I can’t help but think of Mike Huckabee’s recent tour for his book God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, in which he explained that the coastal cities likeÂ New York, Los Angeles and Washington were “bubble-ville” while the real Americans lived elsewhere, in “Bubba-ville.”
But the Real World doesn’t sort itself into the neat enclaves that Huckabee imagines. And the reaction to Indiana’sÂ â€œreligious freedom restorationâ€ law ought to be making the Right question just who lives in a bubble.
However, many of them — seeÂ Ben DomenechÂ — are telling themselves that the opposition is all coming from “the left.” Note that this afternoon NASCAR issued a statement expressing disappointment with the law, although it won’t be boycotting Indiana.
“We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance,” said NASCAR, which is based in Florida and North Carolina. “We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.”
NASCAR, Eli Lilly, Angie’s List, plus theÂ NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever Â — some “left.” Plus Starbucks and Apple and some other groups. Here’s a complete list.
… this goal is motivated not just by the political aims of the left, but by a broad rejection of tolerance as a virtue. It was all well and good when tolerance was about conservatives and religious types swallowing their objections and going along with things â€“ but now that the left is being asked to do the same thing? Forget about it.
I’m not sure what “things” we were asked to go along with, other than homophobia, and that one had a long enough run, I think.
As Iâ€™ve been writing in recent years about the renewal of the culture wars, Iâ€™ve received some steady pushback from many readers on both sides of the marriage issue who believe that such talk is overblown. The lesson of Indianaâ€™s RFRA controversy is that if anything, we have underestimated the commitment of the secular left to enforce fealty within a naked public square, where tolerance is no longer a virtue and the power of government must be used to stamp out dissent. For all their complaints over the years about social conservativesâ€™ use of government to enforce morality, the secular left is more eager than ever to engineer the society they seek, no matter the cost.
To which I say –Â NASCAR, Eli Lilly, Angie’s List, plus theÂ NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever … Sweetums, it ain’t the “secular left” that is lighting your fuse.
The other howler is that this controversy is about “religion” versus “secularism.” The Episcopal Diocese of Indiana believes the law, not the opposition to it, is anti-Christian.
That this is terrible for business is already being made exquisitely plain. That it is an embarrassment to â€˜Hoosier Hospitalityâ€™ is undeniable. It is also an affront to faithful people across the religious landscape. Provision of a legal way for some among us to choose to treat others with disdain and contempt is the worst possible use of the rule of law.
For Episcopalians, whose lives are ordered in the Gospel of Christ and the promises of our Baptismal Covenant, it is unthinkable. We are enjoined to love God with heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others as Christ loves us. We promise, every time we reaffirm our baptismal vows, to â€œseek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.â€ We promise to â€œstrive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.â€
See also Julian Bond,Â ‘Religious Discrimination’ Laws Have Nothing to Do With Religion.
I believe all of the likely GOP presidential candidates have come out in support of the law, which may be a lovely example of a once-reliable wedge issue coming back to bite them. Jill Lawrence writes,
If thereâ€™s one takeaway from Indiana Gov. Mike Penceâ€™s â€œreligious freedom restorationâ€ debacle, itâ€™s that Republicans ignore todayâ€™s cultural environment at their peril.
Conservatives can continue to live in a bubble if they want to, but they should expect blowback, because outside that bubble is a far different reality.
Right-wing reactionary movements can seem very compelling when their message resonates with popular culture, but when it doesn’t they just look ridiculous.