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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Indiana, is that east or west of 1962?

In a stunning move sure to incite debate Indiana has passed the "Religious Freedom Act."  Which really sounds benign, our country was founded on several inalienable rights, among them was religious freedom.  Apparently, this law is not really about the right to practice any religion.  From what little truth can be sifted from the growing pile of vitriol and hate, misinformation, and anger, this law is more about the practice of exclusion.

It seems business owners can refuse to sell products, or services to people who are of a different faith.  Using the the sanctity of "religious freedom"  a business can keep their stuff, and the consumer can keep their money.  Which is not "smart business" but it is possible, now, at least in Indiana.

Amazingly, the Indiana Soybean and Corn Alliance has recently reached an agreement to export agricultural commodities to Taiwan, mostly, one can assume soy beans and corn.  This makes a lot of sense, Indiana has soy beans and corn, taiwan could use some.  Everybody is happy.  But, the chief religions in Taiwan are Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.  None of which are probably the religion being protected.

Boldly, the Program Manager for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture attended the Dubai Wood and Machinery Show in the United Arab Emirates.  He was promoting Indiana hardwood, which is, surprisingly, a very important crop for the state.  He sees the "hardwood sector growing into a more global economy all the time."  Of course the "global economy" would be significantly narrowed if you filter by the protection of "religious freedom."  It is not clear, but it is a good guess that the chief religion in need of "protection" in Indiana is not Islam.

Of course, a state needs to generate revenue, doing so requires a healthy economy, and a healthy business atmosphere needs a vigorous exercise of exchange.  Pursuing markets for the products produced by the businesses is a requirement for any state in this age.  And protecting the rights of citizens is one of the most sacred necessities of governing.  Religious differences are clearly not a problem for the state of Indiana when pursuing its goals.  Does Indiana really feel that the small business owners should be allowed to discriminate, or are they just invoking the name of religion to camouflage bigotry?