Apple’s Tim Cook: Indiana’s RFRA is dangerous. Also, you can pick up an iPhone in Saudi Arabia.

posted at 10:11 pm on March 30, 2015 by Mary Katharine Ham

The sheer level of willful deception and calculated, propagated ignorance of the actual content and scope of any Restoration of Freedom of Religion Act is astonishing, which others have chronicled far better than I. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook throws his emotional nonsense op-ed in the ring today, declaring religious liberty protections that exist in 30 states “dangerous,” and the sure path to a semblance of “days of segregation and discrimination marked by ‘Whites Only’ signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms.”

Cook, of course, does not note that in the years these laws have existed, no on has every successfully used this process of appealing the government “successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in twenty years of RFRAs nationwide.” That would require dealing honestly and intelligently with the law’s content, which is what Gabriel Malor did in his Federalist piece and John McCormack has done, here.

Indiana’s RFRA does not grant a license to discriminate. First of all, the state of Indiana, like 28 other states, has never prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation at public accommodations. Even without such laws in most states, discrimination doesn’t commonly occur because the United States is a nation that is tolerant of gay people and intolerant of bigots. Mean-spirited actions by a business owner anywhere in the country would almost certainly be met with a major backlash.

It is true that several local ordinances in Indiana prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but RFRA does not declare that those ordinances are invalid if someone requests a religious exemption. Again, RFRA simply establishes the balancing test courts must apply in religious freedom cases.

But back to Cook, who offers this clarion call.

Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.

Super. Now we know that Cook’s ignorance applies, not just to state and federal laws in the U.S., but to laws in the other countries where Apple does business. As Allahpundit pointed out on Twitter:



Ryan Anderson dings Apple for engaging in the, ahem, “discrimination” it would like to make illegal for others:

Apple itself has exercised this freedom (or is the proper word, according to Cook, “discrimination”?). After all, Apple removed the Manhattan Declaration app from its App Store. Apple decided that a Christian app bearing witness to the dignity of unborn life, the nature of marriage as the union of husband and wife and the centrality of religious liberty was incompatible with its mission. So they “discriminated” against the Manhattan Declaration.

No one suggested that this should be made illegal. Even if we thought it a misguided decision, we thought Apple should be free to decide its own values and live according to them.

Salesforce is another company gravely concerned about Indiana, but not sufficiently concerned about China’s human rights abuses to pull out of that country.

Mollie Hemingway, who has much done heavy lifting on the pushback against this overblown outrage, has my favorite piece on RFRAs: Meet 10 Americans Helped By Religious Freedom Bills Like Indiana’s. A taste of just two of these cases:

1) Most recent RFRA winner: Lipan Apache religious leader Robert Soto

Just a few weeks ago, on March 10, the federal government returned the eagle feathers it had seized nine years prior from a Native American religious leader and famed feather dancer Robert Soto. He had appealed the seizure of the eagle feathers, for which he faced 15 years in a federal penitentiary and a $250,000 fine, on Religious Freedom Restoration Act grounds.

The feds had sent undercover agents to a powwow in 2006 to confiscate the feathers, which are central to Soto’s Native American faith. The federal government prohibits possession of eagle feathers without a permit and only grants permits to museums, scientists, zoos, farmers, large power companies and federally recognized tribes. Even though the Lipan Apaches are recognized by the State of Texas, historians and sociologists, they’re not recognized by the feds.

2) An arbitrary ban: Sikh federal employee Kawal Tagore

After being baptized in the Sikh faith, Kawal Tagore began carrying a kirpan, “an emblem resembling a small knife with a blunt, curved blade” that reminds Sikhs of their commitment to justice. It’s one of five articles of faith baptized Sikhs are supposed to carry.

She was told to go home from her job with the IRS in a federal building in Houston and told not to return. The building allowed scissors, knives, box cutters and other items with far sharper blades than her kirpan, but they wouldn’t let her carry her religiously required emblem. After working from home for nine months, she was fired.

She sought protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and on November 4, 2014, the government agreed to settle the case.

Tolerance is giving these people a chance to defend themselves when the government is requiring them to violate their sincerely held beliefs. These cases do not represent some horrible, regressive country giving in to its darkest desires for discrimination. Quite the opposite. They represent the very best of the American experiment, which allows all kinds of people to coexist and do business together without running roughshod over the varied and beautiful customs and religions we practice. But let’s stop with all that. Because tolerance.

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Comment pages: 1 2

WAAAAA!!!! The Jesus freaks won’t let us push them around!!! WWWWAAAAAA!!!

CurtZHP on March 31, 2015 at 11:29 AM

I don’t think you know it, but you just admitted that your main goal is to persecute Christians, and to get the government to do it for you. You are the reason we need the RFRA.

cptacek on March 31, 2015 at 12:25 PM

I’m still a Christian….on my own terms

weedisgood on March 30, 2015 at 11:06 PM

Is that your Charlie? Where is Tex?

HonestLib on March 31, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Hot Air under attack again?

Caused IE to crash earlier

PappyD61 on March 31, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Trying diff device.

Wouldn’t Tim Cook be stoned to death in Riyadh, but allowed to publicly flaunt his orientation in Indianapolis?

Jussayin#

PappyD61 on March 31, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Wouldn’t Tim Cook be stoned to death in Riyadh, but allowed to publicly flaunt his orientation in Indianapolis?

Jussayin#

PappyD61 on March 31, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Yes, but if just one person fails to loudly celebrate his deviancy, it’s pretty much just like being thrown off a building.

/

CurtZHP on March 31, 2015 at 1:09 PM

I don’t think you know it, but you just admitted that your main goal is to persecute Christians, and to get the government to do it for you. You are the reason we need the RFRA.

cptacek on March 31, 2015 at 12:25 PM

I think you misunderstood CurtZHP. Sounded like sarcasm to me.

Athanasius on March 31, 2015 at 1:18 PM

So all Indiana has to do to get back in Tim Cook’s good grace is to pass a law that gays should be stoned to death, right?

Shay on March 31, 2015 at 1:34 PM

Cook needs to go build his gadgets and stay the hell out of politics and out of our lives. This guy is using the innovations of Steve Jobs to push his own personal social agendas. Shut up cook.

rplat on March 31, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Another day, another holy horror from the left. The gaystapo is really feeling their oats these days. This latest kerfuffle got me thinking about one of the main reasons America was founded in the first place – as a refuge from religious persecution in Europe. Looking at some research, one quote stuck out:

The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society

Couple thoughts as I reflect on this. First, is man does our side really suck at messaging. Secondly, the left is engaged in its full-on march for “uniformity of religion.” Their religion is, while cloaking itself as diversity and tolerance, is actually a fanatical adherence to their progressive secular fascism.

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2015 at 2:37 PM

Couple thoughts as I reflect on this. First, is man does our side really suck at messaging. Secondly, the left is engaged in its full-on march for “uniformity of religion.” Their religion is, while cloaking itself as diversity and tolerance, is actually a fanatical adherence to their progressive secular fascism.

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2015 at 2:37 PM

Right on . . . good job.

rplat on March 31, 2015 at 2:41 PM

When you pass laws, let me tell you something. The laws apply to everyone. Christian, atheist, gay, straight, muslim. That makes it my business. And everyone elses.

triple on March 31, 2015 at 11:07 AM

Agreed. And the 1st Amendment states that we have freedom of religion and that we can EXERCISE our faith.

The law is the law, and you cannot force a religious person to participate in a ceremony that goes against their religion.

So stop trying to discriminate against lawful citizens!

dominigan on March 31, 2015 at 2:59 PM

rplat on March 31, 2015 at 2:14 PM
Shut down this thread, Best post and the absolute final word.
I like my Apple products, I Dont like activist liberal Tim Cook injecting his opinion, nobody asked!

Bakokitty on March 31, 2015 at 3:17 PM

d1carter on March 30, 2015 at 10:37 PM
Yeah me too, the Moto Razor, loved that phone. :)

Bakokitty on March 31, 2015 at 3:29 PM

Dear Tim,

Steve Jobs you ain’t. Shut up and get back to work. The stock price is dropping.

Thanks for listening,
EB

EdmundBurke247 on March 31, 2015 at 4:58 PM

So all Indiana has to do to get back in Tim Cook’s good grace is to pass a law that gays should be stoned to death, right?

Shay on March 31, 2015 at 1:34 PM

No – they can also be thrown off roof tops or beheaded – diversity and all ya know….

dentarthurdent on March 31, 2015 at 10:27 PM

I know, be like the Facebook couple, move to Indiana and run for office. I am sure those rubes would be thrilled to have such famous sophisticates run their world.

Cindy Munford on April 1, 2015 at 9:31 AM

I forgot to add this letter to Tim.

Dear Mr. Cook,

With anything in life there is a myriad of consequences to most decisions. Your decision to rant as the CEO of Apple, I find terribly distasteful and out of character for a company to make such remarks.

One of the consequences of your decision is losing an Apple customer for as long as you remain associated with Apple. I know that I am just one lowly consumer, but I have an iPhone, iPad and a MacBook Pro. I will be retiring them soon, as they are over 4 years old and feeling their age. I will not be replacing them new Apple products, but will be looking at Samsung, Lenovo and Sony for replacement products.

I do wish to thank you for helping me make a difficult decision to spend more buying Apple or saving some money. saving the money is not the prime interest, but my interest is in companies doing what they do best making consumer products and staying out of political rhetoric.

Regards,

belad on April 2, 2015 at 9:54 PM

Comment pages: 1 2