Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oh Indianna

There's trouble brewing in the "fly-over" zone of America at the moment; Indiana Governor Mike Pence (pictured above) recently signed into law a bill that allows business owners in his state to boycott people and businesses they feel are oppressing their religious freedom. Whilst on the surface this sounds reasonable (it's designed to "sound" that way) what it really means is that Hoosier Christians can now refuse to serve or do business with LGBT people; which is 100% what's behind this new law. In my experience Indiana is one of the most God soaked states in the US, religion oozes from every orifice; it's the kind of "in-your-face" religion that thankfully we don't see much in the developed world these days, a haven for pious bigots and cover for ignorant deniers of every stripe.

Fortunately America is changing, there was a time when laws like this would go unnoticed, they'd slip into being unleashing division and discrimination, the tyranny of the majority as Mill would put it. Now though, things are different, the industrialists, cattle-ranchers and landowners of the religious right no longer possess a monopoly of wealth and power, these days the un-folksy information workers inhabiting the shining glass and steel towers of the West and East look at this delusion of righteous discrimination and know it's bad for business. Almost universally, corporate America is denouncing this new law and is putting it's money where it's mouth is, Marc Benioff the CEO of Salesforce.com (a $4bn software firm) has started to shut down his companies operations in the state, Apple CEO Tim Cook has also voiced condemnation. Where the dollars go, the US government is never far behind, several other US states are also joining the boycott and refusing to allow their civil servants to travel to Indiana.

Religious freedom is best served by enshrining the separation of church and state in a written constitution; this principal was learned and perfected by the founding fathers of the USA over 230 years ago, unfortunately a lesson that has yet to be learned here in the UK. I can't see this Governor or this law lasting; it's asinine qualities are even now being exposed via protest and ridicule (as all unjust systems should be); the First Church of Cannabis and devil worshippers have wasted no time in stating their claim for religious freedom and good on them.

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