Less than two years ago, extremists on the far Left fringe and their media lemmings in Arizona and around the nation successfully waged a campaign of fear, deceit and distortion against a state religious freedom bill, HB 1062. They stampeded Gov. Jan Brewer into fearfully vetoing this harmless, but helpful, bill. Virtually every television station in Arizona bought the lies of homosexual activists … hook, line and sinker, and engaged in yellow journalism. Even a Phoenix sportscaster, Mike Jurecki, foolishly shot off his mouth about what the bill would not do, further spreading the Big Lie, the Big Narrative of the Left. We saw again how gullible, how ignorant and misinformed and how horribly misguided the left-stream media really is. And just how easily the left-stream media could be led by extreme leftists, without pretending to be fair or factual.
Outside of The Arizona Conservative, there were few in this state who really stood up to speak the truth to this manufactured “crisis.”
Now Ryan Anderson of The Heritage Foundation has addressed what happened here — in his book “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.” He writes the following in Chapter 5: Religious Freedom: A Basic Human Right. We think this is well worth your read:
In February 2014, the State of Arizona considered a minor legislative clarification to its state RFRA, attracting incendiary media coverage. The New York Times editorialized that the Arizona legislation had passed “noxious measures to give businesses and individuals the broad right to deny services to same-sex couples in the name of protecting religious liberty.”
The Times got it wrong. The Arizona bill, an amendment to the stat’s 1999 RFRA protections, never even mentioned same-sex couples. In provided that the RFRA protections would extend to any “state action” and would apply to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization. In other words, the bill would have protected all citizens and the associations they form from undue burdens by the government on their religious liberty and from private lawsuits that would have the same effect.
Kirsten Powers jumped into the fray with a USA Today column misleadingly titled “Arizona Latest to Attack Gay Rights.” She warned that the law “would result in nothing less than chaos,” even though the federal government has operated under the same rules for twenty years and Arizona had had similar protections since 1999. A bipartisan group of law professors set the record straight in a letter to Governor Jan Brewer:
The bill has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics …
We should not punish people for practicing their religion unless we have a very good reason. Arizona has had a RFRA for nearly fifteen years now; the federal government has had one since 1993; and RFRA’s standard was the constitutional standard for the entire country from 1963 to 1990 …
[The proposed law] would amend the Arizona RFRA to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRA’s. It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their businesses, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.
The rhetoric about giving bigots a license not to serve gays and lesbians was simply nonsensical. Indeed, religious liberty claims in connection with same-sex marriage have never been about turning away certain persons or groups, but about not endorsing certain actions or ceremonies.
But the lies worked, and Governor Brewer, a Republican, vetoed the bill. Among those applying pressure were Arizona’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, as well as Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney [and State Senator Bob Worsley], showing that both political parties are susceptible to abandoning principle once the media dial up the heat. Or big business. National Football League officials expressed concern about holding the Super Bowl in Arizona, as scheduled, should the religious liberty bill be enacted.
The scholar’s letter flew right over the head of the frightened governor, who vetoed the bill and got the rabid radicals off her back.