As many people are aware, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was recently passed in the state of Indiana. There has been much discussion about the law being passed, both very much in favor for and very much against.

The law states that it “Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides a procedure for remedying a violation. Specifies that the religious freedom law applies to the implementation or application of a law regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity or official is a party to a proceeding implementing or applying the law. Prohibits an applicant, employee, or former employee from pursuing certain causes of action against a private employer” (taken from the Indiana General Assembly website).

That can be hard to understand. But it allows employers to turn potential customers away if they see the customer as burdening the business with their religious beliefs or if they do not agree with the customers’ beliefs, which is the main issue that was brought up with the bill. In the city of Valparaiso there was a march to protest the bill, and we heard from one SALTer as to why he felt this was an important cause. Karl Anliker is a Senior History Major here at VU and shares his thoughts:

“All are welcome. I don’t believe that this statement is a radical one. Before the cross of Christ there is no question. Before the throne of God there is no question. For me, responding to RFRA and its effect on an Indiana resident like myself was not complicated. I know the intentions and meaning of the law were up for debate. I know that a place for LGBTQ persons is still being debated in many churches. I know that figuring out how to live a Christ centered life is difficult to sort out sometimes. However, we marched anyway. We marched with a simple message that all should be welcome. For me, this message was in the name of the one who welcomed all peoples, regardless, no questions asked, no assumptions made. Jesus simply welcomed and loved.”

All are welcome- Photo Credit David Purvis-Fenker

All are welcome- Photo Credit David Purvis-Fenker

If you would like to share your thoughts on the RFRA, please send an email to salt.shaker@valpo.edu. We would love to hear from you!