Indiana’s #RFRA: It’s Been Fixed But Could Criminalize Religious Objectors

Indiana’s #RFRA: It’s Been Fixed But Could Criminalize Religious Objectors

Indiana Governor Mike Pence may have signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, but he went wobbly after pressure from gay activists and business interests, and asked for a legislative “fix.”

Now, the fix is in from the state’s legislative committee, and it appears that it may be menacing to the rights of devoutly religious Hoosiers.

Source: CNN

Law professor Mark Rienzi of Catholic University School of Law and the Becket Fund was the lead attorney in the Hobby Lobby case (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.), in which Hobby Lobby’s religious rights prevailed in the Supreme Court ruling of June, 2014. Rienzi warned that the Indiana ‘fix’ could “criminalize religious objectors,” as it states that religious exemptions would exist only for ministers, churches, and religious-based organizations. For-profit businesses need not apply. The legislative fix is not yet law, as it must pass both Indiana house and senate and be signed by the governor.

This is also coming at the same time that Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also asked for changes to his state’s RFRA, adding that his son asked that he veto the bill.

How very ironic it is that these two governors have caved, and religious liberties placed on tenterhooks, in the month of the 70th anniversary of the execution of one of the 20th century’s most courageous and devout Christians:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, born in 1906, was the brilliant son of one of Germany’s most prominent psychiatrists and the scion of a family of renowned theologians. Recognized early for his intellect and academic achievements, the young Lutheran theologian found himself opposed to the Deutsche Christen (“German Christian”) influence of Nazism in the Evangelical Church in Germany. Along with the removal of the Old Testament from the Bible and banning all non-Germans from entering the ministry, the state-acknowledged Evangelical Church also recognized this tenet from the 1920 Nazi Party Platform:

“We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. 

Bonhoeffer and others established the Bekennende Kirchethe “Confessing Church,” as a means of opposing the state church. Its founding document flew in the face of Nazism by declaring that their allegiance was to God and Scripture, not the Fürhrer and the State. Bonhoeffer established an underground seminary, which was closed by the Gestapo, was forbidden to lecture at the University of Berlin, and eventually forbidden to publish his works. He became part of a Jewish rescue group and finally joined a political resistance conspiracy which sought to destroy Adolph Hitler. Bonhoeffer eventually was arrested and was hanged with six other conspirators at Flossenbürg concentration camp on April 9, 1945.

Bonhoeffer memorial at Flossenbug, translated: “In resistance against dictatorship and terror, they gave their lives for freedom, justice, and human dignity.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his short 39 years of life, was a man of active, vigorous Christian practice. Not for him was compromise in the face of evil; indeed, he said that adherents to the perversion of the Christian faith he loved were practitioners of “cheap grace.” He wrote:

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

In his book The Cost of Discipleship Bonhoeffer wrote:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. . . .”


Ordinary people like 70-year-old florist Barronnelle Stutzman, photographers Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin, and now Crystal and and Kevin O’Connor of Memories Pizza understand the price of costly grace. They chose to follow their Christian faith and declined the request of gay couples to provide services at their ‘weddings.’ Elane Photography lost their case in the New Mexico Supreme Court; the US Supreme Court refused to hear it. Barronnelle Stutzman also lost her case, and may lose her home and savings as well. The O’Connors fared better with Memories Pizza; after closing their business, the beleaguered couple received over $210,000 from supporters through the GoFundMe website, but only after internet backlash at the restaurant review site Yelp, the leftwing Daily Kos, and even some puerile Facebook comments about Crystal O’Connor’s chipped tooth.

These people have paid and continue to pay the cost of discipleship. They understand, unlike the governors of Arkansas and Indiana, that this attack on religious freedom is not just about flowers, or photography, or serving pizzas.

This is the Left’s attempt to marginalize, to silence, and to eventually crush Christianity. Their weapon of choice is the label of Bigot, which they gleefully use to bludgeon anyone who disagrees with them.  As National Review writer Kevin Williamson notes, “. . . there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry.”

The Jewish writer Daniel Greenfield, in his column “This Culture War We’re In,” writes:

Americans believe in religion and family. The left sets out to destroy them by proving that these institutions are evil and oppressive. Religious leaders are pedophiles. The family is setting for abuse that makes gay people feel bad. When the dust settles, the only ‘good’ religion and family are the kind defined by the left. Having destroyed the existing system of organization, the left replaces it with its own. That is the ultimate goal of a culture war. Not mere destruction, but absolute power.

But he concludes:

Our family is our army. Our religion and our convictions are our organization. Our mind is our weapon. Our battle is keeping these alive. Every battle we win organizes us, radicalizes us and builds us into a movement, a resistance of conviction and an organization of principle.

Seventy years ago Dietrich Bonhoeffer went to his death paying the ultimate price of discipleship. While we people of deep religious convictions have not been required to make the same sacrifice as Bonhoeffer, we need to remain steadfast in our traditional beliefs to build, as Greenfield says, that resistance of conviction. It is the only way we can prevail.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Penny S says:

    Dictators and tyrants, and all of their “isms”, hate God because they only see themselves as their citizens’ religion. Communism//Marxism proclaimed that there is no God, but the State. Der Furher was the God for the Germans, Dietrich Bonhoeffer fought that idea, and died for it. Take a good look at obama…raised a Muslim and a Communist, but he’s going to have to choose because Communism will not abide Allah anymore than it could abide God.

    Jefferson’s discourse to the Danbury Baptists was that there should be no STATE church, not that there should be laws against Christian churches. Most immigrants to America have been fleeing from STATE Churches: the English, the French, the Norwegians, the Russian & Polish Jews before & after Communism, and, especially, Marxist Communism. When Communism takes over, all Christians & Jews are the first to suffer, as the the Chinese, Vietnamese & Cubans found out, because Communism & Secular Humanism will always demand supplication and worship. Allah is no different than Karl Marx or Hitler, Stalin or Castro.

  • Penny S says:

    I am very satisfied with my God & Jesus!! Let’s just say that I have a God, and it ain’t Obumblebutt!!

  • Steve says:

    Memories Pizza to Re-open! Nearly $500K raised on their behalf – so far!!

    ps. Link Exchange??

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