635882361802330233-SOTS-Pence2The catch phrase “religious freedoms” just became synonymous with new rights created by Mike Pense, governor of Indiana in his state of the state speech this week. Bigots who want the right to discriminate against gay people, cite the first amendment and a freedom of religion. But Pense has now expanded what that means:

“I will not support any bill that diminishes the religious freedom of Hoosiers or that interferes with the constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work,” Pence said.

From http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/12/pence-urges-lawmakers-guard-religious-rights/78522888/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

But the first amendment doesn’t provide these rights at all. Their new rights, or I like to refer to them as “special rights.” Here’s what are our constitutional rights are, or how to tell when government action is unconstitutional:

In 1971, the Supreme Court decided Lemon v. Kurtzman which created three tests for determining whether a particular government act or policy unconstitutionally promotes religion.

The Lemon test says that in order to be constitutional, a policy must:

Have a non-religious purpose;
Not end up promoting or favoring any set of religious beliefs; and
Not overly involve the government with religion.

From: https://www.aclu.org/your-right-religious-freedom

Pense’s new rights are designed to allow persons to discriminate based on what they claim to be, their religious beliefs. They believe the Bible says something… so they can ¬†discriminate “in service or their work.” So an EMT doesn’t have to help a gay or lesbian person, a florist doesn’t have to make flowers for a gay or lesbian couple.

Pense is up for election and has been a social conservative all along. This isn’t his first effort towards promoting discrimination either. Time will tell what impact his speech will have as Indiana continues to debate adding nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender expression/identity.

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