My Indiana

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”  –Pope St. John Paul II

There’s a lot of laundry at my house.  Our place on Randolph Crescent Drive is home to two sweaty teenage boys, a 10 year old who avoids bathing, plus Tom and myself.  Yours truly handles the washing and folding.  I’m positively adequate at the task.  In my defense, imagine trying to memorize the correct home for scores of t-shirts and athletic shorts.  I have three “men” who essentially wear the same size.  Black Nike t-shirt with a white “swoosh”?  Go fish!

“Tax Season” Tom came home the other night wearing a very snug fitting work out worn t-shirt.  He looked at me in disdain and said, “Do I look like a size Medium to you?”  I assured him that he looked H-O-T, but he was bugged. Sometimes, well intentioned people make mistakes.  Oops.  What he grabbed from the top of the pile in his dresser obviously was misfiled.

Last night he texted, “Happiness is….a size XL t-shirt.”  I replied, “Well sometimes it takes a size medium day to realize the fabulousness you take for granted?”

Hubby had a classic response, “That’s one way to think of it.  You’re so glass half full in a glass half empty world.”

I tell this mundane little talk to illustrate that I do tend to try and see the upside in life.  Effort is occasionally required to uncover truth and discover positive intentions most people have, most of the time.  In “Shellyville”, this is not at all regarded as “wishful thinking”,  but is grounded in reality.

This brings me to the hot topic of the week here in Hoosier land, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Have you checked a news outlet– any news outlet– in the last couple days?  Whew, as a state, we are taking a beating.

Let me begin by saying I believe in treating all people with compassion and kindness.  The vast majority of my fellow Hoosiers feel the same.  I’ve spent the last 43 years getting to know a lot of them.  Trust me.  Good peeps.  I am Catholic, and I love Jesus.  Convincing me that Jesus would EVER condone hate-mongering of any type is an unequivocal no-go.  Without delving too much into some of my favorite works of literature to back up my thoughts, I will just defend myself by saying His friends and disciples included murderers, adulterers, women, and lepers.  He was born a Jew, 2000 years ago in the Middle East.  I’m no historian, but my guess is he was a person of color.  Does that matter?  Hell to the NO!  I’m just using my personal Jesus vision to illustrate why it makes ZERO SENSE Jesus would condone any modern day pizzeria, retail shop, etc from discriminating against ANYONE based on race, gender, sexual orientation or any other reason one can conceive.

Indiana:  Did we just pass a bill that allows “cover” for those folks?  Did we make discrimination fair game?

I argue that at this point– IT DOESN’T MATTER.  Even if RFRA is truly rooted in compassion– we need to DROP Senate Bill 101.

Why?  Because regardless of what the bill was intended to do, its existence has no quantifiable upside.

Lest my conservative friends think I have crossed over to “the dark side”, I will add that I understand this bill does not even apply to disputes between private parties.   It applies to the government or state actions– and I believe it was intended to give existing Federal law local teeth.  What I’m attempting to say is that I believe it’s authors were certainly not motivated by desire to legalize discrimination.  It was intended to prevent burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion.  20 states have like legislation.  I’m told by a few legal beagles I know that it’s the “local version” of President Clinton’s 1993 Federal RFRA.

Further, there’s no doubt the government struck fear in the hearts of faith filled people here in Indiana when they deemed folks like the Little Sisters of the Poor outside their definition of what is a legitimate religious organization and ordered them to pay for abortificants.  I am among that group.  That, to this Jesus girl, feels like very objectionable behavior.

Where did we go all wrong?  I think it’s super simple.

We’ve forgotten that most important sense– you know, the 6th sense– COMMON SENSE!

We need to trust in the goodness of the majority of Americans.  Let the free market work!  In 2015, a restauranteur or jewelry shop owner who refuses service to a certain segment of the population will surely wither and die.  I promise you I will not be back to buy my next car from the dealer who insisted on talking to my husband before letting me test drive one of their vehicles, for instance.  In fact, it’s tempting to publish their name here so you don’t either.  Instead, just ask me when you see me next, ok?

And what about those Little Sisters?  Well, I would argue that if you have any common sense, you would know when you decide to go to work for the Little Sisters of the Poor, you should know 2 things before you arrive.  First, you aren’t going to get rich working for them (ummm….they have the word POOR right in their name after all).  Second, they’re Catholic.  So, probably if you make your free will decision to have an abortion (and I sincerely pray you don’t) they aren’t going to spot you the money to pay for it.  You’ll be on your own dime there.

Let’s use our heads, people.

Optimism, compassion, and hospitality.  Indiana is full of all three… and we’re still open for business!  No ill conceived piece of paper signed by a government official at any level can change that!

Sometimes, it takes an ill fitting size medium shirt in your gym bag to help you remember the XL (you had been wearing all this time) was the better fit after all.  Just sayin.

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