If you’ve been following Indiana’s tumult in national headlines, which I covered to a limited extent in last night’s entry and satirized obliquely last week, then you’re aware that the signing of Indiana’s remix of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has incentivized the American jester majority to demote every resident in the once-kind-of-okay state of Indiana to the status of infamous generalized punchline stereotype for the next six months. So that’s been pretty inhibitive to my mental state, especially when internet quote-unquote “friends” join in the pummeling. Because, y’know, it’s my personal fault that a Congressman became governor by carrying 49% of the vote in an election with something like 52% voter turnout, and I have no idea how many eligible Hoosiers aren’t registered to vote and would drive the per-capita percentage still downward. Doesn’t matter to the world, though: if one-fourth of us make a wish, so wish we all.
For those just joining us: on March 26, 2015, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a variant of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act intended for application at the state level, but the entire affair was conducted under, um, unique circumstances that have resulted in 90% of my Twitter feed turning into serious headlines and snarky generalizations alike that collectively amount to “INDIANA R STUPID HUUUUUUUUR!”
Pence fumbled his first attempt at damage control Sunday morning on live national TV, and even earned himself the attention of The Onion, which is never a sign of victory for your side. He and/or his speechwriters penned a second try that’s online now and scheduled for publication in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.
Early prediction, based on the excerpts I’ve seen: it won’t help.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and the Indianapolis City-County Council aren’t sitting still for this. As numerous local and national corporations of impressive size and power express their outrage and economic threats, tonight the Republican Ballard and the mostly Democrat Council gathered before a standing-room-only crowd and voted to semi-cordially ask Pence and the Indiana General Assembly to, in so many words, KNOCK IT OFF. Several Republican members were on board with this.
In a Council of 28 members the resolution required more than fourteen votes to pass. Even before the vote, it had sixteen co-sponsors.
So we’re effectively looking at a schism between the state and capital city governments.
[The scene: Kip and Kasi Kay travel from their hometown of Lewiston, Indiana, to do some shopping at a quaint stretch of stores up in the Big City. It’s the weekend after Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law and dramatically improved the world and changed lives and ushered in a new era of human greatness and so on.]
KIP: Hello, beer man! We would like ten kegs of your finest brew.
KASI: We need it for tonight’s white-power rally.
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: What? Uh, no. You can go now.
KASI: But we have money and we brought our own truck.
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: Sorry, no. My church believes God created all humans as equals regardless of skin color. I can’t possibly.
KIP: We didn’t ask. Here, have money.
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: No can do. RFRA, folks.
KIP: What’s a roofra?
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: New law just took effect. Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Way I took it to mean, I don’t have to make any sale that offends me on religious grounds. Racists are one way.
KASI: You only sell to non-racists? Do you actually ask everyone? Is there a test they have to take before you’ll let customers go get drunk?
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: Who I sell to and when I sell it to ’em is my business. Good day, folks.
KIP: We’ll get you for this!
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: Wouldn’t advise it. I’m in the alcohol industry. I know some people you don’t wanna know.
[Kip and Kasi exit, confused and upset. Later that night, an angel leaves a quarter under Mike Pence’s pillow.]