June 13, 2024

The Hoosier State has spent the last week as a center of tremendous controversy and rightly so. While there are some differing opinions in regards to how the statutory interpretation will play out in the courts and as a matter of enforcement, the widely held view is that indiana new Religious Freedom law will allow private business owners to discriminate against LGBTA hosiers. Critics ranging from Dan Savage to Charles Barkley have taken the states republican legislature to task for their bigoted law. However defenders of reactionary policies have lined up to condescended to progressive detractors. Mollie Hemmingway (of the Federalist) and Charles Cooke (of the National Review) have doubled down on their usual snark and bitterness within their twitter feed to defend the law :
So the argument goes, Progressive who are against the law are 1.) Stupid and unable to understand the true effects of the law and 2.) The tension between religious practice and the rights of the minority. Many have argued and argued well that perhaps two hetero-conforming white people perhaps the like of Hemminway and Cooke who are unable to appropriate balance the repercussions of bigotry. What progressive have not been at adept at convey- is how reductionist right wing rhetoric has been towards religion.
While there are certainly holes in the predominate right wing ideology that has emerged in recent years, protecting the rights of citizens to practice to religion of a noble goal. However there has been a massive expansion of what it means to practice religion. Namely it has been common place the neo-conservative to expand their religious practice to included commerce.
Whether it is the laws similar to the Indian statute which allows for business to discriminate or for employers to opt out of mandates regarding what constitutes health coverage- conservatives have begun using religious conviction as an argument against laws that regulate commerce.
However it is particularly insulting to religion to reduce religious practice to commerce. Religion is literally a set of beliefs that deal with the most intimate aspect of human existence, in modern America one simply cannot opt out of capitalism. When I make a purchase frequent a business I am not doing so as a matter of expression but rather have means of survival. Religion is too important a concept to reduce the cold and calculated market exchange.
Christianity, which is frequently the religion thrust forward as an shield against economic regulation, in its purest form is not compatible with the modern American capitalism. Sunday School alumni will remember Jesus , in the gospel of Mark, flipping the tables of the money changers aside. PSLAM 15 asks believers to “lends money to the poor without interest;” Fans of the Evangelist Luke will remember ACTS 4-34:35 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need”.
Given the anti-capitalist undertones of Christianty the argument that American business owners are constantly practicing their religion through the levers of American capitalism is far-fetched. Even the most cursory contemplation of the right-wing argument reveals it to be a thinly veiled excuse to unleash bigoted polices

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