." 1

  • Timothy Slaper is the director of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University. He said:
  • "I'm concerned about the longer-term cultural implications in terms of the magnetism of the state to attract the young creative class -- the engineers or artists you want to have in your city and state to cultivate the ecosystem for entrepreneurs. ... [The] location decisions of companies like Salesforce [are key when it comes to] attracting this brain power for the next several decades." 2

He also said:

    "We're relying on our old core strengths in an age when we need to be a little more aspirational. Indiana desperately needs hipster brains. This probably isn't a great way to cultivate them." 2

  • Eric Rosenbaum, writing for CNBC, said:

    "... the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ... allows businesses to use an owner's faith as a reason to refuse service to customers, including same-sex married couples. The risks from the act range from potential workplace lawsuits on religious grounds to a broader and deeper business chill in the state, with money-making conferences and major corporations threatening to pull out, difficulty attracting key job creators like tech companies and a wide-ranging ripple effect on small-business owners."

    The governor's move comes during a sensitive period of time for Indiana's economy—it has shown signs of a small-business boom in recent years, and has fared relatively well in job creation and new-company formation, but is also seeking to break out from the sluggish growth that has typified the post-crisis economic recovery. 2

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Reactions to the state RFRA bill by the public:

  • Hundreds of individuals demonstrated on the State House lawn to protest the law. They carried signs saying: "No hate in our state," "Liberty for all Hoosiers," "Freedom Indiana," and "I’m pretty sure God doesn’t hate anyone." 3

  • John Pavlovitz maintains a web site that he describes as: "... a place where I say stuff that I think needs to be said." He wrote a letter as if it came from Jesus, commenting on the new law in Indiana. He said, in part:

    "This isn’t what I had planned. This wasn’t the Church I set the table for. It wasn’t the dream I had for you, when I spoke in those parables about the Kingdom; about my Kingdom. It was all supposed to be so very different. ... My beloved, I placed you here, not to defend or protect or replace me, but simply to reflect me. ... How did you drift so far from the mission? How did you become so angry, so combative, so petty, so arrogant, so entitled? When did you begin writing your own script for this story? When did you turn it into your story? ... You have become an unbreachable barrier between myself and those who most need me. You are leaving a legacy of damage and pain and isolation in your path. You are testifying loudly, not to my love, but to your preference. You are winning these little violent battles, and you are losing people; not to Hell or to Sin, but to all of the places outside of you, where they go to receive the kindness and decency and goodness that you should be showing them. ... This life is not about your right to refuse anyone. If I wanted to avoid serving those I found moral faults with, I would have skipped the planet altogether. I came to serve. Your faith in me, cannot be an escape clause to avoid imitating me. Asserting your rights, was never greater than following my example. Your religious freedom, never more important than loving the least. ..." 4

    The entire letter is particularly moving. We strongly recommend that you read it.

  • Members of the community on the topic: "Bigotry in Indiana: Then and Now:" 5
    • "EthanAlex" posted pictures of two signs. One was a real sign dated 1926-MAY-26, saying: "No Colored Allowed. By order of manager, Broadway Theatre, Knoxville, TN, The other was an imaginary sign saying: "No Gays Allowed, by order of the management, Indiana 2015."

    • "DaleU" posted a cartoon of a man whose shirt is labeled "GLBT Civil Rights." He has been nailed to a cross. He is surrounded by a lynch mob, some of whom are carrying Bibles. An angry man with a mallet who has apparently just driven five spikes into the man on the cross is complaining: "Quit squirming! You're oppressing our religious freedom."

    • "EthanAlex" posted a definition of "bigot:" "a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group. Underneath is a picture of a sign stating: "Drinking Fountain" with two arrows: one saying "Whilte" and the other "Colored." The words were crossed out and replaced with "Straight" and "Gay."

    • "EthanAlex" posted a quote from the Independent Voter Network (IVN):

      "There is an old axiom that history repeats itself. Some may dispute this claim, but it is hard to argue with what a person can witness happening right in front of them. One just has to pay attention and know history to know what the outcome of certain things will be.

      ...The same arguments that were used against interracial marriage are now being used against same-sex marriage, i.e. it’s against someone’s religious beliefs, it’s a sin in the Bible, etc.

      ...Instead of being called something like Jim Crow laws, these laws are referred to as “religious freedom laws.” In much the same way that the old Jim Crow laws allowed businesses to legally refuse service to African-Americans, these new laws allow any business or institution the right to refuse service to anyone based on the operator’s religious beliefs.

      The purpose of these laws is to 'protect' people who work in the service industry from having to provide their services for same-sex weddings if it goes against their religious beliefs." 5

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  • Cara Anthony of the Indianapolis Star reported that "Thousands protest" the 'religious freedom' bill in Indianapolis, She said:

    "An unidentified State Police trooper estimated that as many as 3,000 were in attendance at the height of the rally," 6

  • Some retail businesses are posting signs indicating that they do not discriminate. A USA Today video briefly shows a sign on the window of the Winey Beach Cafe stating: "Everyone Welcome. This business serves everyone. Like us on facebook."


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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jeremy Stoppelman, "An Open Letter to States Considering Imposing Discrimination Laws," Yelp. 2015-MAR-26, at:
  2. Eric Rosenbaum, "The business case against Indiana's religious faith," CNBC, 2015-MAR-26, at:
  3. Rick Callahan, "Hundreds Rally Against Indiana’s Religious Objections Law," Time Magazine, 2015-MAR-28, at:
  4. John Pavlovitz, "A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus," 2015-MAR-28, at:
  5. Postings to the topic : ""Bigotry in Indiana: Then and Now," Community, 2015-MAR, at:
  6. Cara Athnony, "Thousands protest 'religious freedom' law in Indiana," USA Today, 2015-MAR-28, at:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Posted: 2015-MAR-28
Latest update: 2015-MAR-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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