There was legislation signed into law recently by the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence. The law is named the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.
Unsurprisingly, many people oppose the legislation, including some notable businessmen. The most notable is Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, who said he was deeply disappointed.
The CEO of Salesforce.com tweeted about his company drastically reducing investments in the state. This is really kind of crazy because I would be boycotting every state and every country on earth if I did so on the basis of one bad law.
So what is so upsetting about this legislation? Basically, it says that you can’t use the government’s guns in the state of Indiana to force people to associate with others where it interferes with their religious beliefs. Of course, the critics aren’t putting it quite like this.
The critics are now saying that people are vulnerable to discrimination. But I have some news for these people. We are subject to discrimination almost every day of our lives. As Walter Williams would say, he discriminated against all other women of the world the day he decided to marry his wife.
In this case, most of the focus is around gay people. I don’t know the motivation of the Indiana governor or those in the legislature who supported this bill. I don’t know if it is an anti-gay agenda or a pro-freedom agenda. I suspect motivations differ widely and it might be a combination of reasons for different people who support this legislation.
This stems from ridiculous lawsuits where gay people have sued florists and bakers for refusing to do business with them for their weddings. If someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, then instead of just moving on to the next baker, the gay couple thinks it is appropriate to use guns in order to force people to bake a cake, or else use the guns to take money from the baker or kidnap the baker if he refuses to pay the fine.
The gay couples in question do not use their own guns. They use the guns of the government, so they think that makes it ok.
This scenario applies to anybody and any group. This is a violation of property rights and a violation of freedom of association.
The problem with the Indiana law is that it is using religion as the excuse. But religion isn’t the issue. A baker should be able to refuse to do business with anyone, regardless of the reason, unless he is obligated under a voluntary contract. The baker should be able to discriminate for any reason because it is his time and his property.
What if a baker only wants to bake cakes for kids? Should he then be obligated to bake cakes for anyone?
Unfortunately, many people do not understand the difference between supporting an action and supporting the use of government guns to obligate that action.
It doesn’t matter if you support certain forms of discrimination or you completely oppose them. The question is whether you believe in the use of violence to solve the problem. This is a liberty issue and nothing else.