STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
In recent news: Kansas is attempting to pass conceal and carry without a permit, Texas has banned AP American History for “lacking patriotism” and Indiana created a bill that gave organizations “freedom of religion.” It’s safe to say this country is going crazy.
Now, as these are all in depth topics, I’m only going to discuss one: the newly passed Indiana law. So, what is it really saying? It’s saying that government cannot unduly interfere in religious beliefs, and in an all-encompassing statement (individuals, organizations and any others) legalized discrimination. Good job, Indiana.
The backfire included several big names. Angie’s List halted all plans for a $40 million expansion of headquarters in Indianapolis. The mayors of Seattle and San Francisco both banned city-funded travel to Indiana. There have also been over 200,000 tweets negatively commenting on the issue.
Now, while many recognize the idiocies of this law and are responding in anger, a few are determined to use it to their benefit. Exhibit A: The First Church of Cannabis, which was created the same day the law was signed. This is now the “fastest growing religion” in the U.S. The founder Bill Levin claims followers of the faith “all smoke religiously.” As smoking cannabis is a part of ritual, there is a possibility that this new religion, along with its sacraments, will withstand any government interference. Indiana, in its desire to give businesses religious freedom, might have unwittingly legalized specified cannabis usage. (Marijuana is banned in Indiana for medical and recreational purposes).
With the backfire on the law, Gov. Mike Pence signed a fix to the bill, which enacted sexual orientation protection, the first time this has been done in Indiana. Once again, this angered just about everyone, and I’m almost starting to feel a little bit bad for Mike Pence and recognizing why so little legislation is passed; everyone wants to get really angry. However, I respect his movement towards greater balance. The addition states businesses cannot utilize the law in a judicial setting to deny “to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing” to any customers based on “race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.”
I still fully believe that this country is crazy and that government can get a little wacko. But, we are a country with many opinions and everyone wants a full set of rights, which is something everyone deserves. However, we need to recognize that no one has the right to impede the rights of others. Hopefully, Indiana learned something from all this commotion and the rest of the U.S. did, too. But, if all else failed, there’s still The First Church of Cannabis, and lord knows this nation could use a little more chill.