Friday, October 2, 2015

Big Business: Threat to Religious Liberty

Two states, deeply conservative, with Republican trifectas, were the battleground for defending religious liberty.

Indiana has been a Republican stronghold for decades. Despite Obama's Indiana win in 2008, the state has been a red backyard state.

Mitch Daniels, once touted as a worth contender for the 2012 Presidential nomination, turned the Hoosier state into a right-to-work state, and business thrived, even while the rest of the country's economic growth stagnated.

Governor Mike Pence (R-IN)

His successor, Congressman and Presidential candidate Mike Pence, was a conservative's conservative. He voted against every tax increase. He voted against raising the debt ceiling every time it came up for a vote. He broke away from the Bush Administration on many fiscal issues, especially when the last Republican President outspent Clinton and lost the surplus which the previous Republican Congresses had worked to create.

Yet Pence, the statesman who had declared "I am a Christian first, a conservative  second, and a Republican last" caved in the face of Big Business pressure. Why? When the state of Indiana wanted to pass a statewide version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the NCAA championship threatened to boycott the state, and all the sponsors with it.

Fearing the loss of major revenue, the Governor and the state legislature caved, and revised the religious freedom law with far less protections. One analysis suggested that the passage of the new law would make it easier to incriminate and incarcerate individuals for refusing certain activities due to religious convictions.

Remember: Indiana is a deep red state, and Republicans hold a supermajority in the state legislature, and their Governor has one of the most fiscally and socially conservative records on record.

Yet they caved to Big Business and ran away from protecting individual liberties enshrined in the US Constitution's First Amendment.

Then there's Arkansas, the Natural State, where residents and lawmakers have recognized the natural status of marriage for decades, and particularly enforced this truth in a Constitutional Amendment. Unlike Indiana, Arkansas remained a Dixiecrat stronghold, with Democratic lawmakers holding onto their seats with whatever might they retained. Mark Pryor, one of  a long list of namesake politicians in the state, even ran unopposed six years before. Election 2014 proved the wipeout, with President Obama's offensive statism driving more Southern Democrats to the Republican Party, and pushing Pryor right out of office. The term-limited Democratic Governor gave way to staunch conservative Republican Asa Hutchinson, too. Hutchinson had run three times for Governor, and finally broke the Democratic stronghold on the Governor's mansion.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)

Yet even he, with his own Republican supermajority, caved in the face of Big Business pressure, when that GOP trifecta took up their own RFRA bill. This time, Wal-Mart, one of the largest corporations in the country, if not the world, and a major force in Arkansas, demanded that the Arkansas political class back away.

And back away they did.

Big Business also pushed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to float a $250 million bond for another Milwaukee Buck coliseum. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for major corporate capitalists? They have their own money. They should risk their own funds on the venture. Indeed, why did Walker and the GOP majority legislature give in and give out taxpayer dollars? The owners of the team threatened to live and take their potential profit margins with them.

The third example does not expose the dangers to individual liberties, but does expand on the undue influence of Big Business on statehouses, their legislators, and their governors, even if they are conservative Republicans.

Other sites have also documented how corporate sponsors provide funding and outreach for the Gay Agenda in Massachusetts and other blue states. The same interests promote pro-gay materials in public schools, too.

Whether we care to admit it or not, Big Business has proven to be a big threat to individual liberty, not just fiscal discipline and limited government. Conservatives of all stripes need to take these threats seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment