Religious Freedom

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is threatening to pull its 2017 convention out of Indianapolis if Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs a bill allowing companies to discriminate against GLBT people under the guise of “religious freedom.” In a letter to the governor the denomination writes:

“Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry,” Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star.

Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is “hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees.”

I’d love to invite them to Nashville. After all, we’re the city whose Metro Council passed an anti-discrimination bill. Unfortunately, IIRC, it was later over-ridden by the bigots in our state legislature, so we don’t exactly have much moral authority on this issue. But can I just tell you how refreshing it is to see a church denomination take a bold stand on issues of equality?


“As a Christian church,” it read, “we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow – one who sat at (the) table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lord’s Table.”

The letter was signed by denomination’s General Minister and President Sharon E. Watkins, Division of Overseas Ministries Julia Brown Karimu and Disciples Home Missions President Ronald J. Degges.

The Disciples of Christ has held its annual convention in Indianapolis three times since 1989. Adams expected up to 8,000 people to attend in 2017. The estimated economic impact would be about $5.9 million, according to VisitIndy.

Well, so much for Indianapolis. Two other major conventions have also alerted the governor that they will skip Indianapolis if the bill becomes law, one a music festival and the other the city’s largest annual convention, a group called Gen Con.

Look, there’s just no money in being a bigoted asshole. Just cut it out.

Let me also say, if your religion requires you to be a bigoted asshole, then I have no use for your religion. Can you just imagine? Whatever happened to “Love one another as I have loved you”? Of course, it’s not about the Bible. It’s about belonging to a club that needs to breed hatred and fear of “the other” to justify its lack of cultural impact. You people are supposed to go out and be salt and light in the world, that’s your Great Commission, and yet all you can do is fight for the right of a bakery to not make a gay couple’s wedding cake.



Filed under GLBT, religion, religious right

14 responses to “Religious Freedom

  1. Hell, GenCon Indy is threatening to pull out of the state if the blue-nosed prigs sign the bloody thing into law…

  2. CB

    Pence signed it into law this morning. A friend in Indy said on Facebook that her son might have to physically restrain her from walking into an establishment and asking if they serve Jews.

    We’re looking at the same thing in Georgia, it just hasn’t passed or been signed yet. Ironically, some of the most vocal criticism of the bill has come from clergy — all kinds of clergy, across the board. It begs the question, exactly whose rights do these jackasses think they’re protecting?

    Easy answer? White folks, or, those whose rights will never be infringed in the first place.

  3. ““As a Christian church,” it read, “we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow..:
    NOT TROO KKKristians!!

    “Easy answer? White folks,”

    Only the ones that are assholes.

  4. So, I guess most of my gaming friends have heard about the new law in Indiana and how it will effect Gencon and such. I have been thinking about it a lot, and this is where I stand on it and how it will effect me and my travels and such.

    Let me say this in small words that every one can under stand. Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a stupid law. RFRA has a lot of potential of being misused and abused. The same folks that are happy to make sure they dont have to serve Gays are the same folks that will scream Sharia Law if a muslum store owner decide not to service them, or if a jewish deli would not give them their Pastrami on rye..

    BTW, Governor Mike Pense was pressed by a conservative radio host if something happened in Indiana to justify signing the legislation that opened the door to these backwards and regressive values, Pence couldn’t think of a single example.

    GenCon released a statement saying that if the law passed, the convention will have to seriously reconsider future ties to Indianapolis and the state. I think this was a reasonable statement. Doing a lot of reading here, Gencon has contracts with Indy and the State convention center for at least 5 years, according to a lot of sites on the internet. Doing my own checking around, these sorts of contracts are HARD to break and expensive to buy out of. I am sure if Gencon could prove the law is damaging to the attendance, that could help lessen the cost of a buyout, but that would be an expensive call, one I am glad not to have to make. There are some folks that seem to feel that Gencon management made a mistake or over played their hand on making a public statement. I disagree, I think Gencon had to get in front of this, and the statement they issued was one that had to be out there. I suspect that Gencon has looked at issues that other cons have faced, like Dragoncon and Comiccon, and felt that getting out a statement was better than radio silence.

    Im trying to look at this issue from all sides. I want to support the LGBT community as best I can. I want to support Gencon, as I love this convention. Gencon is not perfect and has issues. But I can work with those issues and make sure I have a great time with my friends and family.

    I must say that I really enjoy visiting Indianapolis. Indy is a great city. I find the Downtown area well laid out, the people friendly and the shops and eateries welcoming and actually glad to have the gamers in town all weekend. And the police force in Indy, in my opinion and what I have seen myself, works as a peacekeeping, fair but stern law enforcement and as a police force that seems to be more about making sure gamers get back to their hotels ok, even if some gamers have partied a bit to hard, than making arrests and writing tickets. Thats what I have observed. YMMV

    For myself, I have forged a lot of very nice relationships with some of the local businesses. I really enjoy eating at the Ram, the local Noodle and Co, Steak and shake, and a couple of the other restaurants and ENJOY having gamers in the town. These business and more go out of their way to be inclusive, serve everyone and do so in a mostly professional manner. Thats not a easy task when 50k folks descend on your town for 5 days…. I heard over and over again on how much Indy loves having all the gamers in town, and how much better behaved gamers were as opposed to the Colts and and the speedway folks…..I heard this a lot over the years…

    The hotel we stay at , the Comfort Suites , is a great place with a wonderful manager, a great staff and a clean building. Gencon and Indy have a very good relationship. I would hate to see that end. I have to add, as with any big convention in a big city, there are issues that need to be addressed. Hotel and bussing problems, parking issues and such are items that need to be addressed. But I see Indy and Gencon working on making this better, as opposed to Dragoncon at Atlanta. As a side note, I always felt that as a Dragoncon attendee, I never felt as welcome in Atlanta as I did in Indy. That has improved a lot in the last couple of years in Atlanta, but DC and Atlanta have a way to go.

    My point, if I did decide to stay home, I feel that i punish good hard working folks, most of whom had publicly came out against this law. I look at Indy as city doing its best to counteract this terrible law. Im willing to give Indy and Gencon a chance to do well for everyone. I dont want anyone to be shut out. Nobody, gays, christians, muslims, Klingons, cosplayers, Magic the Gathering goons….Ill judge you on how to act towards me …not your gender or race or orientation. As one of the worst movies ever said….Deeds, not Words…

    My plan is this. I am attending Gencon this year. I will only support businesses that have the “We serve everyone” banners that are popping up all over Indy. I am willing to see how Gencon will address this issue for the future. If I dont like what I see, I can find other conventions to attend. I would miss Gencon in Indy. Overall, my experiences have been very good, and every that I have taken to Gencon has enjoyed it and has come back with me.

    Thats my statement on this mess. Could I change my mind? I could if I receive new facts in the matter.

    I am not judging folks that make the call not to come to Gencon this year or not ever while its in Indy. That is up to everyone to make that decision. Im just letting everyone know what I was thinking and doing about the current situation in Indy and Gencon.

    Thanks to everyone that has slogged thru this mess of a statement. May your games be fun, and you roll lots of 20s or 3 or what ever your system needs… and be good to your GM, they work hard to give you a good game.

  5. If GenCon is bringing that many bucks into Indy I think that they’re threatening to leave is the opposite of overplaying their hand. The money then spend to secure the use of the city’s facilities must be an order of magnitude smaller than the economic impact they deliver.

  6. And let’s not forget that when that p.o.s. racist Evan Meachan refused to recognize MLK Day the City of Phoenix took a beating before they repudiated his stance. I think he got bounced for that and a few other boneheaded moves.

  7. GenCon supposedly brings about 50 million in about 5 to 6 days to Indy. Last years unique vistors was over 50k. Thats a lot of dice throwing, Card chucking, figure painting folks. Many have a lot of money to spend and they spend it there.

    I have heard from some folks that Gencon management like Indy for its location for travel time for a lot of the US.

    That being said….Gencon may be outgrowing Indy. Im not sure where the con can go, and keep the location centrally located for driving travel times….getting a hotel this year was not easy.

    I gotta think that some Dems/progressive can really make an election sound byte that could have weight saying that the law has cost the state huge money.

    • Meanwhile, Arkansas has a similar law that just sailed through its legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

      If there are no consequences for these kinds of laws, red states will continue to pass them. I had hoped there would be a major boycott of Arizona after they passed the “show your papers” law and there was not. That law was passed in other legislatures, like Tennessee’s.

      We live in a complicated world but organizing and protesting is ever more difficult. The only thing that seems to work is public shaming.

    • Angie’s List is ditching a planned expansion in Indiana:

      CEO Bill Oesterle announced Saturday that the company had put its proposed campus expansion project in Indianapolis “on hold” following the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

      Angie’s List, a business-rating website, was expected to break ground on the campus expansion within days.

      “We are putting the ‘Ford Building Project’ on hold until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees, both current and future,” Oesterle said in a statement.

      “Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.”

      Meanwhile, one Indiana douchebag bragged that he’s already discriminated against gays:

      “Well, I feel okay with it because it’s my place of business, I pay the rent, I’ve built it with all my money and my doing. It’s my place; I can do whatever I want with it, “he said. “They can have their lifestyle and do their own thing in their own place or with people that want to be with them.”

      OH. I thought this was about the Bible and Jesus and religion and religious freedom. Not all “me, my, MINE.” Guess we were wrong!

      Boycotts always present a conundrum, because innocent people are going to get hurt. But innocent people are being hurt by the law, too. And so which is worse: getting innocent people motivated to overturn a wretched piece of legislated discrimination because now they have skin in the game, or just letting the bigots’ intended target be harmed? If there are no consequences for these kinds of actions, then they will never stop. Already we have a similar bill awaiting the governor’s signature in Arkansas. If everything goes on business as usual, we will have one of these laws in every red state in the country.

      I’m boycotting.

  8. A place where I get a few hours work from time to time is hosting an awards dinner for the local BSA troops, tonight.

    I was talking to a guy who does some of the office work at the place (a very dece3nt person) and said that I was glad not to have to deal with them as I would have some difficulty in not telling them what fucking hypocrites they are. He said that he thought that the BSA did a lot of good. I told him that they discriminate against gays and atheists and that the national board is top heavy with Mormons.

    He then said that every Mormon he knew was a good person. He obviously hasn’t spent time in Utah but more to the point he didn’t know that they were behind the Anti-Prop 8 campaign in Cali and actually didn’t know what Prop 8 was about.

    He’s a decent intelligent person and he has no idea about any of this shit. It boggles my cynical, pissed-off brain.

    • I have a lot of Mormon relatives. They are all “good people.” But I can’t talk to them about anything beyond the weather. These are people who have insulated themselves into their own little world and whose forays outside the box of the Mormon cult are tenuous and superficial. It’s like talking to pod people. I have no use for the Mormon religion, I’m sorry to say. It’s a very odd cult.