It's another token of our "changing" language. I put the word in quotes because it's so strange to see things like the weaponizing of words described in such benign terms, but "religious freedom" simply hasn't meant the right to perform rituals, say prayers or build places of religious exercise without restraint except to a few for a long while.
In Indiana, or to the Indiana chapter of the
Christian Caliphate in America it means the right to do any damned thing
you want as long as "Christians" like the Robertsons: Phil and Pat or
Reverend Phelps or a majority of the Indiana General Assembly approve.
No one really, no one at all is in any doubt that, as it has in other
religions, the militant wing of American Christianity is rising in power
and rising in the lust for control and domination and the ability to
punish people of other beliefs or thoughts or perspectives. No one fails
to see how such assaults on liberty tend to thrive in places of
ignorance and religious passion (you may find some correlation if you
like:) places like Indiana.
No one has any doubt that
if the shoe were on the other foot, and there were significant numbers
of people who would refuse to service cars with those chrome fish, or
religious bumper stickers or serve them at drive-through restaurants,
the Christian Nation folks would hesitate to stand up for that
kind of religious freedom and certainly they would be raising hell if
"Muslims only" signs were to appear in Indiana. No Yarmulkes inside, no
cross, no service, no Irish need apply, only church goers in this
neighborhood. We do not serve people with tattoos. We've been there
before. We've had those tradinal values before. Perhaps those who keep
telling me we've made little progress aren't entirely wrong. Certainly
the spirit of hate and exclusivity thrives, along with talk of
beheadings and rape and castration, damnation and brimstone by bearded
zealots, to the cheering of the mob.
freedom of religion now means something close to its opposite and to be
evil, nasty and mean -- contemptuous of truth and justice is to have
Christian values, to have "faith." None of the claims made about life
liberty, the pursuit of happiness, about freedom and justice for all are
in any way compatible with the goals of the Christian Nation in America
people any more than they are with the Islamic State people and yet the
damnation is so faint and public discourse so filled with pop culture,
celebrity surgery, the latest product from Apple, transportation
calamities and the angelic innocence of Michael Brown. Not only the language has been prostituted, but so have our thoughts and concerns, at least that's the goal. Denialism, lack of definable terms, amorphous logic, conspiracy theories and fear are the means, tyranny is the end.