Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a religious freedom law that allows private businesses to refuse conducting business that would violate their religious faith without fear of retribution from the government. Critics of the law argue that it legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community. I’ve read arguments from both sides. In a way, the law’s critics are correct. It may lead to some discrimination against the LGBT community. The reverse may also be true. I doubt any discrimination will be widespread. There will likely be isolated cases that will no doubt be highly publicized. But let’s frame the argument a different way, shall we?
Since the most common arguments focus on the wedding industry (i.e., whether or not Christian businesses should be forced to serve same-sex weddings which violate their religious faith), let us focus on the wedding industry.
I ask you, should a Muslim caterer be forced to cater a same-sex wedding party which violates his religious faith?
Should a homosexual photographer who prefers to do business only with same-sex partners be forced to do business with a heterosexual couple if she doesn’t want to?
Should an atheist maker of wedding cakes be forced to produce a cake with Christian symbolism that offends his faith (or non-faith)?
If you oppose the Indiana law because of its overtones of LGBT discrimination, that’s fine. I’m not a big fan of discrimination, either. But I value individual liberty, too, and would prefer not to live in a society where private business owners are forced to do business that violates their personal beliefs, even if I disagree with their beliefs.
Remember, tolerance works both ways. Or at least it should.