What excuse does Mike Pence have for flubbing a simple question about discrimination on national television last Sunday? What’s his excuse for pledging to “fix” a law that’s already straightforward, innocuous, and ubiquitous? He’s not alone, of course. When Arkansas legislators passed the same bill by a wide margin (what the media calls “controversial”), Gov. Asa Hutchinson threw it back to lawmakers and asked them to rework it to guarantee that the make-believe concerns of his MoveOn.org-mimicking son could be “fixed.”
I hope you’ll excuse me, my faithful friends, but if this is your leadership, you are screwed. By claiming that RFRA bills can be “fixed,” Republicans are only corroborating the false impression that these bills allow wanton discrimination against gay patrons. By claiming that you can fix this, you are furthering the idea that there’s a compromise out there that would allow Christian business owners to refuse participation in gay weddings. None exists. You will be hounded until you are made to coexist.
So, politicians can make cogent and compelling argument for why RFRAs—the most rational comprise available—are needed and why preserving religious liberty is itself an exercise in tolerance, or they can surrender. I bet on the latter. Even though surrender would be premature.